Several years ago, I made a commitment to take time everyday to read, study, pray through, believe and obey the Gospels and the book of Acts. It has powerfully changed my life.
One of the truths that I don’t remember ever being taught and that I had never really noticed was this: Jesus was homeless.
Luke 9:57-58 As they were traveling on the road someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go!” Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”
Jesus was not born in a castle as a king, or a house as most people were 2,000 years ago. He was born homeless, in a barn…a borrowed barn. His crib was a feeding trough for animals.
As a very young child, He started out in life practically homeless. The first few months of His life were lived outside the family home in Nazareth. His parents stayed in Bethlehem and either shared a house with another family or rented one short term.
When Jesus’ parents fled the persecution caused by Herod, they took Jesus across the border to Egypt. He was a baby on the run.
Eventually He grew up in a house in Nazareth, but at the age of 30, He launched His public ministry. He had no permanent home. He had no secure, safe place of His own to lay His head at night. For all practical purposes, He lived as a homeless person.
Yes, occasionally He came back to the family home in Galilee to sleep, but often he crashed on the couch of a friend. Many, many nights, He slept out in the open, under the stars.
Jesus died homeless. At the end, He did not die in a hospital or His own home or the family home. There was no one caring for Him as He breathed His final breathes. He died alone, hung up in the open on a cross. He died a death of slow torture. All His clothes had been stolen. He had no possessions.
After His death, He was buried in someone else’s tomb.
Jesus understands the plight of the homeless. In many ways, His life began and ended as a homeless man.
Las Vegas has the third highest number of homeless people in the nation (10,000). The only cities with more, New York and Los Angeles have much larger populations.
Every day on my way to work, I drive by several homeless people. Several homeless people join us for Morning Prayer every day.
Many of the homeless are young adults – aged 15-25. Most of them ran away from home to escape abuse. Running way to Las Vegas sounded glamorous or exciting and now they struggle to survive on the streets. Some battle some degree of mental illness, many are battling drug addictions.
I am especially challenged by the thousands of functionally homeless children in Las Vegas. They live some siblings and a family member in a weekly hotel or in another family’s apartment. They have no bed of their own.
This week God gave us a special deal on a couple of mini-buses so we can transport children to Kids City for church on Sundays. We find they are as hungry for Jesus as they are for food.
In a few weeks, we hope to open our Grace City Flamingo Outreach Center. This 4,000 square foot space will allow us to have a base for free food and clothing distribution, and provide a home for Bible studies, prayer, and counseling. In a few months we hope to add a weekly Sunday evening worship service. We also will provide resources that will help people get clean, get jobs, and get off the streets. Beyond that, it will hostGrace City Expression, our ministry to the arts community.
Pray for us.
Better yet, come join us as we do ministry for Jesus, with Jesus, like Jesus and, in a sense, to Jesus.