Luke 4:18-19, “18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Poverty generally refers to the state of lacking the material possessions one needs to live a healthy and fulfilled life. Today many in the world live in poverty because their government doesn’t provide clean water, safe roads, good jobs, or reliable education. Poverty can also be caused by war, corrupt/oppressive governments, or when a country faces economic hardships.
Some people in the US may live in poverty because the region they reside in doesn’t provide adequate jobs. For others they are oppressed with a “poverty mentality” because they have been raised in poverty and think receiving government aid like food stamps and “section 8” housing is normal and may lack any real motivation to move up in life. However, what is true for all people living in poverty is that they must first be given the gospel of Jesus Christ- just like everyone else!
In the above passage, Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 61 in regards to His Messianic duty. One of His main duties was to preach good news to the poor. He was called to reach out to those who had been forgotten and neglected by society. The gospel (or “good news”) to a person living in poverty is that God will save them and give them His kingdom blessings without “classism,” Matthew 6:33. Classism is a sinful way of treating people according to the “social class” they are in based on their monetary value. However, according to Jesus, all people, especially the poor are important to Him.
Therefore, all disciples should stand against poverty in the following three ways, (1) Preach the gospel to the poor so they might be saved and have God’s kingdom blessings upon their life; (2) Help educate and assist those who live in poor conditions. For example, give money to impoverished countries for medical relief, food, clean water, and good education. In the US help needy families have proper health care and access to education; and lastly, (3) Treat those living in poverty with the same respect as you would the rich- don’t live with “classism,” James 2:1-9.
Do you believe Jesus loves the poor just as much as the rich?
- Clearly explain from the Bible why we should help those living in poverty.
- Pray for God to end poverty in the region you live in and through missionaries around the world.
- For more information regarding ending poverty read the following books, “With Justice For All,” by John Perkins and “Always Enough,” by Roland & Heidi Baker.