Was Jesus a Slave?

Posted by Roberta Grimes • September 16, 2023 • 29 Comments

My sweet Lord, my Lord, my Lord,
I really want to see you! Really want to be with you!
Really want to see you, Lord, but it takes so long, my Lord,
My sweet Lord! My Lord, my Lord!

 I really want to know you! Really want to go with you!
Really want to show you Lord, that it won’t take long, my Lord (Hallelujah!)
My sweet Lord (Hallelujah!) Hm, my Lord (Hallelujah!) My sweet Lord (Hallelujah!)

Really want to see you! Really want to see you! Really want to see you, Lord!
Really want to see you Lord, but it takes so long, my Lord (Hallelujah!)
My sweet Lord (Hallelujah!) Hm, my Lord (Hallelujah!) My, my, my Lord (Hallelujah!)

 I really want to know you (Hallelujah!) Really want to go with you (Hallelujah!)
Really want to show you Lord that it won’t take long, my Lord (Hallelujah!)
– George Harrison (1943-2001), from “My Sweet Lord” (1970)

As I have researched the life and teachings of Jesus, there were things that never made sense to me. But I was so engrossed in ever more deeply studying Jesus’s Gospel words, in blogging and podcasting and answering questions, that for a long time I ignored the things about the life of Jesus that didn’t seem right. Or I accepted the explanations we were getting from scholars, even though I thought those explanations were unsatisfying. There were a number of such puzzles in Jesus’s life, but the two things that most bothered me, and the ways in which most scholars have addressed them, were these:

  • Jesus’s lack of a wife. It is clear to anyone who reads the Gospels that Jesus was reared as a well-educated and religiously observant Jew. And in His day, properly brought-up Jewish males were married in their teens, but we can find no evidence that Jesus ever took a wife. Why was that? Some scholars assume that He did have a wife, that perhaps Mary Magdalen was His wife, and even that He likely had children, who were then spirited away to France or somewhere, either with or without their mother, and that some or all of the members of Jesus’s nuclear family survived His crucifixion. Some scholars even assume that Jesus joined His family in exile after His resurrection. But there is no evidence for any of this.
  • The “Lost Years.” It would have been assumed that Jesus would begin His teaching mission as a young adult, but the Biblical Gospels tell us that He did not begin to teach in Galilee until the age of thirty. That silent period of young adulthood that lasted for almost a decade is what is commonly referred to as “the Lost Years,” and naturally scholars have wanted to fill those years with some sort of useful activity. The most common ideas put forth have to do with His traveling to India or Nepal, perhaps. He might have networked with Buddhist and Hindu teachers, further learning and perfecting what He later taught. All of which I reject as nonsense! Jesus had things to learn on earth before His teaching phase began, but what He had to learn was only about humankind, so He could better understand and therefore better teach the people around Him. Jesus was born on earth from the Godhead as already a spiritually perfected Being.

As I came to better know Jesus last summer while we worked on material for His website, I tried to develop the courage to ask Him to address some of these questions about His personal life. After all, I had been charged with creating His website, and everyone is avid to know more about Jesus on a personal level. We were discussing His positions on doctrine, and He was  comfortable about doing that. And in the process, He was tearing down Constantine’s Christianity without reservation. But Jesus was reluctant to answer questions about His personal life. I had long wondered about John, for example, who was “the disciple that Jesus loved,” and who had leaned back against Jesus’s chest at a banquet to ask Him a question, and had taken other personal liberties with the Lord. When you pair that information with the fact that Jesus never married, you might naturally wonder about their sexual preferences…? But when that thought even barely entered my mind, I got an “if looks could kill” look from Jesus, and He stood up and walked away. Jesus has never looked at me that way either before or since, and I have never thought of asking Him even one more personal question. (And then I remembered that of course John was Jesus’s younger brother from His last pre-Jesus lifetime, the one in which Thomas was Jesus’s older brother, which should adequately explain why John was the disciple that Jesus loved.)

