This is a thorny little story. Oh, it doesn't seem so at the beginning; pretty straightforward. Jesus is at the Temple near the collection boxes. People with lots of money come by and drop in large offerings. Then a widow [read powerless with no one to support her] comes up and throws in two mites [smallest coins in circulation--less than 7/10 of 1% of a denarius, which was the daily wage of an unskilled laborer]--an extremely small amount. But, this is ALL SHE HAS. Jesus calls his followers over and tells them that the widow has put in more than anyone else; because the others gave out of their abundance and she gave out of her poverty. A straightforward story, right?
But think about this:
- In the verses right before this story, Jesus is condemning the religious leaders for being abusive of and predatory toward widows. Yet Jesus commended her giving to the religious establishment.
- In the verses immediately after this story, Jesus says that the Temple is to be destroyed. Why would he let her give all she had to something that was soon to be destroyed?
- The woman had TWO coins. Why give BOTH? It was all she had.
- Jesus had great compassion for the poor. Why didn't he stop her? She needed that money.
- What difference would this tiny offering make?
We will discuss the implications Sunday.
The worship bulletin is here.