Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Mark 12:35-44

“And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?  For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.  David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.” (Mark 12:35-37)

The Pharisees and the Sadducees had challenged with loaded questions in an attempt ot discredit him.  He had re4sponded calmly and clearly, answering the questions in a way they could not twist his meaning to accuse him of anything.  Now he poses a question for them.  It was not an attack on them, but rather a question designed to make them think about their position.   While the attacks on Jesus were very similar to the attacks on Donald Trump, Jesus took a completely different approach to addressing those attacks than does Mr. Trump. 

Jesus asked, if the Messiah was to be a future descendant of David’s, how could David refer to him as his Lord? After all, David had died about four hundred years before  Isaiah made his prophecies about the Messiah, and seven hundred years later Israel was still waiting on Isaiah’s prophecies to be fulfilled.  How could he be David’s Lord?

“And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.” (Mark 12:38-40)

Jesus then warned the people to be aware of the scribes, the highly educated religious leaders, who made a big point of dressing in a way that called attention to their religion and made a point of developing contacts in the business world, constantly seeking publicity.  They deliberately used their religious positions to gain control of poorer peoples assets, while making a big religious show.  They were like many evangelists and pastors, who get people to give their homes and property to support their lavish lifestyle.  They make a special effort to attract public attention and curry political and business relationships, often holding large well publicized conferences for various purposes.    Jesus warned that in eternity these kinds of religious leaders will be judged even more severely than those who were not religious, because they have used religion to mislead and take advantage of people.   

“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.” (Mark 12:41-44)

II Kings 12:9 describes how offerings were collected in the Temple.  “But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the LORD: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the LORD.”  as people went into the Temple to worship they dropped their money into the offering box or gave it to one of the ushers to drop in. 

Jesus noticed that some gave huge amounts of money and received considerable attention for their gifts, while those who gave smaller amounts went unnoticed.   Jesus pointed out that in reality, many times those who gave the smallest gifts were in reality giving more than those who gave most, because they were giving all they had.  Unfortunately people still focus on the size of the offerings rather than the person’s commitment today. 

A religious organization had several thousand small and medium sized churches which supported it, but over time they began to focus on the wishes of the larger churches that were able to give larger amounts.  Over the years they have lost most of those small supporting churches, and in the last few years, a single large donor has been allowed to override decisions made by the entire group,  When that happened, almost half of the remaining  churches that had been supporting them withdrew, feeling their contributions were no longer appreciated.   Because so many have withdrawn, the big donor is no longer willing to contribute as much, and the organization is having financial difficulties, and appears to be trying to merge with a larger organization.   It has happened because they have forgotten what Jesus was teaching his disciples in this passage.   The person who gives the biggest amount is not always the most dedicated.   Think about what you are doing and what you believe.  

No comments:

Post a Comment