Question from July 30 Sermon:
Was Jesus intentionally avoiding luxuries because they could have been a hindrance to the disciples’ focus?
Two issues come up with this question. First is the issue of intention. While Jesus did emphasize the lack of luxury in His ministry/life, the lack of luxury was not simply a mere choice but one of necessity/circumstance. Jesus was not born in a wealthy home, and did not work a high-profile job in His early years. Being born into a carpenter’s home, the work done to sustain the family was one of wood and stone (yes, stone was a big part of carpenter’s work back then). Once Jesus left home to begin His ministry-proper leading to the cross, luxuries were simply not an option (were not available).
However, being God, and thus omnipotent, Jesus could have purposely pursued luxuries or even could have created luxuries (yet, in both cases, did not). Therefore, the issue of luxuries also does include intention; Jesus intentionally did not seek out luxuries. While luxuries could possibly be a distraction to the disciples, the real focus was upon Jesus’ role and mission. In the NIV, Phil. 2:6 reads, “[Jesus] being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.” In other words, Divinity is not an excuse to be a grasping-type of person. Jesus came to sacrifice Himself so others might flourish, not vice-versa (to sacrifice others to help oneself flourish would make Jesus a casino-god, rather than the true sacrificial God).
In short (too late?), Jesus did not (and would not) pursue luxuries – not because they were bad or a distraction, but instead because 1) He was poor, making such things unavailable, and 2) such a pursuit would go against His humble nature. Luxuries are not wrong and bad, but to make luxuries one’s goal, motivation, pursuit, and source of comfort goes against humbleness and turns something good into an idol.