Some like to say that Jesus was a socialist. Perhaps it was the robe and sandals. But is it true? I believe the greater proof supports that Jesus was an entrepreneur who believed deeply in free markets, free will and the marketplace of ideas. He condemned leaders that put personal aggrandizement over individual success, as do most socialist leaders. As further proof, I submit the following about Jesus:
Jesus “sold” and did not impose His message: Jesus, the Word made flesh, had an empire to build. He was given a mission to bring God’s plan of salvation to mankind. Rather than assume authority over an organization and use it to impose His message on man, Jesus took God’s message directly to the people and invited them to listen. He blazed a trail straight into the marketplace of ideas with His revolutionary and disruptive message unafraid of offending the disbelievers, hypocrites and the powerful. He trusted that His message alone would be enough to convince listeners that His was the Divine Word. Over two thousand years and over 1 billion followers later, I would say His enterprise was a success.
He hired on merit and in consultation with God: Jesus personally selected each of his twelve apostles from among His many disciples. He knew that His legacy depended, in large part, on the team He assembled to continue His work after His death and therefore, chose each apostle carefully. Like a seasoned entrepreneur, Jesus made this very important decision only after prayerful consultation with God, His primary stakeholder. Each apostle earned their place on the team.
He believed in free will: With all His power and authority, Jesus did not impose his message on us. Even though He knew it was the Divine Word, the path to salvation, He permitted mankind the choice to follow Him or not.
He was results oriented: Jesus was extremely concerned about the success of His mission. He was not here marking time, like a government bureaucrat. He knew the urgency and importance of His work and became frustrated when His apostles did not understand His teachings. In Matthew 17:17 (also Mark 9:14-28 and Luke 9:37-42), Jesus seemed very frustrated with the apostle’s lack of faith after they failed to cast the demon out of the boy. After Jesus stepped in and healed the boy possessed of demons, He exclaimed “How much longer must I be with you? Why must I put up with you? This sounds very much like a man concerned with results. He did not hand out participation trophies.
He was interested in tangible goals: Saving souls was Jesus’s mission on earth. Each saved soul was tangible proof of His success. Like an entrepreneur, who lives for His mission and understands the power of messaging, Jesus knew that, to succeed, He had to convince mankind that His message was the Divinely inspired Word of God that, if freely accepted, would lead all souls to Heaven. Rather than barter the Kingdom in exchange for personal gain, like the Pharisees or modern socialists, Jesus took the success of his mission and the salvation of souls right to the Cross.
He condemned leaders who deceive: Like the rebel that He was, Jesus called out the religious authorities of his time as hypocrites and worse for utilizing their positions of authority to mislead and deceive their followers. He accused them of not letting those who wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven do so. In the Woes of the Pharisees (Matthew 23) Jesus made clear his scorn for those in authority who, like our modern socialists, lead people from their rightful inheritance for personal gain. These leaders pridefully put their glory ahead of their service to the people and Jesus rebuked them in saying “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on peoples shoulders but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger” (Matthew 23:4).
He set up procedures to ensure his legacy outlived his life on earth: Like an entrepreneur, who scales a successful enterprise, Jesus made certain that he had a plan of succession. Jesus spent three years preparing his apostles to be leaders and carry on His ministry. He personally schooled each of them on Scripture, taught them how to deepen their faith, how to teach and inspire and gave them the deeper understanding of His parables that, once understood, unlock the gates of Heaven. As planned, these men traveled far and wide, after His death and resurrection, to spread His teachings and ignite a revolution. On Peter, His rock, He built His Church which continues to shine brightly today.
Jesus certainly was not a socialist. Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit into this world and where the Holy Spirit dwells there is freedom. Conversely, socialism robs us of our freedom. Socialism denies and disrespects the divinity and individuality of each of God’s children. It replaces worship of God with worship of the state and allows the state to pick winners and losers. A socialist government cares little about God or our relationship to Him. By design it is anathema to God in that it governs by lack and subtraction- taking from one to give to another. By design God’s governance is one of plenty and multiplication always adding more to whatever is given.