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Jesus on Wealth Redistribution: What He Said and Didn't Say

• https://fee.org by Randy england

What did Jesus have to say to support the welfare state? During his ministry, Jesus spoke many times of the poor. He talked about the last judgment when he would commend those who help others, especially the poor:

"I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me" (Matt. 25: 34–35).

He condemned those who would invite to dinner the rich or others who might later pay back the favor. Instead, he counseled, "But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind" (Luke 14:13). He said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven (Matt 19:24).

On some occasions, Jesus' exhortations to help the poor have been used as arguments for the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Recall the story of the rich young ruler:

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