So prominent in Jesus' parables and wisdom sayings is his emphasis on utter faith in God and relinquishment of possessions that Geza Vermes (1993:148) considers this a central element in Jesus' teaching. Paul S. Minear declared that it was no wonder those with vested interests hated Jesus: "So insidious was [his] attack upon earthly treasures that he became, according to Kierkegaard, a `far more terrible robber' than those who assault travelers along a highway. Jesus assaulted the whole human race at the point where that race is most sensitive: its desire for security and superiority" (Minear 1954:133).
We like to point out Jesus' rhetorical overstatement in this passage while ignoring why he used it to secure our attention. Most Christians disagree with what the prosperity preachers say over the radio and television, but the main difference between us and them in practice is often that they provide a theological justification for their materialism, where we do not.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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