Was Jesus a rich man? Was the 12 disciples rich men?
There are some religious groups that teach that Christians are “children of the King,” so they ought to claim the promises and “live like it!” (that is, live on the level of wealth that king’s children would). I have heard those in that group say, “When a Christian flies on an airplane, the Christian should fly ‘First Class,’ because that Christian is a child of the King!” I can recall a family that tried to live that way, and teach others to do so. They lived in big, expensive houses; drove fancy cars; had a motor home, etc. Today, that family is a broken home, and the woman scrapes out a living with a low-paying job.
Yes, Christians are “children of the King.” But when Jesus came the first time, did He come to rule and reign? No. Jesus came to suffer scoffing and rejection, and to die on the cross for our sins. Isaiah 53:1-12 says, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. HE IS DESPISED AND REJECTED OF MEN; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; HE WAS DESPISED, AND WE ESTEEMED HIM NOT. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
When Jesus came the first time, man, for the most part, did NOT receive Him. They did NOT crown Him as their “King,” but despised and rejected Him. They did NOT treat Him like a King, but like a criminal. John 1:11,12 says, “He came unto his own, AND HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
Jesus told us that people will treat us like they treated Him. John 15:18-20 says, “IF THE WORLD HATE YOU, YE KNOW THAT IT HATED ME BEFORE IT HATED YOU. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. IF THEY HAVE PERSECUTED ME, THEY WILL ALSO PERSECUTE YOU; IF THEY HAVE KEPT MY SAYING, THEY WILL KEEP YOURS ALSO.”
I Peter 2:21-23 says, “For even hereunto were ye called: because CHRIST ALSO SUFFERED FOR US, LEAVING US AN EXAMPLE, THAT YE SHOULD FOLLOW HIS STEPS: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.”
So in following Jesus’ steps, would we be rich, or poor? Did Jesus walk in riches and luxury upon earth? That is easily answered — “No.”
Matthew 8:19,20 says, “And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but THE SON OF MAN HATH NOT WHERE TO LAY HIS HEAD.” Jesus did not have a house of His own. He depended upon the hospitality of others to offer Him a place to go at night.
Matthew 17:24-27 says, “And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.” Jesus did not have the money for the tribute, so He sent Peter fishing, and a fish had a piece of money in its mouth that would pay for both Jesus and Peter. Obviously, Jesus was not wealthy in this world’s goods.
This also answers the question about whether the disciples were rich — they were not. Peter did not have the money to pay the tax, either. None of them had the money to feed a large crowd. John 6:5-9 says, “When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” A lad had more than the disciples, and all he had was five barely loaves and two small fishes!
God never promised that He would make all Christian’s wealthy. God chooses very few that have great wealth, because few of them see their need of the Savior. James 2:5 says, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen THE POOR OF THIS WORLD RICH IN FAITH, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” The rich have a hard time trusting in the Lord — they tend to trust in their money, instead. Psalm 49:6-8 says, “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)”
Have you seen your need, and come to the Lord Jesus Christ?