The Good Book Blog
Though the New Testament is not a textbook on economics, it was immersed in a particular economic environment and much of the New Testament teaching had implications for economic life. In the New Testament, Jesus takes up right where the Old Testament prophets left off. Care for the poor was just as important to Jesus as it was to the prophets. When the followers of John the Baptist (who was in prison at the time) asked Jesus if He was indeed the Messiah who was to come, He answered in terms that could have been taken right out of the prophets. He put it like this, “Go back to John (the Baptist) and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are being raised to life and the good news is being preached to the poor” (Matt. 11:4-5). The evidence that Jesus was who He claimed to be was not only that He did miracles, but who were the beneficiaries of those miracles were: the poor, marginalized and vulnerable. Similarly, when He spoke of final judgment and what would separate His true followers from the pretenders, He made it clear that how someone treats the poor is a critical indication of a person’s spiritual maturity. This is likely what Jesus meant when He said that, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to the least of these my brothers, you were doing it to me” (referring to feeding the hungry and taking in the needy, Matt. 25:40).