Everything Jesus ever had to say about Money: Part 1 (Matthew)


This project has been brewing for a while, and I have been daunted about starting because it seems too big for me. The problem is, that Jesus has quite a lot to say about money, and in many different ways. So I’m going to tag each passage I quote with a general-category heading. This won’t always be satisfactory, since there may be overlapping categories or a variety of ways to think of them; but it will let me get started slogging through this project. There are also a few places where money is mentioned, not in connection with Jesus’ teaching, but with the events of his life (and death). They provide, at the least, an interesting contrast.

I’m doing this in the same spirit as several other compilations I’ve already put online, notably, “Questions Jesus Asked,” “The 3:16s,” and “The 3:16s, OT Version.” I do it just because I am interested, and it does seem like others might be interested also.

I’ll try to keep editorial comments to an absolute minimum, but I will emphasize any phrase I see that specifically refers to money. Some of those decisions are, obviously, a matter of judgment, and others might highlight some that I don’t, and vice versa. Here we go. The version used here for now is the NIV, but I may change that later.

Gifts to God
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. — Matthew 5:23-24.

Lawsuits
Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. — Matthew 5:25-26.

Lawsuits
And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. — Matthew 5:40

Gifts and Loans
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. — Matthew 5:42

Gifts
But when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. — Matthew 6:2-4

Savings and Investment
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matthew 6:19-21

Divided Loyalty
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. —Matthew 6:24

Worry
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘what shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and
all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. — Matthew 6:25-34

How to Get What You Want
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. —Matthew 7:7-8

Instructions to the Twelve on Mission
Freely you have received, freely give. Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. — Matthew 10:8b-10

The Price of a Soul
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. — Matthew 10:29-31

Treasure (parables)
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy he went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of
great value. he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. — Matthew 13:44-46

[Note: I omit here the stories of the feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand, because no specific mention of money is made in Matthew’s account of those events]

Taxes
After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked,
“Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes, he does,” he replied.
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak.
What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?
“From others,” Peter answered.
Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” —Matthew 17:24-27

Forgiveness of debt (The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant)
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked,
“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered,
I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.  Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
“The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and
I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who
owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!” he demanded.
“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison
until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I
canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers until he should pay back all he owed.
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you
unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” — Matthew 18:21-35

What The Rich Young Man Was Missing
Now a man came up to Jesus and asked,
“Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.
Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus replied,
Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered,
I
f you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
When the young man heard his, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. — Matthew 19:16-22

A Hard Thing
Then Jesus said to his disciples,
I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.   Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” — Matthew 19:23-26

Reward for Leaving All
Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them,
I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” — Matthew 19:27-30

Fair Wages (parable)
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
“About the third hour he went out and saw others standing around. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and
I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
“ He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
“ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and
pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and
each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
“But he answered one of them, ‘Friend,
I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.
” — Matthew 20:1-16

Business as Usual
Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
It is written,” he said to them, “ My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.” —Matthew 21:12-13

Taxes
Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians.
“Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said,
You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them,
Whose portrait is this, And whose inscription?
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them,
Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” — Matthew 22:15-21

Wealth Not the Most Important
Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You
give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. — Matthew 23:15-24

The Talents (Parable)
Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
After a long time the master of those servants returned and
settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
The man with the two talents also came.
‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
Then the man who had received the one talent came.
‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man,
harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
His master replied,
‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you
should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ — Matthew 25:14-30

The Judgment
[The judgment scene in Matthew 25:31-46, commonly called the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (though it is not a parable in the strict sense) deals with generosity, hospitality, and compassion, but does not specifically reference money — so despite the strong implication we could draw in that regard, the full text of that passage is omitted here.]

Waste? (Burial Expense)
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
When the disciples saw this, they were indignant.
Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
Aware of this, Jesus said to them,
Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” — Matthew 26:6-13

Blood Money
Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked,
What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”
So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. — Matthew 26:14-16

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.
“I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us? they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
The chief priests picked up the coins and said,
“It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.” — Matthew 27:1-10

Bribery
While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away wile we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. — Matthew 28:11-15

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