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Mark - Who is Christ?
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to MARK
PART 6 Jesus' Entry Into Jerusalem and His Last Works (Mark 10:46 - 12:44)

11. Jesus Warns Against the Scribes, and Commends the Poor Widow (Mark 12:38-44)

MARK 12:38-44
38 In his teaching he said to them, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk in long robes, and to get greetings in the marketplaces, 39 and the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts: 40 those who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” 41 Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and saw how the multitude cast money into the treasury. Many who were rich cast in much. 42 A poor widow came, and she cast in two small brass coins, which equal a quadrans coin. 43 He called his disciples to himself, and said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, this poor widow gave more than all those who are giving into the treasury, 44 for they all gave out of their abundance, but she, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on.”

Many scholars and writers are conceited. They pretend to be humble, and love to be invited to meetings, and come well-dressed, expecting everybody to greet them with respect, and seat them at the best places at feasts. When they talk, they speak slowly with a smile, and nod in assent to superficial sayings spoken by those who sit beside them. Secretly they work to receive the price of their publicity by taking money from harmless orphans, and widows. Jesus warns us against such forms of hypocrisy; pomp and false affected speech. Paul also teaches us to work with our hands and not live off the gifts of others. Would that you live as an ordinary man, repenting before God, and thanking him for his grace, for then you would touch the souls of others.

Jesus watched the people as they dropped money into the temple treasury. He criticized rich men who dropped in a lot of money, for they had put in what they had to spare from their riches, as if they wished to buy the grace of God with their money.

Then a poor widow, who was probably the breadwinner of her children, came along and cast in only two little coins, which were all she had to live upon for that day, and perhaps a great part of what she had earned by her labor, probably in cleaning houses, the day before. Yet she was motivated in her heart to honor God by her offering, and gave him all she had to live on. Jesus called this the greatest offering of all. Now, how do you sacrifice to God? Do you love God practically and actually? In sacrificing your money, you show your relationship to God tangibly.

Jesus praised the widow’s offering even though it was insignificant, for it had moved his heart, which hallows offering given with expressions of faith and reverence.

One of the mysteries of the kingdom of God is that orphanages, hospitals, church services, and missionary works are supported by regular offerings of poor believers. These offerings please God, and produce plentiful blessings, for the blessing of the offering is more essential than the amount itself. We suggest that you should give your money regularly, as much as possible, not only meaning to offer uprightly and sincerely, but also to sacrifice practically and often, for the mere thinking of giving and offering is not sufficient. Ask the Lord to show you the needy man, or the spiritual service you are qualified to participate in. Pray for the purpose of your offerings, for they are a part of your worship to God.

PRAYER: O heavenly Father, forgive our greed and meanness, and indifference to others’ troubles. Change our stony heart, and replace it with the spirit of sacrifice that we may give up ourselves and our money thankfully to you because of your salvation. Show us the man who is in need of our help. Make us partners in missionary and charitable campaigns which are in harmony with the coming of your kingdom. Awaken the spirit of giving, instead of the thought of taking, in our churches, that your fatherly name may be hallowed. It is of your fullness that we have all freely received, and grace for grace. Amen.


  1. What did Jesus think of the offerings of people?

A verse to memorize:
“For they all put in out of their abundance,
but she out of her poverty put in all that she had,
her whole livelihood.”

(Mark 12:44)


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