” For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. “
– 2 Corinthians 8:9 –
Commentary by Enduring Word
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
You know the grace of our Lord Jesus: From the context, and from how Paul has used the word grace in this passage, we know that Paul means, “You know the giving of our Lord Jesus.”
Though He was rich: When was Jesus rich? Before He added humanity to His deity and walked this earth. Here, Paul subtly, but definitely, points to the deity of Jesus. There is no way Paul could write though He was rich if Jesus began His existence in Mary’s womb.
And what riches! Jesus, as the eternal Second Member of the Trinity, as God the Son, living in the riches and splendor of the ivory palaces of heaven (Psalm 45:8), surrounded constantly by the glory, power, and majesty of God. The riches Jesus enjoyed before adding humanity to His deity make any amount of wealth on earth seem poor.
Notice that it says that Jesus became poor when He was rich. Just as Jesus added humanity but never lost His deity, so He also “added” poverty but never “lost” His riches. “For He assumed poverty, yet did not lose His riches. Inwardly He was rich, outwardly poor. His deity was hidden in His riches, His manhood apparent in His poverty.” (Hughes)
Yet for your sakes He became poor: Jesus lived His earthly life as a poor man. We should not exaggerate the poverty of Jesus; after all, He was not a destitute beggar. Yet He could say of Himself, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20)
When we contrast the simple life of Jesus (He became poor) with His existence before adding humanity to His deity (He was rich), we are even more amazed. Poverty always feels worse when one has been rich.
Most amazing of all is why Jesus accepted this simple life of poverty: for your sakes. This was Jesus’ “giving.” He gave financially in the sense that He accepted a humble life of poverty (when He had all power to live as the wealthiest man in all history), and He did it for [our] sakes.
Why would Jesus need to become poor for your sakes? How does His poverty benefit us?
· Because it shows us the giving heart of God
· Because it shows us the relative importance of material things
· Because it makes Jesus open and accessible to all
· Because it rebukes the pride that might refuse to come to a poor Savior
· Because it gave others the privilege of giving to Jesus
· Because it fulfilled the heart and will and plan of God, making our salvation possible
That you through His poverty might become rich: Because of Jesus’ poverty and all that was related to it, we can become rich. We have a share in Jesus’ eternal, heavenly wealth because He came and had a share in our poverty.