Religious Right is Thankful Jesus Didn’t Help the Poor.
Does need constitute a demand?
Awhile back I wrote about the time when Jesus refused to feed a group of hungry people. There are only two possible explanations for that: Either the Lord didn’t care whether those folks went hungry, or there’s something worse than hunger. Now I’d like to look at an incident in which Jesus rebuked disciples who wanted to give to the poor. If Jesus cares about the poor, the only remaining conclusion is that poverty is not an absolute demand on the resources of others.
Here’s Mark’s account of that event:
While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” (Mark 14:3-9 - Read parallel accounts in Matthew 26:6-13 and John 12:1-8)
A barbarian will say to you, if you press him, that the reason we must seize the possessions of producers is because, if allowed to give as they please, they’ll give too much money to their churches. In other words, “Why this waste?” John identifies Judas as the one pretending to be offended, and adds, “Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.” (John 12:6) That’s a pretty good description of Congress, it seems to me. Jesus says to those who dream of all the good they could do with other people’s money, You’re scolding this woman for seeing what you don’t see. Something greater than the poor is here.
Jesus explains: “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.” We can infer several things from that brief statement: