In editing a chapter in Volume 3 (surely it will be even better than Volumes 1 and 2?) I looked up the references that I was alluding to. I was referencing the widow who put her last couple of pence in the offering. I had written:
Perhaps, in Scripture, the widow who put her small contribution into the Temple treasury made a much bigger contribution than she realised. Did her sacrifice accelerate the coming to an end of such a magnificent and impressive structure?
The chapter I was editing is on how small acts being the catalyst for change, suggesting that although there are times when there are believers who shape the future and are appointed to the realm of the high and mighty (Daniel), that the movement of the ekklesia is a subversive movement, many times unseen and unrecognised. So in tidying the chapter up I thought I would go read the text (never a bad idea!). Here’s what I noticed.
The end of Luke 20 is a rebuke on the religious hierarchy. Jesus’ strongest rebukes were always reserved for those people for they were not releasing the human agency of God to serve their purpose but were in fact using them to serve their own ends, and in the process they,
devour widow’s houses (Luke 20: 47).
In the name of religion they exploit and impoverish those that the law said were to be protected. In the next chapter the opening verses that immediately follow this exposure of what is going on is the story of the widow depositing her last coins in the temple offering:
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).
They devour widows’ houses, as Jesus looked up he saw… Then the disciples saw how wonderful the Temple was, how magnificient (Luke 21:5). Jesus provoked them to look to what was going to happen within a few years:
As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down (Luke 21:6).
Religion, those at the top… a widow exploited and at the bottom… acting with integrity… her offering was far beyond what anyone else put in to protect and beautify the structure yet even more… she did something of eternal value… what was temporal now had a sell by date stamped on it.