So far we have covered

1. My preliminary response to the sermon by the Pastor
2. My thoughts on the Magi Gifts To Jesus
3. Millionaire Supporters Of The “Sophisticated Travelling Ministry”
4. Jesus Providence To The Disciples
5. Jesus ministry to the poor
6. Demystifying Judas, The Property Tycoon Wannabe and Treasurer

As the next two point was really short, I will put them all together. Let us study point 8 .

Pt 8: Jesus has a house, in fact he may even have two

There the pastor was attacking the traditional view that Jesus once said

"Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." – Jesus (Lk 9:58)

He claimed that traditional churches derive the fact that Jesus was homeless from this verse. He went further on to explain that Jesus had at least one house, if not two houses to stay in.  Citing 2 examples

Jn 1:37-39: Jesus invited two disciples to the place where he is staying, and they remain with him that day.  They stay overnight in the house of Jesus. He claimed that the incident happened in Jesus home in Nazareth

Then he went on to make a even more absurd claim using the infamous “Never Incorrect Version” (NIV) he referred to Mk 2:1

He claimed miracle of the 4 man and the paralytic is done in the house belonging to Jesus.

He claims that Jesus words in Lk 9:58 only indicate that Jesus was too busy to rest. This is because Jesus had limited time on earth to preach the words of God.

The Two Houses Of Jesus

While I think that it is fair to say Jesus definitely have a home in Nazareth , but the interesting thing to note is that, during the time of Christ, house ownership is not indication of wealth. We will discuss more into Jewish housing in the time of Jesus later in the blog entry.

Personally I did a long search across the commonly used bibles versions around me. Mk 2:1 is being translated differently.

NIV 1981, and NIV translated that Jesus had return “Home”
NKJV, KJV  translated that Jesus was in the “House”
Chinese Standard Bible uses “House” (a footnote as can be translated to “Home”)
Chinese Union Version translated as “House”  with no footnote

The Greek word used was “οικον” (Read as “Oikos”) and it was used very often in the new testament.

According to Strong’s Dictionary

“the word means “A dwelling”a dwelling (more or less extensive, literally or figuratively); by implication a family (more or less related, literally or figuratively): – home, house (-hold), temple.”

Sometimes it can be used figuratively like in the term “The House Of Israel” 

I personally think that Jesus was in a building and he must have stayed, it does not necessary indicate his ownership of the property. For if you continue to read that story, and consider the historical context you will realize that the question regarding the owner of the house is insignificant.  

The Value Of A House In The Time Of Jesus

I was reading up of archeological research around the town of Nazareth and Capernaum and these are the facts I have gathered so far. There was also a good blog entry talking about the house featured in Mk 2:1 here

  1. There was a recent archeological find near the church of the Annunciation  belonging to the time of Christ
    1. They indicated that the house was small and modest
    2. This is because the Nazareth is a small Jewish village
  2. The Wikipedia entry of Capernaum was very detailed,
    1. It talks about the fact that it they uncovered several Jewish Insula (Communal Dwelling)
    2. The older  houses are usually build using basalt
      1. Basalt was volcanic stones found commonly around Capernaum
      2. They are easy to make into bricks, but brittle
      3. Hence the houses bricks are smaller (as large ones will break by itself)

If one were to bring  the modern concept of property market into the story, perhaps one would think that a house is a sign of wealth. In my home country, the young couples despite their large paycheck could not afford government housing due to the relentless increase of property prices.

Recently there are even stories of parents using their life savings to help their children purchase a house. Interestingly an apartment in my home country is only  “leased” to the owner for 99 years. Eventually the property will be worthless.

IF we were to look at the typical Jewish home and the materials needed to construct the house. You would probably agree with me that it could not be used as a sign of wealth.

Understanding How A Insula Works

The Jewish housing in the time of Jesus are known as Insula. That is a communal house, where all relatives stay together. So the insula begin with the father building his house in the middle ,  eventually, the house is extended outwards.

The descendent would extend the houses whenever they are married. Ray Vander Laan in his video about the holy land discuss this in details.

A Jewish marriage customs are very different from us in the modern world. The bridegroom family will come to the brides family to discuss the marriage. If the marriage proposal is agreed, a glass of wine is offered to the lady. From then on the lady is known as “Someone bought with a price”

Before the bridegroom goes away, he will tell her that he will return to his fathers Insula and “prepare a place” for her.

Then the bridegroom will return to his fathers insula and start to build extension to the fathers house. (note, he does not need to “purchase” the property for it was an extension of his fathers insula, and he did not need to purchase building materials’, as the bricks used in the house are made up of stones that are common around them. However, he needs to fashion the stone himself in order to make bricks for his dwelling. 

When the father reckons that the house constructed by the bridegroom is ready for dwelling, then he will inform his son to go fetch his bride. (throughout the process, the bride has no idea when the bridegroom will come). They will consummate the wedding, and the wedding feast will begin after that.

From here we can gather the following facts about life in Capernaum and Nazareth

1. Houses are built simply using the materials readily available in the vicinity.
2. There is no concept of land deed or or house ownership. Rather they just extend their fathers insula.
3. The houses  in large Galilean town like Capernaum are also build in the same way.

So can houses be used as a gauge as material riches? Perhaps it may be correct in big cities such as Jerusalem, Caesarea, but it is not true when you are referring to towns like Capernaum and a village like Nazareth.

Let us not forget the fact that whenever Jesus serve in a ministry, he did it in houses of host who were willing to take them in, hence there is a possibilities he is not the owner of the house in Capernaum

Though I am very sure he had a house in Nazareth, it would most likely be a simple house or an extension of a insula belonging to Joseph and Mary. (Most likely built by Joseph himself when he was about to marry Mary)

So even if indeed the house in both Nazareth and Capernaum belong to Jesus, it cannot prove anything with regards to wealth of Jesus.,

Jesus Christ , Foxes, and Birds

"Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." – Jesus (Lk 9:58)

When Jesus made this statement to a scribe who approached him and saying “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go” (Matt 8:19, Lk 9:57)

While it is true that Jesus definitely have a house in Nazareth, but we know that Jesus is constantly on the move, therefore he does not get to stay at home in Nazareth often.

I personally believe Jesus lead a life similar to the one described in his instructions to  his disciples (Lk 9:3-5). Whenever they arrive in a town, they will look for people willing to receive them. They will serve the people from that location.

While I do not picture Jesus as a homeless Lord sleeping in the streets, but I am sure that he spends an awful lot of time away from home. So it is appropriate for him to compare himself to the foxes had holes to return to and the birds of the air who had nest to fly back to.

This is the cost of following Jesus, the disciples have to forgo their nice comfortable home and to make do with whatever they received from their host. This is by no means an easy life.  This situation means a lot to me as I have to stay alone overseas and serve the church. Although I do have a “nest” to go to, but its really not the “True Nest” for there is never the warm of family near me.

Therefore, let us learn to pray for the many disciples who worked hard for the Lord outside their homes. For it is by no means a easy task.