There are “Jesus was Homeless” ministries, organizations, t-shirts, and of course, endless “Jesus was Homeless” homilies and sermons. Why do we like to say that the Lord Jesus was homeless? Do we really think that Jesus was homeless in the same sense as what real homeless people are today? Jesus grew up as the son of a carpenter; we can presume that He was not homeless then. When Jesus began His ministry, He was not some poor victim of helplessness. In a sense, Jesus had everything that He wanted. Is that how you’d describe the truly homeless today? To the extent that our Lord was “homeless,” He chose to be. While there are still some today who choose either directly or indirectly to be homeless, people who choose to be homeless shouldn’t be in the same category as those who are unable to fend for themselves… Jesus included!! Did you catch that? To the extent that Jesus was homeless, He chose to be. He shouldn’t be lumped together with those who are unable to fend for themselves; it’s an injustice to those who are truly homeless to call Jesus homeless!!
The Lord Jesus proclaimed, "Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head." Yet Jesus was no vagabond or bum. He had a time-critical ministry that carried Him all across the land. In a sense, it would have been silly for Him to have a home. He and His disciples stayed in people’s homes and I imagine they slept outside plenty of times too. Even so, when people of that time made their pilgrimages to Jerusalem or traveled to other places, they commonly slept under the stars. Since the beginnings of our faith with Abraham, our people lived in tents, out in the open, and in all kinds of accommodations. Many of them we could say were homeless. In fact, we could say that the whole exiled Jewish people were homeless.
To me, this whole “Jesus was Homeless” thing is an insult and often an emotional scam. Jesus’ first ministry words were “Repent” and that was the focus of His life. That should be our focus too, not that He was somehow homeless. Well okay, Jesus was also car-less, microwave-less, TV-less, and air conditioner-less. Maybe I should have a ministry like that. Would you donate money?! Just kidding, but I hope you get my point. Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” Although Jesus was “poor,” He evidently didn’t consider Himself poor; He was talking about other people. I doubt He considered Himself homeless either.
Finally, what about the verse, “For when I was hungry, you gave me food; when I was thirsty, you gave me drink; when I was homeless, you gave me a welcome”? In every early translation I can find “homeless” is not in there. It says, “…I was a stranger and you took me in.” Maybe homeless is more politically correct…perhaps stranger and homeless is the same thing. But then the Disciples asked Jesus when He was ever one of the above? Evidently the Disciples never saw Him hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, in prison, or a stranger/homeless. The Disciples didn’t understand until Jesus said that when you minister to the least of these you minister unto Him.
So, let’s have an end to trying to say that Jesus was some poor homeless drifter. How about instead of putting Him in the victim status we put Him in the victor status?!