A Mighty Mite!

Widow’s Mite at time of Christ

Mark 12:41-44 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

A Little Technical Information To Start 🙂

That which I gave you this morning is a reproduction of what we today call a “widow’s mite”. The “widow” in our scripture would have dropped two of these into one of thirteen “chests” or “trumpets” found in the Temple. The Jewish commentary Mishnah Shekalim (6:5) notes, “There were thirteen chests in the Temple, and on each of them was inscribed …”. Each chest or trumpet was labeled with the name of the fund it was supporting. One of the funds that people gave to as a widow’s and orphan’s fund.

Word Study: A little technical details on the reproduction I gave. I had to give you reproductions because the genuine “widow’s mite” – which can still be bought online – can cost anywhere from 40 to 400$ apiece because of collector demand! The “widow’s mite” I gave you has an anchor on one side, and the points of a star on the other. The actual name of these coins is lepta(singular = lepton). Lepta were the lowest denomination of coin that circulated in Jerusalem when Jesus walked the earth. Two lepta [KJV “mites”] were equivalent to one quadrans [KJV “farthing] (Greek κοδράντης kodrántēs, [pronounced kod-ran’-tace]), the smallest Roman coin. The quadrans was worth 3/8 of a cent. The widow gave less than a penny to the collection at the Temple.

Word Study: As Jesus watched people putting money into the various chests, He saw a poor widow come into the Court of Women. It was obvious that she was poor by the state of her clothing. Jesus calls the woman πτωχός ptōchós, {pronounced pto-khos’}, a “pauper” or “like a beggar”. The others wore either fine clothing, or better than average clothing. This woman’s raiment was worn. When Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount, He said:

Luke 6:20 … Blessed be ye poor {ptōchós}: for yours is the kingdom of God.

This Unnamed Widow Was A Genuine Believer:
She Loved The Lord!

As Jesus saw this poor widow head toward a chest, He called His disciples to Him. Jesus often made teaching points from things that were going on around Him. Jesus pointed to the widow, and told His disciples:

Mark 12:43-44 … Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living

Word Study: This woman cast in all that she had, even all her living. The word translated living is the Greek βίος bíos, {pronounced bee’-os}, which means “that by which life is sustained”. She gave all she had. This woman literally put her life on the line. She had no more funds, nothing else of note. And yet, she cast all in.

This woman put her life on the line, because her heart was filled with love for her God.

Jesus noted that. Jesus was watching. The woman did not know that Jesus was watching, but Jesus is always watching over His people. Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. Jesus said:

John 10:11 I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

The Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. The Good Shepherd is not an employee, a hireling. The Good Shepherd watches over His sheep, His charges, because He loves His sheep. The Good Shepherd is always watching His sheep. And the Good Shepherd has a relationship with His sheep. Jesus said:

John 10:27-28 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

The Sheep of God know that – even if they cannot see Him – the Shepherd is near. Jesus is a Good Shepherd. He is not here one day, then gone the next. Jesus was watching the treasury in the Court of Women because He was watching for His sheep. He wanted to show His disciples – and US – what the Sheep of God do. This woman gave her all to God. She had little by the standards of those who were in the Temple that day. As people walked around her, they dropped hand-fulls of coins into the trumpets. Some fed their money into the trumpets – the collection plates – one coin by one, pausing for effect between each drop. CLINK …… CLINK …… CLINK….. CLINK. Those who were giving with such animation were well off. They had much money, and gave much money to the Temple.

But in reality, it cost them nothing! Jesus said:

Mark 12:44 … For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living

They cast in of their abundance. They are to be commended for their tithing, for this is a good thing. The tithe will go to help those in need. But their tithe cost them little to nothing. But she, the Sheep of God, gave all that she had. It cost her everything. Jesus recognized this, an applauded her faith. She gave her all because she knew she belonged to God.

Matthew 6:25-33 (ESV) … do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

This widow was not worried about her life. She loved the Lord. Many can recite that beautiful Psalm of David, Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

This woman LIVED her faith. She knew that God was watching over her. Not one hair of your head will fall to the ground, but that Jesus sees it (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7).

