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Heart Message About Jesus and Giving
On Jesus’ last and final visit to Jerusalem He came and sat down in the Temple treasury which was located in the spacious Court of the Women. He appeared very calm when He deliberately sat down and gave notice to the passing crowd as they cast their bronze coins into the trumpet shaped collection boxes of the treasury. He made a very discriminating observation, many wealthy people cast in much, but there came one poor peasant woman who was a widow, she had cast two mites, the smallest of copper coins (less than two was not considered an offering), Jesus’ heart was deeply moved by her contribution. He called His disciples to Him and said:
"Truly Truly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood." (Mark 12)
Her gift was not valued by how much was given in measure, but how much she had saved for herself.
But what is also interesting is the person of Jesus. Lets pause for a moment and reflect what had been happening for the past couple of hours and also what would be happening to Him very soon, which He was well aware of.
Jesus had just uttered a hailstorm of seven woes upon the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem, the Scribes and the Pharisees. He blisteringly warned the people against their vanity, their selfishness, their blindness and their hypocrisy. He called them blind guides and "play actors" who hid behind a mask, haters of God and sons of hell, who were slamming the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in the face of men.
He said all this while standing by the altar, in the very place where the last Jewish prophet Zachariah had been slain by the leaders of Jerusalem. There was a Jewish legend that said that the blood of Zachariah had bubbled on the pavement of the Temple court, the very place that Abel, the first martyr in the Bible, had been slain by his brother Cain. Jesus had just accused the Jewish leaders and said that the murder of Abel and of Zachariah and of every martyr of God in between would be charged against them and their generation, because they were not only guilty of slaying all the prophets but in a few hours they would slay the Son of God. Jesus uttered their doom:
Luke 19:41-44 "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."
Jesus, their Messiah finished His terrifying indictment with a broken-hearted lamentation over the beloved city:
Matt 23:37-39 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'"
The beloved city and the awesome Temple would soon be places of desolation. How fearfully the prophecy of this destruction was fulfilled. In 70 A.D. The Roman legions of the Emperor Titus utterly destroyed the city and her glorious Temple in a few short years. Over 1 million Jews perished in the siege in just a few days and over 100,000 were taken away into captivity.
It was just after Jesus finished speaking this that He left the upper courts of the Temple for the last time and exited through the Nicanor Gate and descended the 15 semi-circular steps into the Court of the Women and took a seat in the treasury where He saw the old widow casting her two copper coins into the charitable gift collection box. With those who were seeking His death just a few paces away He was of a calm spirit and peacefully took notice of this little old woman who would forever etch the message into our hearts that the very essence of true charity is self denial.