Matthew 8:20, Was Jesus a Simple Peasant?
And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
//We have in our heads an image of Jesus as a penniless wanderer, a poor peasant from an obscure rural farming town. But over and over, as I studied for my book about John’s Gospel, I found this simple image contradicted. Instead, in John’s Gospel, Jesus surrounds himself mostly with aristocracy (the royal steward, Mary and Martha and Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus). Must we dispense with the penniless label?
Tradition and the book of Revelation tell us that St. John was banished to the Isle of Patmos by the Romans. For this to be so, John would have to be of high social status, and one wonders if John’s money and influence (or that of his mother, who accompanied Jesus’ entourage) didn’t help provide the small-town Jesus with connections above his caste.
Moreover, the image we have of “simple fishermen” for Jesus’ followers fits no better with John’s Gospel. Jesus doesn’t call them away from their nets in Galilee, he lures them away from John the Baptist. With the exception of the final chapter of John (which many scholars consider an add-on), the Fourth Gospel gives no indication that these men are fishermen.
The River of Life
The Way It Happened
|Revelation: A love story gone awry.||The Gospel: A love story set aright.|
What really happened 2,000 years ago? How did a persecuted minority of end-time believers known as Christians, with their dreams of Armageddon and a conquering Messiah named Jesus, evolve into the largest religion in the world? Author Lee Harmon explores the period in which the New Testament was written in his books about John's Gospel and Revelation.
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