Jesus simply will not address the details of His personal life with me. Nor, I think, will He address them with anyone else. Jesus is private by nature, but more to the point, He considers His personal life to be unimportant. It is only His teachings that matter to Him. And when I ask Him questions in general, He usually won’t say a definitive “Yes.” The most that He will do is to give me a positive vibe. He will, however, say a definitive “No.” And sometimes – as you saw – His “NO” is emphatic! But soon after that if-looks-could-kill moment, I found an article somewhere that suggested that Jesus had been born into slavery. And when I asked Him in my mind whether this could be true, He gave me the comfortable sense that I might profitably investigate that question. Which is as close to a “Yes” as I ever will get from Him.

An open-minded researcher has to admit that the evidence that Jesus was born into slavery is strong. When the idea is first suggested to you, though, everything within you is repulsed by it! At least, that was how I felt. I thought there had to be some mistake. Jesus? If you want to dismiss the whole notion out of hand, all I ask is that you read the rest of this post with an open mind. And with the understanding that Jesus Himself gave me permission to investigate this question. I did the research, and I went from being a repulsed skeptic to becoming someone who is not only personally convinced, but who thinks that we have discovered some interesting new information about the Man Himself. Let’s look together at the evidence: 

  • Slavery was common in that time and place. But slavery in the area where Jesus lived two thousand years ago was a milder condition than is our image of chattel slavery in the pre-Civil-War American South. And for many of those held in bondage then, it was not a permanent condition. People often sold themselves or their children into servitude for a period of time in order to pay back a debt, or even because they could not otherwise afford food and shelter. The Greek word translated as “servant” generally did mean what we would call a bondsman, or an actual slave, but sometimes it meant just a person hired to do some task; and these people were often bound for a time and not for life. There were, moreover, strict Biblical rules about how “slaves” were to be treated (see, e.g., Exod 21.2-6; Lev 25.10, 38-41; and Deut 23.15,16).
  • Jesus’s mother, Mary, identifies herself to the Archangel Gabriel as a slave. She uses the female version of a Greek word which is translated as “slave” whenever it is used for a male (see LK 1:38). And if Mary is a slave, then her child will be born into her same legal status. In which case, insofar as I can determine, Jesus’s status as a slave at birth would have been for life. But when Jesus was four, the Roman Emperor Augustus decreed that those born into slavery as Jesus would have been born into slavery were now to be freed at the age of thirty. And if Jesus was a slave until He was thirty, then that very well explains both why Jesus was not married in His teens, and why He did not begin His teaching ministry until He reached the age of thirty, since He would have been Joseph’s bondsman working as a carpenter during all those “Lost Years.” And while Joseph may not have married Mary, he received and heeded Gabriel’s announcement, and he seems in all respects to have thought of Jesus as his beloved oldest son, protecting Him from the slaughter of the innocents when it happened and educating Him well in preparation for His free adulthood. We really have no complaint to make against Jesus’s nominal father.
  • A mere stable is considered to be sufficient shelter for a woman who is about to give birth. We fondly think that the “no room in the inn” story of Jesus’s birth is charming, but in fact it is a sign of Mary’s low status, especially in view of her late stage of pregnancy. Would a free woman of respectable rank have been shuffled off to give birth in a barn?
  • Joseph seems never to have married Mary. Jesus from the cross asks His disciple, John, to look after His mother (see JN 19:27), so we know that Jesus is not certain that Joseph will care for his mother after His own death. As indeed apparently Joseph does not care for her, according to a close reading of the Gospel of Luke, since Mary soon moves into John’s household.
  • Jesus was oddly despised by His childhood neighbors for speaking with authority at the start of His ministry. After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, He returned to Galilee. And then comes an astonishing scene that never made sense to me before, in which He speaks in His home synagogue and announces that He is the fulfillment of Hebrew prophesy. And his home-folks promptly try to throw Him off a cliff. Here it is:

14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding region. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.

