Matthew 26:6: Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
Matthew 26:7: There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
Matthew 26:8: But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
Matthew 26:9: For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
Matthew 26:10: When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
Matthew 26:11: For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
The passage here concerns a woman doing something good to the Lord that seems to be excesses to His disciples. The disciples were indignant. They deemed the gift was too costly and it was a terrible waste of resources. The gift bestowed upon the Lord was unjustifiable and could have helped the poor instead.
To add insult to injury, the Lord not only told them to let this matter pass, He added that they had the poor with them always but they won’t have the Lord with them always. This would be something politically incorrect to say and will not endear one to the masses.
If the Lord Jesus Christ is not the Creator of the universe who deserves the utmost adoration and offerings from His subjects, then He must be a charlatan indeed. But the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the Lord of glory where unfortunately His disciples being so familiar with Him failed to recognize. This was utmost disrespect and severe underestimation of the worth of the Lord.
Helping the poor is always a good platform to propel one into the forefront of politicking and eventual ascendancy unto power. Once at the apex of power, helping the poor no longer becomes a top agenda but only a sideshow with some appeasement for the downtrodden masses from time to time in order to remain in power. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon didn’t heed the advisors from his late father’s cabinet to ease the burdens of his subjects and this led to his downfall losing ten out of the twelve tribes that split the nation of Israel.
The Lord’s definitive statement about the perpetual existence of the poor is a biblical and historical fact. Ever since the fall of Adam, the earth is cursed and man has to toil for a living and some will certainly fall under unfortunate circumstances. What the Lord said about the poor has also being told to the children of Israel by Moses. Had they learned about the Bible and not lightly esteemed the Lord, they would not be offended with this woman’s act of charity.
Deuteronomy 15:11: For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
It is not the Lord does not care about the poor, for the Lord has enacted laws for the nation of Israel how they should care for the poor in their midst. The self-help initiatives need not be run by large organizations under the auspices of the State where bureaucracy would eat up a sizeable portion of the donation for the poor. As individuals they were required to care for their downtrodden brethren among them.
Leviticus 19:10: And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 23:22: And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 24:19: When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.
In addition, the seventh year is a year of rest where the poor could enjoy the fruits of the fields where the land is not to be harvested to increase the coffer of the well to do citizens of the nation.
Exodus 23:11: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.
Besides all those measures to help the poor during those years of hardship, the Lord also puts in place a policy to reset the economy of the nation every fifty years. Those who lost their lands could return to their possessions and those who became servants due to hardship were required to be set free. This will ensure the poor will not remain poor forever while the rich becomes richer all the time.
Leviticus 25:10: And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
Leviticus 25:11: A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.
Leviticus 25:12: For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.
Leviticus 25:13: In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.
The Lord does understand the plight of His people and thus instituted laws to ensure equitable distribution of wealth among His chosen people. If only nations in the world take a leaf of out the economic principles given to the children of Israel, this world would be a much better place.
But greed however, would not allow nations to adopt such economic blueprint. Even the children of Israel failed to keep this economic master plan and together with many heinous provocations against the Lord, they were eventually destroyed and carried away to Babylon to let the land rest and the poor enjoy the fruits of the land.
Leviticus 26:31: And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
Leviticus 26:32: And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
Leviticus 26:33: And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
Leviticus 26:34: Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
Leviticus 26:35: As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.
So while the Lord Jesus Christ may seem callous to remark that the poor would be here to stay and while He clearly deserved the best, the Lord’s care for the poor cannot go unnoticed. Those who care for the poor will certainly be blessed.
Psalms 41:1: Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.
Psalms:112:9: He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.
The same promise is also given to the New Testament Christians.
2 Corinthians 9:9: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
The Christian Church is commanded to remember the poor, especially to the household of faith. They are exhorted to be active in charity work.
Galatians 2:10: Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
Galatians 6:10: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Romans 15:26: For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
In fact, the poor are in a privileged position as far as the reception of the gospel of Christ is concerned.
Mark 10:23: And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
James 2:5: Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
Hence, Christians are admonished to be involved in good works, especially in the area concerning helping the poor.
1 Timothy 6:17: Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
1 Timothy 6:18: That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
1 Timothy 6:19: Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Titus 3:8: This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Titus 3:14: And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.
Charity work should come naturally for a Christian. However, Christians must be careful not to think that participating with some charity organizations to perform charity work is inline with biblical exhortation. Some organizations could be a front where subversive elements could be present to undermine the government of the day.
The gospel of John also presented the same case concerning the act of this woman. Insidious agenda of one crafty character championing for the plight of the poor is revealed.
John 12:3: Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
John 12:4: Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,
John 12:5: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
John 12:6: This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
John 12:7: Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
John 12:8: For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
Judas Iscariot who outwardly seemed to be very concerned about the poor turned out to be a thief and a traitor as well. He knew how to be politically correct and endear himself with the people. He knew how to position himself and to exact maximum effect for his agenda. Moreover, he was in charged of finance for the organization he was affiliated with. He was saying all the right thing as a front but he had some ulterior motives.
Very often, those shout the loudest about helping the poor might turn out to be thieves. The abuse and excesses of top management of some charity organizations are quite astounding. Sometimes only a small portion of the donations is trickled down to those really in need because the bureaucracy has already eaten up much of the funds meant for the poor.
Non-profit organizations can be very profitable for certain people. It is quite easy to tug at the heartstrings of people to help the poor in order to lighten their purses, especially for those who believe that such good work will earn them merits on judgment day and accord them salvation and an entrance into the pearly gates having rejected the free gift of eternal life from the Lord.
Should Christians wish to be involved in charity organizations, they should do it in their personal capacity and not as Christians, lest they found to be fools when the organization they are serving in turned out to be fraudulent. It would be worse if such organizations have been infiltrated by characters with subversive agenda to cause trouble for the State.
Helping the poor is a biblical commandment for Christians. The left wing liberals are hijacking this biblical commandment for their own agenda to pressure the State and cause trouble to those in authority. Look at the refugee crisis in Europe where nations descend into chaos in the name of helping the poor and their citizens suffer as a result. Let no Bible believing Christians join hand with such organizations and be found to be at ought with the State where Christians become a political threat and a force to be reckoned with in the political arena. This is not what the biblical commandment for helping the poor is meant.
Titus 3:1: Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
It is much better for Christians to be obedient to the words of the living God to be charitable helping those in need quietly in simplicity. This will ensure all his sacrifice would go directly to the needy and not to some middle man trying to facilitate the charity work.
James 1:27: Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Let your good work be done in simplicity away from the limelight of the world. Your charity will not go unnoticed in the highest court in heaven.
Psalms 112:9: He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.
Psalms 140:12: I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.
Psalms 9:18: For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.