For Ye Have the Poor Always with You? #3

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

“For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always” (Mark 14:7 KJV).

“For the poor always ye have with you?”

Contrary to what some have asserted, the Lord was not opposed to assisting poor people or fighting poverty. As today’s Scripture suggests, He endorsed helping those less fortunate. “For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good….” This was in harmony with the will of God already revealed to Israel in Deuteronomy 15:11. The Law of Moses had stated, “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”

“But me ye have not always.” This is in contradistinction to the poor never ceasing out the land. Christ Himself had just a few days left to live, for He was on His way to die on Calvary’s cruel cross. His disciples needed to get their priorities straight. They were to honor Him while they still had opportunity—that is, while He was still alive. He was to have superiority because His Heavenly Father had arranged it as such. The Lord Jesus Christ is the most important Person in the whole universe, which is why He will one day head all governments in Heaven and Earth: “…that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell…” (Colossians 1:18,19).

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). We should do what we can to help those struggling financially, especially fellow Christians. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth(Ephesians 4:28). In this world of escalating inflation and rising unemployment, among several other societal woes, the Church the Body of Christ should be especially mindful of these simple verses.

For Ye Have the Poor Always with You? #2

Monday, May 2, 2022

“For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always” (Mark 14:7 KJV).

“For the poor always ye have with you?”

Whether Mary’s anointing of Jesus in John, or the anonymous woman’s anointing of Him in Matthew and Mark a few days later, there was that asinine complaint of “wasting” costly ointment.

In Matthew and Mark, it was the disciples in general. “But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor” (Matthew 26:8,9). “And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her” (Mark 14:4,5—the context of today’s Scripture). Regarding John’s Gospel Record, it was Judas Iscariot whining. “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence [300 days’ wages, or about 10 months’ salary], and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein” (John 12:5,6).

The Lord defends both women, replying with, “For the poor always ye have with you” (John 12:8); “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always” (Matthew 26:11); “For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always” (Mark 14:7; today’s Scripture). Jesus’ words here are frequently misunderstood. They have often been taken to mean, “There will always be poor people, so it is futile to try to reduce poverty in society.” On the contrary, but He was actually making an unfortunate contrast between Himself and poor people. Indeed, the expensive perfume could have been sold to benefiting the poor (that He did not deny or discourage), for there is always someone less fortunate, but He Himself had less than a week to live, so honoring Him was more important….

For Ye Have the Poor Always with You? #1

Sunday, May 1, 2022

“For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always” (Mark 14:7 KJV).

“For the poor always ye have with you?”

About six days before Passover, John chapter 12 relates the following: “[3] Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. [4] Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, [5] Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? [6] This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. [7] Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. [8] For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

Only two days before Passover, Matthew chapter 26 tells us: “[6] Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, [7] There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. [8] But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? [9] For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. [10] When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. [11] For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. [12] For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. [13] Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” The parallel is Mark 14:3-9 (see today’s Scripture).

In all three passages, Jesus is quoted as declaring, “For the poor always ye have with you.” Let us study this expression….

Bible Q&As #949 and #950: “What is an “habergeon?’” and “Can you explain ‘bolled’ in Exodus 9:31?