16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to Him. And He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

20 And He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all the people in the synagogue were intently directed at Him. 21 Now He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all the people were speaking well of Him, and admiring the gracious words which were coming from His lips; and yet they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” 23 And He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! All the miracles that we heard were done in Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” 24 But He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. 25 But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a severe famine came over all the land; 26 and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many with leprosy in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; 29 and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and brought Him to the crest of the hill on which their city had been built, so that they could throw Him down from the cliff. 30 But He passed through their midst and went on His way (LK 4:14-30). A presumptuous local boy who had grown up as a slave among them and only just been emancipated might inspire such rage, but surely nothing less!

We all plan our lives on earth before we are born, and that was especially true of Jesus. The Jesus that we know would have planned an earth-life as the poorest of the poor, and in that time and place, that may well have meant that Jesus deliberately chose to be born of a slave mother, and to live as a slave Himself during most of His human life. My Thomas tells us that Jesus was born as God on earth so God could “look through His eyes,” as Thomas puts it, and observe and come to very much better understand humanity. And how much better could God come to understand people when viewing us from the perspective of the least of these (see MT 25:44-46), by spending the first thirty years of Jesus’s life viewing us from the perspective of an actual slave?

That perspective of “the least of these” would have additionally suited Jesus’s purpose as He fine-tuned His teachings in preparation for His active teaching phase. And God could easily have influenced Caesar Augustus’s mind to decree an emancipation at the age of thirty for those born into slavery in plenty of time for Jesus to begin His planned teaching phase when He was thirty. That coincidence of ages seems simply too neat for it actually to have been a coincidence.

 So I have come to accept the probability that Jesus did indeed begin and live most of His life as a slave, and He did so by strategic choice, to better serve God’s need to more perfectly understand people. But I think it was also done by personal choice. I slapped my forehead when I realized that! The Jesus that I have lately come to much better know, the Jesus who loves each individual person to the point of obsession, and who as recently as just last week could not stand to see that a member of this community was sad without rushing off to give her a hug, could not have borne the thought of planning a lifetime to be lived among so many slaves unless He was going to be a slave Himself. Jesus has just lived the past seventeen hundred years doing nothing but loving hundreds of millions of Christianity’s victims back into mental and spiritual health, even though He had no part in causing any of their pain!

 I get it now. I do. Late last spring, soon after I first personally met Jesus, when I was still trying to get my mind around all the details of knowing Him, I was asking my Thomas a lot of questions. Why did Jesus do this or that, or was this or that really true about Jesus? And the sense I got was that Thomas wasn’t always thrilled about these things either, but I just had to accept what Jesus did, and who He was. And I now realize that Jesus would have had to teach as a free Man. But until the public phase of His life began, He would have wanted to have the same status as the poorest people around Him. He would likely have wanted to be a slave, since He lived where so many people were slaves. And if I had asked my Thomas why that would have been so, since I would certainly never have wanted to be a slave, his answer would have been the same answer that I always got when I asked my Thomas these questions. He would have said simply, “That is why He is Jesus, and you and I are not.”

Roberta Grimes
Latest posts by Roberta Grimes (see all)

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

29 thoughts on “Was Jesus a Slave?

  1. What are we to make of those mediums who say they also channeled Jesus, but tell us about his supposed marriage to Mary Magdalene and his travels to Egypt and/or India? Who is channeling through them, if not Jesus?

    The problem with conflicting revelations/messages/channelings is that they can greatly confuse us and make us doubt channels/mediums in general. The old saying of “Whom can you believe?” applies here.

    To me personally, it doesn’t matter all that much actually, even though I am very curious by nature, as the main message for me is to keep practicing unconditional love to the best of my ability. This remains the bottom-line truth for me.

