Joel Edwards says that Jesus offered the poorest far more than comfort or protection.
Jesus was amazing and his attitude to people just continues to give us great examples. And his attitude to the poor, particularly as captured in Luke’s gospel in the New Testament – Luke a doctor, but somebody who was very concerned about how the gospel related beyond the Jewish community, and very passionate about women, about the position of children and the outcasts. So Luke told us, perhaps more than others, how Jesus responded to the poor. He taught them, he fed them, he protected them from the powerful by challenging power, often in their presence. But he was still quite demanding, you know, he still threw down the gauntlet: if you want to follow me, you have to be my disciple, you have to take up your cross, you’ve got to follow me. He wasn’t saying that to the powerful and the privileged alone, he was saying that to the marginalised and the poor.
And so what we find in Jesus’ response to the poor is an element of tough love, real truth. And a real truth which constantly reinforces this idea that God is calling us to something really quite majestic and quite elevated, and that that majestic and elevated calling – to act for the common good, to act out of selflessness – is not just something reserved for the powerful and the elite. It is a privilege to which even the poor must aspire, and he challenges them to do that because, in that aspiration to rise above poverty, to rise above marginalisation, we discover what it means to be truly human. And I think that’s a privilege Jesus would not deny the poorest of the poor. So yeah, it was tough love to the rich and the powerful and the wealthy, but actually he didn’t hold back from offering that calling to dignity to the very poor.