Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich

Jesus died for rich people.

I’m not just talking about the rich people like us that enjoy a much better standard of living than 98% of the world.  I’m talking about the really rich people.  The people that pay a million dollars for a car, have a third home in the Swiss Alps and employ people to help them figure out what to do with all of their extra money.

And I’m not just talking about the noble rich.  Jesus also died for the rich people who really get a kick out of shutting down a factory a week before Christmas.  He died for the people who got wealthy by oppressing the poor.

Hating the rich has become quite the political movement in our culture.  Bill Maher famously compared the super rich to a pinata who needed their wealth beaten out of them.  For the record, Bill Maher is super rich.

Some in the church have taken this same attitude, cleaned it up and made it their own by telling us that Jesus came to earth for the poor.  While they are correct, the implication many times is that he didn’t come for those evil fat cats who use 100 dollar bills for napkins.

I took a class in seminary called Ministry Evangelism.  My professor, Dr. Walker, was the perfect man to teach this class.  He had pastored a strong inner-city church for several years and his heart for the poor was very much evident in his life and lectures.  Dr. Walker did an excellent job of showing us the importance of moving towards physical needs as a means of addressing spiritual ones.

“But,” I asked in class one day, “what if I end up being a pastor in a wealthy area?  What if I land in a city where there are no homeless people and everyone is doing just fine?”

Dr. Walker’s answer has been etched in my brain since the day I asked that question.

“Rich people get divorces too.”

His point was clear.  No amount of money can protect you from heartache.

Just ask Jairus.

His twelve-year-old daughter was dying.  When he saw Jesus, he risked everything by falling at the Lord’s feet and asking him to help his daughter.

“Come and lay your hands on her so that she may be made well and live” (Mark 5:23).

Jesus didn’t say, “Leave me alone, one-percenter!”

He went with him.

On his way, Jesus ran into a woman who had been sick for twelve years.  Her sickness drained her finances and left her as a social outcast.  She thought that just touching Jesus’ robe would heal her.

She was right.

But Jesus wouldn’t leave it at that.  He could have kept going but he stopped to talk to her.

“Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34).

This woman was healed of her physical and spiritual sickness but not because she was poor. She was healed by grace through faith.  She woke up that morning as a sick outcast.  She would fall asleep that night as a healed daughter of the King of the universe.

But Jairus was still waiting.

Before Jesus was done speaking to the poor, sick lady, Jairus’ daughter had already died.

Friends told Jairus to leave the Teacher alone.  There was nothing anyone could do.  It was too late.

Jesus disagreed.

“Do not fear, only believe” (Mark 5:36).

Just a little while later Jairus’ daughter would hear an unfamiliar voice say, “Little girl, I say to you, arise” (Mark 5:41).

She obeyed.  Even death obeys the Master.  It had to let her go at the Lord’s command.

We miss the point of Jesus and his ministry if we think that he only came for one particular tax bracket.  Mark 5 reminds us that he came for people from all backgrounds and persuasions.  And it also reminds us that social standing and financial security can only do so much.  Your money can’t bring your daughter back from the grave.

Only Jesus can do that.