Are You Religious, Or In A Relationship With Jesus?

God the Son does not want you religious. He wants you in a relationship with Him. In this same chapter we read an encounter between Jesus and a Scribe. The Scribes worked closely with the priests and the Temple, as the Scribes were not only copiers of the Scripture, but experts in Biblical Law. A Scribe comes to Jesus at the end of a conversation He had with the Sadducees.

Mark 12:28-30 … one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Word Study: The Scribe asked Jesus Which is the first commandment of all?. The word translated first is the Greek πρῶτος prōtos, {pronounced pro’-tos}, which means “the foremost or greatest and most important”. The Scribe was asking Jesus – in essence – “what is the primary or foundational commandment of God on which all other commandments are based”. Jesus knew what the Scribe was asking. Jesus replied, The Lord our God is one Lord, that is, there is NO OTHER GOD BUT THAT OF THE SCRIPTURE. All others are imitators, false, liars and thieves. If the God of the Scripture is YOUR God, then you are to love Him with all. God wants all of your heart. You may love…

your spouse,
your children,
your parents,
your friends,

but your love for them must be SECONDARY to your love for God. Christianity is a loving relationship through Jesus Christ to God. Your love for God will be the sun and the sum of your life. This is the prōtos.

Christian faith is not a lease – you have to own it. Does God own your heart, or is your Christianity leased?

Illustrate: A surgeon was briefing a little boy and his family on what he intended to do. He said, “Tomorrow morning, I’m going to open up your heart …”. The little boy interrupted. He said, “You’ll find Jesus there”. The surgeon looked at the parents, but they said nothing. A little annoyed, the surgeon said, “Son, I’m sure when I look in your heart, I’ll find damaged muscle and weakened vessels. But I intend to fix that, and make you well.” The child said, “You’ll find Jesus there, too. He lives in my heart.” The surgeon left. The next day, following the surgery the surgeon sat quietly in his office. The child had a damaged aorta, widespread degeneration. It was so bad there was no hope for a transplant. The prognosis was bleak. The child had little time to live. The surgeon bowed his head, and prayed. “Why God. Why did You do this? Why did You allow this?”. The Lord answered him. “That boy is my little Lamb. He was not meant for your flock very long. He’s a part of My flock, and will soon forever be with Me. His parents are also of My flock, and will one day be united with him in My glorious Heaven. This child did what he was supposed to do. I brought him into this world to retrieve another lost person – YOU.” The surgeon wept. Later as he sat with the boy and his parents, the little boy asked, “Did you cut open my heart?” The surgeon said, “Yes, son, I did”. The little boy asked, “What did you find?” The surgeon, with a smile on his face, said “I found Jesus there”.

The widow loved God with her all though she suffered poverty. The little boy loved Jesus with all his heart though he suffered sickness. Love for God will lead to the second commandment:

Mark 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Until God in Christ possesses your heart, your other relationships will; be but cheap imitations of God’s best. The Scribe, hearing Jesus, replies:

Mark 12:32-33 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: 33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

The Pharisees and Scribes believed that the rituals of the Law, burnt offerings and sacrifices, were the most important thing to God. They aren’t. The Prophet Samuel told King Saul:

1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV) Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.

You enter the Kingdom of God by falling in love with Jesus. You enter the Kingdom of God by allowing Jesus to possess your heart and guide your life.

Mark 12:38-40 And {Jesus} said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, 39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: 40 Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.

The Scribes leased their faith for celebrity, for affirmation, for profit. Do not lease your faith!