    1. Oh my dear Adrian, I stopped putting any credibility at all in those mediums and their stories a long time ago! You are right in saying that they are all channeling different (fake) Jesuses, and even before I ever met Jesus in person, I could never find any evidence to back up the Mary Magdalen marriage stories, or the long-distance travel stories. Even just what we have in the Gospels pretty strongly suggested that there was no good way to make the versions of those stories that I saw fit with what we already knew.

      Our problem has been, of course, that no one has known what Jesus might have been doing during all this time! And who is He, anyway, on a personal level? Even a careful reading of all the Gospels that exist, and trying to read between the lines, doesn’t tell you a lot. And when eventually I did meet Him, He wasn’t what I expected, but I realized that of course I should have expected nothing less. Becoming spiritually evolving thousands of years earlier as a regular person who just obsessively loves people? Check! Spent the last seventeen hundred years healing Christianity’s damage done to hundreds of millions? Check and double-check! You would expect the world’s biggest big-shot to be at least somewhat full of himself, but that is just not Jesus. He has a mild and sweet personality, and He even chooses to present in a very short astral body, when every other advanced being who is even far less advanced than He is chooses to be as much as eight or ten feet tall.

      What plays in my mind sometimes is that song from Jesus Christ Superstar, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” He is that enigmatic! His position is unique. The way things are set up, He should long ago have either joined the Godhead Collective or else elevated out of this system altogether. But for His sheer love of people, and with the help of my Thomas and others of His team, He remains fully God and fully Man. Or as He and they say, He maintains His balance. But as Roman Christianity seems to be aging out of its cultural relevance on earth, He is perhaps going to need a new vehicle that will allow Him still to serve us. And He will need our help in figuring out what that should be.

      1. Dear Roberta. I have a renewed skepticism about mediums lately. In his time Harry Houdini exposed every one of them he sat with as frauds. In our time James Randi offered a million dollars to any of them who could prove themselves. His organization still has the offer. Given what many of them charge, we know it isn’t due to their altruism that they don’t take up the offer.

        1. My dear Ray, I know that the gift is genuine, and that some mediums, especially historically, have had that gift. I also know from personal experience that most modern mediums are not very gifted, and since I am a skeptic by nature who knows that my loved ones are fine, I am a tough nut for them to crack

          And I believe from what I have been told that I am probably the first person who ever actually has channeled Jesus, when we wrote Liberating Jesus. Not only was it not my idea, but I actively resisted doing it, and it only ended up happening when Thomas tricked me into it. Before 2015, Jesus was too busy in His healing gardens, and since then He is still too busy. Also, He has been betrayed far too many times! (By preachers, mediums, writers – you name it.) Jesus trusts nobody now in a physical body, and He even has told me that, point-blank. But since my spirit guide vouches for me and can control me, and Jesus does trust my Thomas, He has gradually made of me a kind of useful earth-based assistant. And naturally, of course, I take His trust of me in that role very seriously!

  2. Yes, Adrian I agree.For me Jesus really is my Guy

    Journal- Dear Jesus

    I think it will tell Him my frugal life and draw a flower border
    around each page♥️☕️♥️


  3. I was extremely hesitant to continue reading this at first. Jesus a slave? during his lost years? What about Issa? The prophet who travelled India and Tibet? There are scrolls about Issa, the one who went back to his home land at thirty and was crucified by his own people. Issa studied with Tibetan monks, surely done of the practices of Jesus confirmed to this type of healing and miracles, Yogi’s have been performing similar muscles for thousands of years. Made sense to me. However I’ve never been led astray by any of your teachings before so I continued to read. What you say does make sense and is reasonably logical. So I’m open minded about it. Thank you.

