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Why Was Jesus Born In Poverty?

Written by Pastor Brian Stewart, The Life Centre

I enjoy the Christmas season. Such a wonderful time to be with family and friends, sing Christmas carols, watch your favourite Christmas movies, and eat lots of delicious food. But ultimately Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the King.

In Luke 2 we read about Joseph and Mary making the arduous,145 kilometer journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. We are told, “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and 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 2:6-7).

Amazing! The Messiah, the King, was not born in a palace, but in a barn; laid not on a comfy foam crib mattress, but in a feeding trough for animals; dressed not in fine kingly garments but in swaddling cloths. The only visitors were some shepherds—strangers who were considered by most people to be the outcasts of society. This is an evocative image of the Son of God born in poverty and abandoned by all except for his own family.

When it comes to ending poverty we could ask the question, “What would Jesus do?” Perhaps a better question would be, “What did Jesus do?” The Messiah, the King, was born poor, lived poor, and died poor. 

His mission was not to make bad people good, or good people better, but to make dead people come alive in him.

In the Bible, those in poverty are close to God’s heart. Jesus himself was born into physical poverty and gave up his heavenly riches when he came down to earth. Constantly, the poor are said to be “blessed” and we are instructed to practice generosity to those living in physical poverty. 

God has not forgotten the poor, but instead calls all believers to join in his restorative work to bring hope and opportunity to them.

In Matthew 25 Jesus describes the actions of those welcomed into his father’s kingdom. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited me in; I needed clothes and you clothed me; I was sick and you looked after me; I was in prison and you came to visit me … Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40).

This passage illustrates the depth of Jesus’ love for people. His identification with “the least of these” is so profound that when we reach out to them with love and enter their world, it is Jesus himself we are loving and embracing. As we enter this Christmas season let’s express our love to Jesus by loving “the least of these”. Let’s spend less and give more
it’s an Advent conspiracy.

Food for the Hungry is dedicated to ending poverty—one community at a time. Let’s partner with them in loving “the least of these” through their Gifts for Change Gift Guide: fhcanada.org/gifts


About the Author:
Brian Stewart is Lead Pastor of The Life Centre in Abbotsford, BC. He and his wife Carol have been married for over three decades and have two adult children. After earning a B.A. in Economics at York University, Brian went on to achieve his Master of Divinity from Tyndale Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has devoted his adult life to his deepest passion - sharing God’s word to bring about life transformation through pastoring and teaching homiletics (preaching). Brian also enjoys running, playing tennis, reading, traveling, and eating out with family.


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Food for the Hungry: Why Was Jesus Born In Poverty?
Why Was Jesus Born In Poverty?
Why was Jesus born in poverty and what does that mean for how we can love him?
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Food for the Hungry
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