The Widow’s Offering
In the last chapter, we saw the Chief Priests send spies to Jesus to question him about paying taxes to Caesar but they themselves collected taxes for the temple. In the temple at Jerusalem, there were seven boxes for temple tax offerings and six for freewill offerings. The temple tax was a compulsory offering which even Jesus had to pay. (Matthew 17:24-27). This incident probably refers to the latter offering box.
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” – Luke 21:1-4
Jesus sat near one of the offering boxes and observed how people of different strata put their gifts into the box but it was the poor widow whose gift caught Jesus’ attention and he used this example to teach us all something. Jesus claimed that the poor widow had put in more than any of the wealthy donors as she had given out of her poverty. Jesus is commending the poor widow for giving her everything when she had nothing.
Do we give to God out of our excess? Be it our offerings or our time, do we give God after taking care of all our needs? Often times we think of doing something during our free time, like going to Church on Sundays, but do we place God and his works at the center of our lives or is He just an afterthought in our plans that we want to get to only during the weekend.
Signs of the End Times
This was perhaps the first time for many of the disciples to get a chance to see the magnificent temple. While they were appreciating the architectural marvel, Jesus foretold the destruction of the very same temple that Israelites held so dearly in their hearts.
“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” – Luke 21:7
Jesus warned his disciples to not get conned by impostors who will come pretending to be Christ and also, to not be afraid when they see the natural and man-made disasters that will occur all over the world. But before all that will happen, Jesus told his disciples about the impending persecution that was about to fall on them. They will be arrested and brought before kings and governors. Filled with the Holy Spirit they will testify and bear witness to the wondrous works of Christ.
For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life. – Luke 21:15-19
We will be betrayed even by our loved ones and everyone will hate our stand that we have taken for God but God will never leave us.
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” – Luke 21:25-28
Like one can tell that summer has arrived by looking at the leaves of a tree, similarly, when these things happen it is a sign for us that the kingdom of God is near. So we must not be anxious regarding the uncertainties of life, rather, pray for the grace of God to help us withstand all our problems as well as the signs of the end times.
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. – Luke 21:36
Jesus spent his last days on the earth teaching in the temple and at night he prayed on the mount of Olives. Everyone came early in the morning to the temple to hear his words.