Jesus did not have money. Jesus carried no money. We can know for sure that Jesus was not rich in monetary terms in this life because the Bible gives us stories and examples that prove that Jesus did not carry money.
We know this is so because when the Pharisees tried to trap Him, and He told them to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” He first had to ask them to bring Him a coin ( Matt 22:15-21 ).
Also, in Matthew 17:24-27 we read that Jesus told Peter to catch a fish, open its mouth and there he would find money to pay the Temple tax. Jesus carried no money. He looked to His Father in heaven to supply His needs.
Jesus never asked people for money. He never hinted at His needs. Money that was given to Jesus and His disciples was held in community and used to feed the poor. Jesus, deliberately it seems, gave charge of the money-bag to Judas, who stole from it ( John 12:4-6). Judas was the person Jesus knew would betray Him – an interesting and telling choice as keeper of the money-bag.
However, for someone who made the decision to forsake money and possessions, Jesus had a lot to say, and to teach, about what our attitude to money should be.
My impression is that this is because, while God recognises that we live in a world where commerce is part of life, and we are to be responsible in handling what is entrusted to us, we are not to love or to serve money above God. We are to learn to be dependent on Him, rather than to find our security in this world’s institutions and currency.
It also seems that God assesses our attitude to Him by measuring our heart attitude to money and possessions.
Jews in Jesus’ day believed that riches were a sign of God’s favour. This was because the Law of Moses promised temporal blessings for obedience. Jesus’ parables and teachings were a shock to the Jews because they challenged the thinking that prosperity was a sign of acceptance and approval from God.
Christians who fail to see that we do not live under the Law, and who quote from the Old Testament in regard to blessings, fall under the same misconception as the Jews of Jesus’ day. The Law, we are told in the book of Hebrews, was a shadow of things to come. It pointed to Jesus, and to the fact that our focus should be on eternity and on blessings that are granted in the heavenly realm.
Jesus’ key thoughts on money are presented in the Sermon on the Mount. In ( Matt 6:19-24 ), He says to invest in the life to come. We do this through liberal giving – not a set church-tax of ten percent of our income, but open-heartedness. In this Scripture passage, between the initial thought of laying up treasures in heaven and the truth that we cannot serve both God and money, are verses 22 and 23 which talk about the eye being “the lamp of the body.” The verses seem to make little sense, in the context of money, until it is appreciated that, in Jewish thought, to have an “evil eye” is to be stingy and mean-spirited, while to have a “good eye” is to be generous.
Here we have a key to godly living: Give generously, but with discernment, with a view to His Kingdom purposes, trusting God to supply all your needs.