“Sitting across from the temple treasury, He watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich people were putting in large sums.”
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“Sitting across from the temple treasury, He watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich people were putting in large sums. And a poor widow came and dropped in two tiny coins worth very little. Summoning His disciples, He said to them, ‘I assure you: This poor widow has put in more than those giving to the temple treasury. For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she possessed – all she had to live on.’” Mark 12:41-44 (HCSB)
Throughout Mark 12 and the beginning of chapter 13 are a series of teachings, forming a continuous thought concerning money and the heart.
Perhaps, the most endearing teaching is the account of Jesus’ recognition & honoring of a poor widow as she presented her offering in the temple. It is worth noting that Jesus was WATCHING the crowd as they gave their money. He wasn’t just in the proximity of the offering box; He was watching intently. So much so that Jesus noticed even the smallest of offerings.
Messiah’s notice of the widow’s offering adds to the urgency of His warning against the Scribes. “They devour widows’ houses and say long prayers just for show.” Mark 12:40a (HCSB)
Jesus’ observation of the widow is closely tied to His quoting of the “Shema” (Hebrew for “Listen/Hear”) earlier in Mark 12. “Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is ONE. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:29-30 (HCSB)
This widow was living out the Shema while the Scribes only rendered lip service. For his glory, she believed in God with all that she had and was. The Scribes were exploiting all she had to bring glory to themselves.
Sadly, the religious leaders, those whose job it was to exemplify the Shema, had chosen to ignore Jesus’ exhortation. “Then Jesus told them, ‘Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.’” Mark 12:17 (HCSB)
In coveting the things of Caesar, they robbed God of His most cherished offering: themselves.
Given what the “shepherds of Israel” had become, is it any wonder Messiah will predict the temple’s destruction at the beginning of Mark 13?
Let us always remember that Jesus intently watches our “offerings,” whether they be offerings of money, time, or talent. As God is One, let us each worship Him “singularly,” that is, wholly & completely.
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©Steve Wiggins 2021