    1. My dear Regina, welcome! And thank you for being open-minded about this. I didn’t like this idea at all either, except for two intriguing facts:
      1) It solved both Jesus’s no-marriage and His Lost-Years problems, and also there was that intriguing age-four change in the law; and
      2) When I asked Jesus about it, He as good as confirmed it.
      I could not get over that! He didn’t say “Yes, it’s true.” But He never would. He gave me a warm “Go ahead” vibe when I asked Him if I should research that article. So I asked Him the same thing the next day, as if I hadn’t been clear. “So, should I really look into this?” And He used words with the vibe this time. And He has approved of this post. It seems that He wants us to know this about His life.

      So then when we first read your comment, I asked Jesus about Issa, and He wouldn’t say Yes or No there at all. I tried to Google “Issa,” and I got nothing related to Jesus. Jesus is telling me now that if He had wanted to go to India, there were ways by which He could have done it. My dear Regina, do you have anything about Issa that you can send to me?

  4. Dear Roberta. The incidents when Jesus escapes a mob are very intriguing (LK 4:30 above). My favorite is JN 8:59, when he “hid himself “ and walked right through the crowd. Somewhere along the way I heard that he changed his vibratory rate to essentially become invisible.

    1. Oh my dear Ray, and just within the last twenty-four hours, after Regina brought up “Issa” here, Jesus has been hinting to me that He could have traveled to India and done all of that, even while He was Joseph’s slave. Apparently theirs was a warm relationship, more father-son than anything else, and also apparently, as you say, Jesus was more supernatural during that lifetime than we ever have realized. This is not the first time that He has used the comments section of this little blog to try out talking about things that were a stretch; but wow, this is some cutting-edge stuff!

  5. Hi Roberta,

    I appreciate Jesus sharing some of his pass experiences. I do think it helps us. While his teachings are very powerful, it also helps to see examples of HIM putting it into practice in a normal life. We can try to mimic him until it becomes natural.

    Thanks again!


    1. Oh my dear Thomas, I question how “normal” His life as Jesus actually was. When we read the Gospels closely, and making full allowance for how primitive those times actually were, and when I tell you that Thomas has told me frankly in some of his less guarded moments that Jesus had full awareness of who He was and what He was doing when He was on earth, and He had powers beyond the usual human powers… we come to see that perhaps Jesus was doing some magical things when He was there! Certainly, His healings were beyond magical.

  6. My Joe loved Jesus, and I wonder if he was greeted by Jesus when he passed from this life last November. Joe’s 62nd birthday would have been today. Joe’s dad was a reverend of a small family church, and Joe’s childhood was full of strict, strange rules and pronouncements. He wouldn’t talk about it too often.
    I wish Joe could have read your blogs, Roberta, because I know it would have opened his eyes and heart and made him smile. He would have seen the truth about Jesus’ love for everyone. Hopefully, now, he knows in person.
    Thank you for everything you do.

    1. Oh my beloved Jennifer K, I’m sure that Jesus would have greeted Joe! He greets people all day and night there – it’s a ministry that seems to be quite important to Him, I think in part it’s to help to make up for the kind of treatment that that people like Joe got from Roman Christianity when they were here.

  7. If you compare the Gospels to the Gurus Yup
    they align

    -Be still and know that I am God—–Meditate
    The Kingdom of God is within you–Meditate

    They both advocate the 10 Commandments

    But Eastern religions do not depict a personal relationship

    Jesus offers a close relationship
    I need a personal relationship
    So I choose Life Again Jesus is my Guy ♥️

    1. Hey Erica, I reckon you’ve nailed it.

      I too have learned something of the way eastern religions and philosophies go about enlightenment. I have noticed that exact thing; Jesus does offer a close, personal, inner connection with each of us. His Closeness/Love is with us every step of the way. It continues even when we are (perceivably) at our lowest point. His love does not falter.

      That personal relationship (beyond simply ‘a connection’) is what really makes the difference. 🙏🏼❣️🌅

      1. My darling friend Efrem, Jesus really does participate with us here, which astonishes and very much delights me. Not when He isn’t a part of the blog post, but when we are thinking and talking about Him, as we are this time, He is curious to know what we are saying, and sometimes He even prompts me about what to say. Frustratingly, though, if I have an actual question, He won’t come out and answer it (unless the answer is a sharp NO). But of course I’m used to that by now!

