In John 12:1-6 we see an account of Jesus getting anointed at Bethany , and Judas Iscariot commenting that the expenses could better have gone to the poor. The Evangelist remarks that Judas was in charge of the fund and would occasionally steal from it. Elsewhere, we see rich ladies contributing to the fund ( Lk 8 :1-3). One is therefore, inclined to believe that Jesus and his disciples did keep a fund from which they would source their day-to-day expenses, and would also help the needy. One of the charges the Missionaries face is that they give monetary assistance to the poor with the alleged intention of the latter' s conversion to Christianity. Jesus' statement that the poor is always with us (Mtt 26:11) , in fact makes it obligatory on his followers to render financial assistance to those in need. My question therefore, is : Did Jesus give monetary help to the poor during his public life ?

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    Are you suggesting that all the free medical assistance given to many, many people was not worth far, far more than coined money ?
    – Nigel J
    May 17 at 3:55
  • Of course, the miracles Jesus performed on the sick , and the bread he distributed to the hungry could never be measured in monetary terms. I only wish to know if he also gave out money from the group' s fund to people who asked for help say, a poor widow who wanted to pay her Mason, or a farmer who needed to buy seeds or a fisherman who had lost his boat ? May 17 at 4:48

2 Answers 2


Did Jesus give monetary help to the poor?

The short answer is possibly. At least one could interpret the Scriptures as such, at least through the hands of Judas.

Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. - John 13:29

Other translations do not employees y the word cash, but can still be inferred as the meaning.

  • Thanks, Ken Graham. The only problem is that most of the different versions of Jn 13:29 do not mention cash. Is it not possible that Judas had been entrusted with the duty of giving arms in cash or in kind, to the beggars who would assemble in the Temple premises on festive seasons , even during night ? May 18 at 3:53

In Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus teaches about giving to the poor. It is not a matter of "if" but of "how". Since the Lord claims to have come to fulfill the law and God raised him from the dead to approve his sacrifice, we can assume that he fulfilled this command.

The question then becomes, what did Jesus give and what is money?

Today, we give money to the poor so they can pay to see a doctor and buy medicine. Jesus healed the sick directly.

Today, we give money to poor people so they can buy food. Jesus fed the 5,000 directly.

Today, we give money to the poor so that they can see a therapist. Jesus comforted people like Mary and Martha directly.

Today, we give money to the poor so they can get a job, and prerequisites like training, tools, or opportunities. Jesus trained his disciples directly for their new job as apostles and missionaries. He also advised them how to do their old job, and they caught lots of fish.

Today, people pay investment advisors and people with planning skills so they can get insight into the future and plan their next move. Jesus was a prophet who told people the future directly.

Today, people pay for radios to warn of bad weather, for anchors and other equipment to secure their ships during storms or powerful motors to outrun them. Jesus calmed the storm.

When the poor need transportation, we give them reduced fares on the MBTA or pay for their taxi. When Jesus needed a donkey to ride into Jerusalem, he told his disciples to borrow one, along with its colt. He did this EVEN THOUGH HE OWNS ALL THINGS!

I have no need of a bull from your stall
    or of goats from your pens,
for every animal of the forest is mine,
    and the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:9-10)

The only money stories that come to mind are Jesus telling Peter to get a coin from a fish's mouth to pay their tax and Jesus telling people to render to God what is God's and to Caesar what is Caesar's (the coin bearing Caesar's image).

Money is a transactional intermediary. It facilitates exchanges of goods and services between providers and consumers.

Jesus is the sole mediator between Man and God. He can do all things. He has no need of an additional mediation agent, such as money. That is why the money changers at the temple infuriated him so. They made money, not the Son of God, their false, idolatrous intermediary between Man and God.

  • Thanks , Paul Chernoch for the well-researched inputs. Jesus never understated the role of currency as a medium of transaction. In some of his parables, the central figure was money . Now, if a stranger comes to you begging for money to buy food, and you want to help him, you can order for food and ask him to eat . Or you can offer him money to buy the food of his choice. The second option calls for trust- that the person will not misuse your money by buying drugs.True, most of the times Jesus helped the needy with in- kind benefits. But he may also have occasionally helped the poor with cash. May 19 at 2:18

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