Summary: Placing the coins in the offering, was a greatest act of faith Jesus had seen all day, for what she gave was her total trust to God.
Note: This was preached on Ash Wednesday, but the content is good anytime of the year. The first two sections support the final section about the poor widow and call for a recommitment to Jesus. God bless.
What is it that God is looking for in our lives? When God sits back and looks at our day to day lives what pleases Him?
Here in this Scripture from Mark we see Jesus telling us that our expectations of the kingdom of God are too small. We are in danger of becoming so preoccupied with small benefits from our walk with Christ that we miss what God is really looking for in our lives, and we miss it because we are afraid to full depend upon God alone.
Here on Ash Wednesday, as we start the season of lent, we have the opportunity for reflection on how we are living our Christian lives, but also an opportunity to change who we are.
In our Scripture this evening Jesus starts by pointing out again that the messianic expectation of the people was too small. They had great faith in the fact that the prophecy would be fulfilled that the Christ would come through the line of King David, and He the messiah, would save them – that does take faith to believe and hold on, especially when, all signs around them say otherwise – to believe that a delivery from injustice is just around the corner, that takes quite a faith. There is no doubt that the people had a strong faith in the coming of the messiah, still, they missed what God was looking for in their lives.
In verses 35 –37 Jesus questions this whole national hope, He questions an interpretation that was a solid assumption with pretty much everyone – The Christ will be an son of David, meaning, from the line of David. Jesus does not deny this, but raises a question regarding its proper meaning. We should understand it like this: What do the scribes mean when they say the messiah is the son of David – what Jesus is getting at here is Lordship. This is why He quotes Psalm 110:1, and points to the fact that the Christ is Lord over David, so how can he be David’s son?
Here Jesus asks a Haggada question. a Haggada question is a question where a rabbi takes two texts which are true on their own, but when placed next to each other, they seem contradictory. Usually the unity of biblical texts was stressed by noting their harmony, but Jesus, He takes two affirmations that are concerned with different situations and He places them side by side for a greater truth. These two Scriptures alone are true, but when brought together, appear to conflict…..Jesus is pointing out, using the Haggada question, that though they look contradictory they are not – because He, Jesus, is the answer that ties them together. Jesus is from the line of David, and Jesus is the Lord God.
These two scriptures: The Christ is the son of David, the Christ is the Lord of David, though true are only part of the picture – together they show the true meaning of the Messiah.
Jesus teaches the people this as a set up for the next two sections. In the next two sections people see a truth, but not the whole truth, and miss out on what God is looking for in their lives.
Jesus first example here is the Scribes. To Jesus, these men have thrown away a great chance to know God. The Scribes were men who were given the luxury of preoccupation with the Law. Because of their single minded study of the law it should have been clear to them that God alone is to receive the praise of men – but in fact, the Scribes don’t turn away praise offered them, they seek it out.
A scribe was distinguished by his linen robe, it had a long white mantle that reached all the way to his feet and had a long fringe along it. White linen clothes were regarded as a mark of distinction, so those who wished to parade their position, wore white. With this white they would be noticed and stand out in a crowd.
The Scribes were venerated by the majority of the people with great respect and awe. People would stop what they were doing and rise in respect as a scribe would walk by. This was an expectation of the population, only tradesmen were exempt. Their words were considered to posses sovereign authority. These men had a position that demanded great respect. Scribes were greeted with the deepest respect: Rabbi, Father, Master.
When one of the important men of Jerusalem gave a feast, they considered having a scribe in attendance as ornament to the feast. The highest places of honor were assigned to the Scribes. They were given precedence over age and even parents. They would be walked past all guests and be given the seat of honor at the table. In the synagogues the seat of honor was reserved for them too. What is Jesus so upset about? Jesus condemns them for their seeking of token status. They were to point people to God, but in practice they pointed people to themselves.