December 23, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Uniquely His – His Poverty
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2Corinthians 8:9
We are told in 2Corinthians 8:9 that we know the unknowable. “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ …” In one sense, it can never be measured. In another, it has been revealed for us to worship.
The poverty He endured is uniquely His poverty. No one else ever knew poverty as He did. Millions upon millions have been born into poverty. They had no choice and knew nothing else. There are others, a precious few, who, endowed with riches, have chosen poverty as a way of life. Some have done it for spiritual or religious reasons. Others have done so out of humanitarian concerns. And a few have done it for other reasons. But even among these, none ever knew poverty as He did.
He was rich. No one could ever be as rich as He was. Whether we measure it in terms of material wealth – the cattle upon the thousand hills, the galaxies upon galaxies; or if we measure it in terms of His place of glory and honor which He had in heaven, no one was even on the same continuum with Him when it came to how rich He was. He exchanged the worship of angels for the vile abuse of men.
But even though He was rich, we are reminded that He became poor. The step from riches to poverty was a distance that no one else has ever traveled. Whatever earthly fortunes have been sacrificed for noble causes, they cannot begin to be compared with His self-impoverishment.
His poverty was His own, unique and unmatched. The manger at Bethlehem, the reproach of Nazareth, the epithet of being a ‘wine-bibber’, a ‘friend of publicans and sinners’, ‘the Nazarene’; and His exit from the world with the only possessions He had being gambled for before His face as they waited for Him to die – these and so much more tell us of His poverty.
He did this for you and for me. “For your sakes …”
1. “He became poor” tells of a choice He made. What does it mean to you that we have a self-impoverishing God Who did so to make us rich?
2. We think of grace as ‘unmerited favor’. In what other sense do we need to understand ‘grace’ in light of the verse we are considering and the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?”
3. There are different words for ‘poor’ and ‘poverty’ used in the N. T. Which word is used here?