Jesus, the Poor Man

In Proverbs and Matt 25, God identifies with the poor symbolically. But in the incarnation and death of Jesus… God identifies with the poor and marginal literally. Jesus was born in a feeding trough. At his circumcision Jesus’ family offered what was required of the poor (Luke 2:24). He said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matt 8:20). At the end of his life, he rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, spent his last evening in a borrowed room, and when he died, he was laid in a borrowed tomb. They cast lots for his only possession, his robe, for there on the cross he was stripped of everything.

All this gives new meaning to the question: “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or naked or in prison?” The answer is—on the cross, where he died amidst the thieves, among the marginalized. No wonder Paul could say that once you see Jesus becoming poor for us, you will never look at the poor the same way again.

Tim Keller in The Gospel and the Poor, Themelios Vol 33, Issue 3, Dec 2008.

2 replies
  1. Jason
    Jason says:

    Hi Pilgrim,

    (I’m assuming that you’re referring to my post on apologetic resources for small groups: )

    Alpha has some immediate weaknesses that count against it. The structure of the course means that participants are asked to make a decision before they are made aware of what faith or repentance are. Alpha also has a strong charismatic bent and its over-emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit will make some uncomfortable.

    But the central reason I prefer Christianity Explored over the Alpha course is because it takes participants through the text of the Bible (the gospel of Mark), which has obvious strengths. Christianity Explored also presents a more Biblical picture of the character of God and the nature of sin.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t doubt that God has used Alpha to reach people for Christ and I know that many have become genuine Christians through it. Christianity Explored isn’t without its faults either, but I just find it to be more Biblical than Alpha.

    If you’re interested, Banner of Truth has a fuller discussion, comparing the two courses on their website:

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