  8. Hello Erica,
    just a detail about Luke 17:21 :
    The Kingdom of God is “inside you” (in Greek : ἐντός (inside) ὑμῶν (you) => enthos umon)…
    So as you said, you have the capability to get a closer relationship, ’cause He’s inside you, it’s a really personal relationship we need to improve it and we can grow with Him. Paul said : …Christ is living in me…
    He is your Guy, definitively

    1. My dear Patrick, welcome, and thank you for this! So wonderfully said, and so comforting for all of us to realize that we cannot be closer to Jesus than this: that He already is within us, in our deepest hearts.

      1. Hi, Dear Roberta,
        I’m very pleased that my comment has pleased you. like you I love Jesus and I know how much important is to live his innerlight, the aim is to receive his full love. God loves us as you said and every step of our life He knows it, without His love this life here is very hard ’cause there so much things that hurt our hearts. Thank you for making this blog open to every person who search for Him, it’s a refuge where we can get encouragement and spirituel understanding.

        1. Oh my dear Patrick, it is so joyous for me to watch people discover the spirit of God within them! To see them open themselves to God. And your comment is helpful to that effort. Thank you so much!

  9. Dearest Roberta,
    The slave thing or classic OT bondservant, does make sense. Jesus would choose the basic level of human status, would He not? To abide with – as in walk with those in need or those in a suffering state, is Our Jesus to the core. And it sounds like low status bondservants would have suffered greatly. To Jesus, those of low status may be rejected by people, but they are completely valued and loved by Him. If someone really loves us they will share our lives, burdens and all. They will comfort us as they walk through life with us. Thus they lessen our pain.

    If a human being feels moved to do that for a person they love, how much more will Jesus do and be able to do? ❣️🙏🏼🕊

    1. My dear Efrem, that was where I came out on this as well, in the end. But I did struggle with it! And then I worried about whether Jesus was so advanced that He actually ever really suffered. You know, there are theories out there that Jesus was so advanced that He never suffered at all, not even on the cross, and I have thought and prayed a lot over that before I finally – and years ago – got from Him that yes, He did take on human suffering, since otherwise what would have been the point of His even coming here at all?

  10. Hi Roberta,

    I love this blog. And I am so happy. you do not agree Jesus’ study with the Buddhist in his lost years.

    I am not trying to cause a problem, but the Buddhist have their own agenda as to why they want to spread this concept as truth. So does any Eastern religion.

    After I left Western Religion, I can assure you that Tibet Buddhism as well as many Eastern forms of religions are corrupted and there are many reasons why they want people to believe Jesus went to India to study.

    Again, I am so happy you do not agree with this. Why would Jesus need to study with yogi’s, Buddhist, etc. He was the highest of the Godhead!

    I am so intrigued that he could have been a slave and find this to be very interesting and possibly more real than anything.

    Another GREAT blog, and I love reading everyone’s response!


    1. Oh my dear lovely Litsa, I certainly agree that Jesus had nothing to learn from them! Although perhaps He could have had things to teach them…? 🙂 And I’m so glad that you enjoyed this, dear one!

  11. Have you read Autobiography of a a Yogi? That is life changing. I believe Yeshua did go to India. But, he could have done so while remaining where he was. Bi-location is something experienced by master yogis. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on Babaji, too.

  12. Have you read Autobiography of a a Yogi? That book is life changing. I believe Yeshua did go to India. But, he could have done so while remaining where he was. Bi-location is something experienced by master yogis. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on Babaji, too.

    1. My dear Kris, I read that book, but maybe fifty years ago; I really don’t remember it. And Jesus tells me that He could have done the bi-location thing, but that is all He will say, so my hunch is that He probably did, but He won’t talk about it. I don’t know what Babaji is?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *