While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”‘ David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight. As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
After reading this familiar passage of Mark’s Gospel, we are drawn to Jesus’ encounter with the scribes and ultimately to Jesus’ observance of the widow and the sacrificial offering she gave at the Temple. Our attention on the scribes is heightened as it comes to us with an emphatic emphasis and direction to “beware.” We become keenly aware of the widow within this reading as Jesus lifts her out of the crowd and separates her witness above everyone by stating, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.” Jesus’ encounter with the scribes and the lesson lifted from his observation of the widow are both highlighted by the fact that Jesus was teaching in the temple and the large crowd was listening to him with delight.
Very early in Jesus’ ministry, Jesus invited the disciples to take his yoke upon them and “learn” of him. Dr. Cater G. Woodson once stated, “The mere imparting of information is not education.” A portion of the crowd listening to Jesus had no desire to learn from Jesus. We can read this passage, pick up our Bibles everyday and conclude the teaching of Jesus is just information. There is great wisdom in these moments as Jesus’ teaching has the power to transform how we see ourselves, the way we treat others and our sacrificial giving. In the closing days of the Lenten Season, let us be the witnesses that have truly learned and been transformed by Jesus’ teaching.
Good morning, Lord! Today’s a new day, a chance for a new start. Yesterday is gone and with it any regrets, mistakes, or failures I may have experienced. It’s a good day to be glad and give thanks, and I do, Lord. Thank you for today, a new opportunity to love, give, and be all that you want me to be. Amen. (Rebecca Barlow Jordan)