The Scribes are like many religious people today. They dress up in long clothing. They wear doctoral robes. They love salutations in the marketplaces. They love to be called “Doctor”, and introduced to others as “The Immanent ___”. They want to be in the “Amen Corner” in the local Church, and in the best seats at the feasts. They for a pretense make long prayers. It is all smoke and mirrors. Pastor Greg Morse wrote:

If an old-time preacher, one who believed in uncomfortable realities like the wrath of God … rode his horse through some of the streets of American Christianity, what might he experience? … Sounding the alarm as Paul Revere, this watchman might gallop down our paved roads yelling,

Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming! Make way for the King! Repent and believe! Stay awake! Keep the faith! Only those who endure to the end will be saved! Put the flesh to death by the Spirit! Obey Him! Finish the race! Look to Jesus! Trust Him for His grace! He is coming to judge the world in righteousness!’

to his amazement, some voices would shoot back … “We have heard of your kind before … more emphasis on our works than Christ’s. Listen here, Christ lived a perfect life for me and died in my place. I have failed, will fail, and often fail – but Christ, sir, Christ such a life in my place, I refuse to return to the law. I am gospel-centered, you see!’

Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. Once saved,
your God will possess your heart and your life.

1 Peter 2:24-25 (ESV) {Jesus} himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Like the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day, we were straying from God. We were walking about “DEAD in TRESPASSES and SINS” (Ephesians 2:1,5). But born again by faith in Christ Jesus, Jesus now occupies our hearts. We love the Lord with all. We love our neighbor as ourselves. The lost do neither.

Mark 12:40 … {Beware of the scribes} … Which devour widows’ houses,

Word Study: The word translated devour is the Greek κατεσθίω katesthíō, {pronounced kat-es-thee’-o}, which means “to gobble up, devour”. If you pretend to love God, you will not love your neighbor. This is not the first time Jesus called out Scribes and Pharisees for “devouring or gobbling up widow’s houses” (see Matthew 23:14; Luke 20:47). Under God’s Law, He told those who were believing landowners:

Deuteronomy 24:19-21 (ESV) When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.

Those who suffered, like a sharecropper’s widow, was not to be thrown out of her home because her husband died. God told His people to leave a sheaf in the field, to allow those who were poor to enjoy the second harvest of the olive trees and of the grapes of your vineyard. When a field was reaped, the corners of the field were to be left untouched for the poor. God did two things by this.

Preach This: If you love the Lord your God with all your heart, you love your neighbor, too. And loving your neighbor did not mean giving a handout, but a hand up. The stranger, the orphan, the widow were to go out and put a little labor in gathering that which was left in the field or on the tree. In this way, all learned RESPONSIBILITY.

Religion Destroyed The Temple, And Religion Will Destroy The Church

After commending the widow, we read:

Mark 13:1-2 And as {Jesus} went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! 2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

In America today many mega-Churches, rega-Churches, and little Churches are falling apart. A number of “celebrity” Christians (like Kevin Max from the group DC Talk and Joshua Harris who wrote “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” or the late Ravi Zacharias) have become “deconverted”, or have said that they are “deconstructing their faith”. In reality, they are proving what the Scripture told us about false believers. The Apostle John wrote:

1 John 2:19-20 (ESV) … They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One…

As the disciples left the Temple, a beautiful structure that was built by King Herod, they remarked on it’s fine construction. Jesus told them there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. The Roman Empire would lay siege to the city of Jerusalem in April 14, 70 A.D., three days prior to the beginning of Passover. The Temple would be destroyed by Rome in August, 70 A.D.

I often wonder what happened to that poor widow that Jesus commended. Though her destiny is not revealed in Scripture, I know that my God is faithful. As a Good Shepherd, Jesus tended to her needs, and she rests in glory with Him in eternity.

I believe that God is separating the wheat from the tares in America today. If we deny Jesus, Jesus will deny us (2 Timothy 2:12). If we sow corruption, we reap corruption (Galatians 6:7-8). Those who are Christ’s sheep will, as Hebrews 3:12-14 notes, “share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end”. The Bible is very clear. Eternal life is certain for those with overcoming faith (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12, 21). Genuine faith in Christ causes a person to fall in love with God. We love God with our ALL. And God indwells us, gently guiding the believer through the valleys of this life. Genuine faith is not here today, and gone tomorrow. The Christian delights to do God’s will. The Christian loves to worship God with other saints. Do you love Jesus? Do you know Him? Oh, I pray that you do! Run into Jesus’ arms this very day. Do not delay! Trust Him, and commit to loving Him with your all. May God the Holy Spirit convict you this very day!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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