Summary: A study of the Gospel of Luke chapter 21 verses 1 through 4
Luke 21: 1 – 4
‘Oh No’, They’re Going To Talk About Money Again
1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
We see that the apostle Peter was moved by this incident and gave his version of what happened to Mark who wrote it down in his Gospel. So, let’s see if he gives us any more information.
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. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 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: 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.
I would suggest that you would go to our last study in chapter 20 to be able to get a good picture of the background which caused our Lord to share this insight.
We find out that Luke connects the behavior of the Scribes which were giving our Lord a hard time. He responded to His disciples and to others listening in that the Scribes were greedy towards widows’ possessions – ‘who devour widow’s houses’. We see here how He will compare this situation with the behavior of a godly widow towards God. Here we see one whose livelihood is swallowed up, but by her own choice because of her trust in God to provide for her.
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury.
In this case, which also connects up with the next passage, our Lord Jesus Is sitting with His disciples in the Temple courtyard not far from a group of trumpet shaped collection boxes placed in the wall of the court of the women for the purpose of receiving contributions? Each box was for a different purpose which was clearly indicated on it. From there the gifts would make their way to the Temple strong room.
He noted how the rich men came along and with a big show ‘cast’ their gifts into the Treasury. This display linked them with the follies of the Scribes. Or it may be that they handed them over so all could see their generosity, making sure that all knew what they were giving. And no doubt many were watching in admiration, including possibly the disciples, who may even have commented on particularly generous gifts.
and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.
It wasn’t just His good eyesight that was able to witness each coin. The Blessed Son of God, our Lord Jesus knew that it was all that she had. And He was moved in His heart by how much she had given.
So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
What He wanted to point out was that while others had given out of their plenty, and would hardly notice the loss of what they had given, this ‘poor widow’ has actually given her whole living. She has cast herself on God. Thus she had given more than all the others put together, for she had given all that she had. Here was one who had done what the rich ruler had failed to do, she had given all that she had to God. Her attitude of ‘giving’ was in direct contrast with the ‘devouring’ of the Scribes.
Now, many of you are wondering what about ‘tithing’? Some people say that our Lord Jesus acknowledged ‘tithing’ so we all need to do likewise. What does this Scripture really say? In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 23, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”