Context is King
Luke 21:1-6– June 5, 2022
Luke 21:1.1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.
Luke 21:2. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.
Luke 21:3-4. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
What are we to make of these four verses? Should I present you with a message on sacrificial giving? Or perhaps on the righteousness of the widow’s giving?
Before we get to that, let’s consider the setting. It is Passion week and at the end of the week, on Friday, Jesus will be crucified. He has only a few more days to live before He is crucified.
In fact, chapter 20 closes with Him denouncing them in v45-47 when He directly addresses His disciples. He denounces them!
If we skip the first four verses in chapter 21 and go directly to verses 5-6, we see the denouncing continuing as He as now continuing on with judgment.
Starting with v5 of chapter 21 we have we have a long message of judgment that will reach its climax in 70 A.D., 40 years later, with the pulling down of the temple, and with the city destroyed and the nation of Israel also destroyed.
But let’s stay in Luke. Between the warning in 20:46-47 and the judgment that really begins in 21:56, we have the short story of giving by a widow, a poor widow giving her only two coins at the temple.
Question. What does this have to do with anything? Why is this story there? Why are we given this example of a poor widow making an offering at the temple?
Again, why are these four verses here? What are they actually about?
While many think Jesus is pleased with the poor widow’s giving, but it is more likely that her giving angers Him. Not at her, but at the wicked religious system that has her giving her last two coins and then going home. It is an example of why the condemnation of this wicked religious system that will be destroyed, totally destroyed.
Look at v5, His disciples’ comment upon the temple completely ignoring what Jesus said or seeing it as so commonplace it can be ignored. But Jesus replies to them with His judgment in v6.
Let me ask you, what would you think and feel if you saw a poor destitute Christian giving the last of their money to a religious institution? A religious institution or ministry that encourages such?
Sadly, today we have evangelists doing the same thing. Give me your money and God will multiply it back to you. They call it such giving, seed giving or seed faith.
But then and now, God does not want widows to be destitute, but the Pharisees did not care. Jesus gives us an example of their lack of caring contrary to God’s law first in Matthew 15:2-7 & 8-9. And again in Mark 7:8-13. The religious system in Judaism was set up to abuse the poor while the treasuries would overflow with riches.
You know if we look at Luke 20:46-47, we are only looking at a summary of His teaching which is found in Matthew 23 where He continually denounces the Pharisees with woe after woe after woe. Then Jesus sums it all up in v37-38 and 39. At the end of all this He was looking down and Mark tells us He was sitting down.
Let’s return to 20:47, they devour widow’s houses/homes. They build their wealth on the backs of widows.
Scripture is full of commands and instructions for people of God to take care of widows. There are over 20 occurrences you can look up. So, what does Jesus see looking at those giving to the treasury? Abuse of widows taking place in the temple of God in the name of God.
If you thought Jesus was angry at the money changers, that was nothing compared to what I believe His anger was her and now. And that is why He pronounced such judgment upon the temple and Jerusalem and the nation.
Context tells us this.