The church should provide charity to widows and orphans (James 1:27), and especially those who are incapable of working (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Collections should be made to provide for the poor, especially those facing persecution (1 Corinthians 16:1). We should care for the least around us, as though it were unto Christ (Matthew 25:40-45). We should take care of especially our family and those close to us (1 Timothy 5:8). None of this implies forced redistribution of wealth, but it does imply that caring for the needy is a role of the local church. This is a matter of mercy, even though those operating from a Marxist perspective call it “justice.”
However, if ever there was a time not to focus on the impoverished, it would be during the time set aside to remember the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
In Matthew 26, Jesus warned his disciples that his crucifixion was coming, saying, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
As the chief priests were plotting to arrest Jesus and arrest him by stealth over the next few days, Jesus made his way to Bethany to have dinner with his friends, one of whom was Simon, who Jesus had previously healed of leprosy.
Shortly before the betrayal, a woman came up to Jesus at this dinner with an alabaster flask of expensive ointment (verse 6), intending to use it on Jesus.
8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. (ESV)
This time should have been designated to worshipping Christ, but it was Judas (according to the parallel passage in John 12: 1-8) who objected to the expense. Judas argued that the money would better be spent on the poor.
Judas was the first Social Justice Warrior, demanding that the poor and impoverished be put above worship of the Son of God. Let us not make the mistake of Judas this Resurrection Day. The poor must always come second place to Christ.
[Editor’s Note: Contributed by JD Hall]