As I was reading my morning devotion this morning, its just 1:30am, it strikes me in a new way that Jesus and his disciples had a treasury and a treasurer.
What is really striking is not about Judas the disciple / treasurer / thief / later on traitor, but that the Son of God who was there in the beginning, sent from God the father, Jesus and his 12-disciples needed money and they had a treasurer. That even though Jesus, whose coming had been prophesied ages past and who had a mission to redeem the whole world from sin, that he still needed money to make sure this was accomplished? up to even having a treasurer is quite striking. Why not just snap his fingers all the time and let money come burst out like a fountain? In fact, the money in the treasury was so much that Judas could steal something from it.
Hmm, where did the money in the treasury come from?
Yes, Jesus had to eat and feed those around him, perhaps pay for some form of transportation from point A to B, pay taxes; perhaps give some money out to the needy, go around "doing good" as the Bible says, the bottom line is that Jesus needed some money to support his ministry and some people provided the cash. How?
And I try to think through my new testament brain-work to find out how many times Jesus preached about money, implored his listeners and followers to donate for the success of "his mission" or so that God the Father could prosper them? or so that He(Jesus) could pray a miracle prayer for them after their gifts? I can’t still remember one instance, but please if you do, fill me in. Or how many miracles did Jesus perform for himself where he turned the things around him into cash? zero.
But Mat 17:27 tells us of another instance where Jesus asked Peter to go to the Sea, catch a fish and would find "a piece of money" in its mouth. This is the most widely known instance of "Jesus and money" that I can remember.
What is most striking in today’s Bible reading is that several people "willingly ministered to Jesus out of their substance". People like Mary Magdalene, the boy with 5-loaves and 2-fishes, etc. They gave – willingly. They weren’t forced to give, they werent talked into giving, they werent coerced into giving, they werent even motivated to give, they werent scared to give, they werent preached to give until they gave.
And all through my Bible, there isnt no 3-hour dedicated sermon on the mount about "giving". These people were so tender hearted, they loved Jesus so much, they saw how He lived and were so challenged within themselves, that they just gave what they had to support Him and his disciples. The good that Jesus went around doing wasn’t dependent on how much was in the treasury.
Jesus and his disciples didn’t amass these "silent gifts" for themselves and start bossing around the dusty streets of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria with brand new camels. In fact, "the son of man didn’t have anywhere to lay his head".
But then I come back home – I look around my immediate environment, especially in the circle of those who claim to hold fast the faith of Jesus; those who claim to be holy and heaven bound, and all I can do is to lament, "Oh, what an Irony". These folks surely dont look like Jesus, even though they talk like Him.
How different are these people from Jesus. If I was a resident of Antioch, I honestly won’t call these kind of people Christians.