What did I learn about Jesus?
- Jesus taught that the two greatest commandments were to love God and love our neighbor.
- We are called to do this, which seems so simple, but yet is so difficult.
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Jesus taught his disciples that the rich people give out of their abundance but the poor woman gave out of her poverty.
- We are called not to give from our abundance but to give to God first, before we spend our money on anything else.
Extended thoughts and observations from Pastor Mark:
Think about this: all of this teaching is taking place IN the temple! The place he cleared out so aggressively on an earlier day. He is surrounded by the people whose commerce he disrupted and the religious leaders whom he is criticizing. Such courage. Do we have the courage to speak out for Christ and right living right in the midst of our “temple”square?
Notice verse 12. The religious rulers were “afraid”of the crowd. Same thing that was said of them verse 32. I wonder how many times they were afraid? Fear is such a corrosive emotion because, at its core, it is faithlessness, isn’t it? Not believing that God is God and that He can really take care of us. I don’t like how often I respond in fear…and this challenges me.
Verse 14-“Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity…” Did ever such true words come from such lying lips? Awful, awful cynicism.
On the other hand, notice that Jesus is STILL able to discern a genuine, learning heart among the religious leaders. Verses 28-34. He asks a sincere question, not a trap, and gets a sincere answer…the Great Commandment of Jesus. Love of God; love of neighbor. Notice, Jesus’words: “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” On the one hand, a lot better than his usual criticism of the Pharisees who were sons of hell! On the other hand, “not far from”is still “not there.” How many do we know who are close… “not far from”…the kingdom…but not there yet? What can we do to help them close that gap?
Finally, the dear widow. This story is one of the great challenges facing us because, frankly, we are as a culture and as a Christian people, lousy givers. We give out of our abundance, as the religious leaders. AND…if we don’t have abundance, God always gets the shaft in our giving. How different would be our souls if we learned to give all that we had to God…financially, first, but how much of the rest of our lives would follow if we could relinquish control of our purse strings. How are you doing in your giving?