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Jesus was not a Socialist

VolnostJul 14, 2019, 5:25:18 PM

 Often times, communists and socialists alike, make the claim that Jesus, himself, was a socialist. If Jesus was a socialist then that would make a lot of Christians much more inclined to socialism. First, it must be noted, the main cause for people (mainly non-Christians) to believe that Jesus was a socialist or communist, is the fact that he told people to be charitable, and he himself helped people. Not only is this an absurd presumption, but it would also mean the only basis for someone to be considered a communist is that they are charitable. Communism rests on the idea of force, the state forcing you to give up your wealth for redistribution, Jesus advocated for VOLUNTARY charity. If someone simply takes your wealth and gives it to someone else, you have not given, you were taken from, but if you give your wealth to someone else, that is following Jesus’ commandments.

So, did Jesus call for the redistribution of wealth by force? The first verse that socialist’s use is Matthew 22: 15-22 15 -Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.[a] 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius.[b] 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

First off, what is Caesars, Jesus clearly states “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”. Then it must be examined what is Caesars? Is it anything with his picture. If that was the case, I could draw my face on my friend's laptop, and that laptop would be mine for the simple fact that my face is on it, or for a less outrageous example if you have a poster of a celebrity, would that celebrity be entitled to that poster. Also if that was so, then wouldn’t Caesar be entitled to a 100% of your money? It is purely illogical to say that someone is owed something simply because there is an illustration of their face on it. So what is the reason he said this? Jesus is faced with a hostile question challenging His credibility as a Rabbi. The hostile question has two answers: one answer which the audience knows is morally correct but politically incorrect, and the other answer which the audience knows is wrong but politically correct. The "right" answer is that it is not licit to pay the tribute. But Jesus cannot give this "right" answer without running afoul of the Roman government. Instead, Jesus gives a quick-witted, but an ultimately ambiguous, response which exposes the hypocrisy of His interrogators rather than overtly answers the underlying question posed by them.

Jesus does not talk about the redistribution of wealth very often in the bible, but the one time he does talk about it, he has a clear standing on the situation. The situation takes place in Luke 12: 13-21. - 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

First, the passage should be analyzed, Jesus is speaking to a crowd, and someone came up to him and asked if Jesus could redistribute his brother’s wealth with him. That is the essence of the question. Jesus responds by saying “who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Jesus then tells them to watch out for greed, then proceeds to tell them a parable. So Jesus clearly calls the person from the crowd for being greedy and wanting their brother’s inheritance. This parable makes one thing very clear, live for spiritual wealth, not material wealth or in other words, live for God first. The man in the parable hoarded wealth and focused on that, he was not focused on living for God, therefore he was called a fool.

It is possible the passage may be misunderstood for being a sign that Jesus called for the redistribution of wealth, but that is not the case. Jesus makes it very clear in the bible that it is difficult for a rich person to go to heaven. In Matthew 19:23 Jesus says “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” The reason for this being, that if you are rich it is a clear indication of several things. The word rich used in this context is the same used in Luke 12, the word πλούσιος (ploo'-see-os) It means someone who is wealthy, rich, and in abundance. Every time the word is used, it is talking about someone who is not just middle-class, but someone who is rich, as in the 1%. So it is clear that the person does not just live a comfortable life, but they live with abundance. Therefore it can be carefully assumed that they focused, and worked extremely hard to accumulate the wealth. And if they were doing that, they were not spending that time focusing on God. Also, it can be assumed that if you are that rich, you do not give that much to charity proportional to what you have. Jesus cared about people who gave more proportionally to what they had, then giving more in general. As that is clear in Mark 12: 41-44. Although you are not required to give to charity to go to heaven, it is a good reflection on your priorities and how you follow Christ’s teachings. Simply put, if you are rich you are more easily susceptible to loving money more then God. This in no way validates that Jesus was a socialist. Many socialists or communists alike will say “Oh well Jesus hated the rich, so do we!” First off it is illogical that just because one person and you both dislike a collectiv e group of people, that does not mean you follow the same economic theory. Also, it is clear that Jesus did not hate the rich. As Jesus said that hate is a sin and will receive judgment from God in Matthew 5:22. Jesus did not sin, therefore he did not hate anyone. Also, the fact that he is God and God loves everyone.

 Jesus was not a communist as he did not advocate for the redistribution of wealth by force.