Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Luke: Jesus, The Son Of Man For All Mankind
Part LXXV: Christ's Identity As God's Savior Seen In His Evaluation Of Contrasting Givers
(Luke 20:46-21:4)
  1. Introduction
    1. If Jesus is the true God's true Savior of the world, we should expect His evaluation of the heart and the deeds of man to be perfect, to be without sin and partiality.
    2. In the context, His evaluation of the giving of the widow versus the rich men reveals such an evaluation, and the lessons from it are applicable to us today (as follows):
  2. Christ's Identity As God's Savior Seen In His Evaluation Of Contrasting Givers, Luke 20:46-21:4.
    1. Luke's Gospel presents Jesus' critique of Israel's leaders for "devouring widows' houses" in Luke 20:47 just before presenting His evaluation of the giving contrast between the rich men who typically did such things, and a widow who may have experienced such abuse to lead to her impoverishment, Luke 21:1-2.
    2. Accordingly, we note the connection between these two events, and how it displays the perfect evaluation Jesus gave of the givers involved in Luke 21:1-4 as follows:
      1. Right after denouncing the rich scribes who, among other evils, took financial advantage of legally defenseless widows (Luke 20:46-47), Jesus viewed how such abusive rich men were giving of their wealth into the temple treasury (Luke 21:1) in contrast to a poor widow who gave two mites, 1/96th of a day's wage, comparable to about $1.05 in our money today, Luke 21:2; G. Campbell Morgan, The Gospel According To Luke, 1931, p. 234; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Matthew 20:2.
      2. Now, these rich men for the most part were often guilty of having acquired gain from other people by way of oppression, leaving the spiritual quality of their gifts to God very low.
      3. In contrast, a widow, possibly ashamed to be seen beside the "big" givers, apparently held herself back from the offering container until after the rich had left before stopping to cast in her meager, humble two mites, Luke 21:2. (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. ii, p. 388)
      4. We are told by Edersheim that this was the smallest amount the Jewish leaders allowed to be given in a single offering, Ibid.! Perhaps they thought that anything less was disrespectful to God.
      5. Nevertheless, this was all the impoverished widow had for her bios, that is, for her "living," Ibid., Luke 21:4b. She had made a choice between using the money for another meal and giving what she could give to God, and, since her nation's leaders did not allow her to give anything less than two mites at a time, she had not spent even one of them for another morsel of food, but had given it all to the Lord!
      6. Weighing the circumstances that had left this woman with only these two mites, circumstances perhaps caused by unjust oppression by the rich rulers versus their superfluous gifts of ill-gotten gain, and recalling she was suffering from ongoing emotional trauma from the loss of her husband, Jesus noted that she had given more than all of the rich givers combined, Luke 21:3; Ibid., Morgan, p. 235.
      7. She had made a decision to look (a) beyond what unjust oppression had led to her poverty, (b) beyond the grief she still suffered over the loss of her husband, (c) beyond the humiliation of being seen in her poverty as a giver versus the rich so as to hold herself back, (d) beyond the legalistic rule that called her to give not one, but both of her last two mites if she was to give at all, and she had (e) given it all. To this great deed, Jesus explained she had given more than all of the rich givers together, Luke 21:3-4.
      8. Edersheim sensitively notes that Jesus did not speak a word of encouragement to this widow, for "her reward was in heaven. She knew not that any had seen it -- for the knowledge of eyes turned on her, even His, would have flushed with shame the pure cheek of her love; and any word, conscious notice, or promise would have marred and turned aside the rising incense of her sacrifice." Ibid., Edersheim.
Lesson: Considering all of the factors involved in the giving of the poor widow and the rich men, Jesus ACCURATELY, JUSTLY saw her gift as being more abundant than all of their offerings combined!

Application: (1) May we believe Jesus is God's true Son by His perfect judgment. (2) May we like that widow rise above what wrongs and pains we have suffered to keep functioning for God's kingdom! (3) May we like Jesus stay sensitive to the hardships of other oppressed folk, and minister accordingly!