Homeless Jesus? Not really…

This “Jesus was a homeless man” thing needs to be straightened out. Not because we shouldn’t care about homelessness. It’s a horrible problem that many people only understand through cliches. Furthermore, Jesus identifies with the lowly and outcast, saying whatever we do to them we are doing it to him.

So this blog is not about homelessness. It’s not about caring for the homeless. It’s not even about serving Jesus by serving the homeless. It’s just about historical accuracy. Because truth is important.

Jesus was not a homeless man in the way of homelessness today in “developed” nations.

First, Jesus had a home to go to. Many people don’t realize this. There is a Bible verse that tells us that Jesus went to his hometown. Mark 6:1 (ESV) “[Jesus] went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.”

Second, Jesus was an itinerant preacher. Jesus traveled around on purpose. He went from city to city teaching and preaching (and healing the sick and casting out demons). When he would stay with people, it was an honor for the host to offer hospitality to the wandering rabbi. This is what was going on in the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector. He climbed a tree to see the famous itinerant preacher, Jesus, and — unbelievably! — Jesus wanted to stay at his house! (see Luke 19) What an honor for an outcast like a tax collector.

Third, Jesus even had some nice clothes. What? How do we know that? Isn’t that going a bit too far? Nope. Read the crucifixion account closely. The soldier divided up his his outer garment into pieces, but his undergarment was nice. It was one woven in one piece from top to bottom. So the soldier cast lots for this valuable piece of clothing rather than tearing it up into smaller pieces of cloth. (see John 19:22-23)

So, let’s be historically clear. Jesus was not a homeless man like the homeless man you see sleeping on the park bench. Of course we have to care about the homeless. But let’s keep history accurate because truth is important.