Was Jesus Poor? Answered!

By Charalampos •  Updated: 03/16/23 •  6 min read

Many people imagine Christ as a wanderer dressed in the usual clothes of that time. So, the question arises, was Christ a poor or a rich man?

Some argue that Jesus lived a life of poverty, while others claim that he had a comfortable and even wealthy lifestyle. In this article, we will find out the truth.

Jesus Was Born in A Poor Family

The birth of jesus

One of the primary arguments for the idea that Jesus was poor is that he was born in a stable and placed in a creche. This suggests that his family did not have access to the normal comforts and conveniences of a home.

«She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.» (Luke 2:7)

On the one hand, Mary and Joseph were looking for a guest room, so they had some money, on the other hand, there was not enough money to find an available room, so they had to go to the stable.
It also shows that Christ didn’t come to Earth as a king, but just like any ordinary person, not endowed with special riches.

Also, when the wise men came to visit the baby Jesus, they brought expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). These were very expensive items, but Jesus’ family kept them and didn’t sell them. Now, these gifts are in the Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos.

Read Also: Where in The Bible Does it Say Jesus is God?

The Life of Jesus

Was Jesus Poor

Furthermore, the Gospels record that Jesus’ parents offered two turtledoves as a sacrifice for His dedication to the Lord, which was a provision allowed even for the poor people (Luke 2:22-24). «So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”»

This shows that his parents could afford to observe all the Jewish rituals, so they weren’t very poor. Joseph was a carpenter, which was quite a sought-after profession. (Matthew 13:55) He also taught Jesus and He was a carpenter as well.

Some people think that the family’s trade would have allowed them to earn a comfortable living. However, they weren’t rich and could be classified as middle class.

Being A Simple Man

Another argument in favor of the idea that Jesus was a simple man is that he spent most of his ministry communicating with poor people.

This caused a shock to the Pharisees because Jesus had a good pedigree and even became a spiritual teacher for many people. All this indicates that Jesus wasn’t a poor man, but at the same time, he wasn’t rich. When he began to preach, Christ no longer needed money to support his family, he shared food with the apostles.

The apostles also divided the money to buy things necessary for them and give them to poor people. The fact that Christ’s disciples helped the poor already indicates that Christ didn’t need a lot of money. His task was to help people, money only helped him and his students to exist.

«Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor.» (John 13:29)

Jesus also taught that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God (Mark 10:25) and that it is important to care for the poor (Matthew 25:31-46).

Read Also: What Did Jesus Wear?

The Coin in The Mouth of A Fish

In Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus pays the temple tax with a coin that he miraculously finds in the mouth of a fish. The coin is worth exactly enough to pay the tax for both Jesus and Peter. «“But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”»

This shows that Christ could get as much money as he wanted and even be the richest man on Earth, but this wasn’t his desire and goal. He performed this miracle only in order not to go against earthly laws.

Regardless of whether Jesus was poor or not, it is clear that he identified strongly with the poor and marginalized. He associated with tax collectors and sinners, spoke out against the wealthy and powerful, and instructed his followers to care for the least of these. Whether he experienced poverty firsthand or not, his teachings and actions demonstrate a deep concern for those who are struggling.

Jesus Could Get Riches in This World, But Refused

jesus on the cross

The Bible can show us Jesus’ financial status. For example, in 2 Corinthians 8:9, the apostle Paul writes, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

This shows that Christ could get riches for himself, and even without miracles he could work as a carpenter, make beautiful furniture and get good money for it, but he went to preach, communicating with both rich and very poor people to give them spiritual richness.

In Luke 9:58, Jesus tells a potential disciple, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.

He showed that people won’t receive wealth or power from Him, on the contrary, following Christ brings many difficulties for which a person must be prepared.

This verse also let us know that Jesus didn’t have a permanent home and may have relied on the hospitality of others for his basic needs.

Final Thoughts

It can be concluded that the family of Christ wasn’t very rich, they faced many difficulties when Jesus was born, but Joseph had a good profession and could support his family. 

Christ also mastered this profession perfectly, but went to preach, as a result of which he refused a comfortable life. He didn’t have a permanent home, He and His students went to different cities and shared food with each other. 

They also had common money, with which they bought food and gave it to beggars. Moreover, Christ could get money with the help of a miracle, if it was necessary. 

The life of Jesus can be described not as poverty, but as deliberate asceticism. Money didn’t play an important role for Christ, the main thing was to help poor people and so that his disciples wouldn’t starve.


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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