Jesus' capital balance


The New Testament tells us little or nothing about the youth and early adulthood years of Jesus. Since we know that St. Joseph was a carpenter by profession, it is logical to assume that the boy Jesus got skilled in the same trade. When St. Joseph passed on, it would have been logical for his son to carry on the family business.

It is therefore likely that by the time he started his public ministry around the age of 30, Jesus would have accumulated sufficient capital to maintain his mother and himself. That is probably why we do not come across him as being stressed for funds at any point of time.

Does anybody have any thoughts on this?

Paul likewise, carried on his tentmaker trade parallely with his ministry in the initial years, so as not to put a burden on the community as well as to set a good example.


Wherever the funds came from, Jesus and his group were well enough off that they had a treasurer.


Yes, I would agree with you.

While the current Church, in its otherwise commendable effort to empathize with the poor, has at times overstated the supposed poverty of our LORD, it is likely that He was no poorer than was the norm for that place and time; outside the governing classes, almost everybody was poor by our measures.

Remember, He wore a seamless robe to Calvary. Such would have been better than average.



Two things.

(1) Back in those days, it was actually common for the extended family to live together (still is today in a number of cultures). We commonly picture Jesus living with Mary and Joseph only, but it’s also likely that some uncles and aunts and their kids lived with them. Scripture does mention Jesus’ “brothers and sisters” being in Nazareth with Mary. They could have continued to support the (extended) family even after Jesus went off to do His thing.

Jesus’ family wasn’t dirt poor. They were ‘poor’ in the sense that there was really no “middle class(es)” to speak of - you were either one of the wealthy elite - the haves - or a ‘peasant’ - the have-nots. Jesus’ family were on the well-off side of have-nots: not rich, but not utterly destitute either. We know that Zoker/Zechariah and James, the two grandchildren of one of Jesus’ brothers, Jude who lived during the late 1st century, jointly owned thirty-nine plethra (depending on how you interpret plethra, it could either be something as small as nine to ten acres or at the maximum, around twenty-five acres) worth of farmland with which they supported themselves. Supposing that that farm the two owned was something handed down within the family, it would have been a bit larger during Joseph’s generation.

Jewish inheritance customs dictated that the eldest son inherited the family home and a double share of the land, while the rest was divided among the other sons. Dividing the property was fine in theory, but as you go further down the family line, the land that will be inherited will get smaller and smaller until the individual plots become too tiny to support even one person. In those cases, the younger siblings had no other choice but to either sell their land for cash and consider other options - work and live someplace else, rent, beg, steal - or continue to live together and keep a smallholding undivided as the joint property.

(2) Even during His ministry, Jesus wasn’t a penniless vagrant. Luke speaks of the women disciples who followed Jesus alongside the male ones and provided for the whole team: “The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.”


I always figured Jesus at least made sure His mother was provided for before he went off to his public life. He would not have left her in need, since he was looking out for her well being even while dying on the cross (“Son, behold they mother” to St. John)

And yes, I also assumed he’d been trained to be a carpenter and probably carried on his father’s work until he reached age 30.


Not to mention he was likely given donations from people too. There are, for example, a few times recorded of wherein Jesus and His disciples were invited to a dinner, which would further alleviate pressure on the wallet.
Not to mention, if He decided, a loaf of bread and a fish could last a while. :wink:


Is there any reason to suppose that the ‘ministry’ thing was a full-time job?


It would be hard to maintain any kind of steady employment whilst walking around the areas of Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan.

Which doesn’t preclude His doing piece-jobs in each city that He pitched camp in.




…yeah… and it would be wonderful to have known that the Magi brought Jesus pounds of gold and not just a small offering…

…as today, it is not who you are but who you know… carpentry was not a lucrative business because, unless you were working for monarchs, the people that could afford/needed the carpenter’s services/goods were poor.

…further, markets were not regulated… so a week’s/month’s wages could vanish (as it does today, in the US) in the purchase of a few grocery items.

…St. Paul? …also not as lucrative as we may think… he had to purchase the raw materials and work with others to build each tent… being in Fellowship with Christ he could not have extorted/overpriced his customers… yeah… “give us today our daily bread…”

Maran atha!



Hi, Dave!

…not that well since “many of the women” contributed to their purse.

…treasurer? …name a group of more than one that would not need one person to be responsible for the financial/petty cash… could you imagine the problems with twelve people purchasing food or other necessities–each independent of the others? It’s like gathering friends for a potluck and the only direction is “bring something”–you can end up with a whole bunch of sodas or chips or bananas and nothing else!

…there had to be a person in charge of the Ministry’s purse–that does not mean that Jesus’ Ministry possessed thousands of drachmas–it they were in the “black” why would they be sifting grain and eating them on the go or why would Jesus send Peter to the riverbank to get a coin to pay for His and Peter’s taxes?

Maran atha!



The Galilee bit (a lot of it, if I remember) wouldn’t have required a lot of travel to work time. :slight_smile:


Hi, Eddie!

…better than average?

…who purchase it or paid the tailor?

…we do not know these things…

…what we know is that Jesus and His posse traveled to and fro by foot… did the good Samaritan travel by foot?

Maran atha!




…do you recall Jesus’ first miracle?

The Virgin was there, front and center…

…the time that people called to Him ‘your mother is here?..’

The Virgin was not left behind and forgotten–she was aware of Jesus’ Ministry and it is quite possible that Jesus made sure that she would have been provided for…

I remember one time I had to leave the state… mom was all alone… my best friend went to the supermarket and purchased everything that he saw that I provided for mom–I was gone for but a few days… could Jesus’ followers not have provided for His mom as He traveled during His Ministry?

Maran atha!



Oh I’m sure He could also arranged for family members or some of his followers to look out for Mary. In fact I’m sure he did. It’s not like she had a cell phone to call him up when he was out fasting and praying in the desert :slight_smile:

But I’m also sure Jesus would have made a financial contribution towards Mary’s well-being. We always hear that St. Joseph was a hard worker and paid his bills. He would not have raised a deadbeat son :slight_smile:



…yeah… there are things that are not fully divulged… yet note this:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but** the Son of Man has no place to lay his head**

.” (St. Matthew 8:18-20)
…so not only was it full-time but it was a 24/7–free and unattached (no permanent roof over His head).

Maran atha!




Hi, Eddie!

…can you name a passage where people lined up to get a piece of furniture from the rabbi carpenter?

Maran atha!



How OLD are you??!! :smiley:


I didn’t say He did.

But it doesn’t stretch credibility that He might have fixed things in each town to buy bread and wine :slight_smile:



Here’s the real dilemma: During his ‘working years’, if he had set aside funds for his ministry and for his mother’s upkeep, would he really be walking the talk to rely on divine providence? His exhortations in “give us today our daily bread” and “do not worry about the morrow” and “seek first the kingdom of God and all the rest will be added unto you” would sound hollow?


Why would he need money to buy anything ? If he just by saying a word could create and accomplish anything ?
Matthew 8:8** “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed”

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