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.…
This is one of the best-known incidents in the life of our Lord. It is strange that it should be so. If we consider the greatness of his work, we should hardly expect that room would be found in a brief record of it for so trivial an event. It was an every-day occurrence for the worshippers who entered the temple to cast their offerings into the treasury, and not a few widows would be found among them. Yet an evangelist, who was inspired of God to select or reject any of the multitudinous facts of Christ's ministry, did not leave untold the story of the widow's mite; and it is repeated with equal emphasis by Luke. Evidently God judges not as man does. We think much of a philanthropic scheme which loudly asserts itself; but he probably estimates more highly the scheme of some obscure Christian worker, who gathers together the poor and wretched, telling them of a nobler, purer life, and lifting them up towards the light of God's love. In trivial incidents great principles are found, and we should dig in them as for hid treasure. Our Lord Jesus Christ is naturally the Centre of this scene, and we will see what we may of his characteristics as exhibited in it.
I. THE GENTLENESS OF CHRIST. For the last time our Lord had appeared in the temple as a public Teacher. Before crowds of people he had once more strongly denounced the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. They were convicted by their own consciences, and incapable of reply, so "they answered not a word;" but, in their desperation and malignity, they resolved the more speedily to put him to death. Be knew it perfectly welt. Yet, after speaking as the righteous Rebuker of sin, he gladly turns aside to discover and commend a hidden act of goodness. Indeed, he seemed eager to see something which would redeem his Father's house from the wickedness which dishonored it. Hence "he sat over against the treasury," and watched tilt he saw one worshipper whose sacrifice he could rejoice over - that of a poor widow, who cast in all the living that she had. That act of hers came to him like a streak of sunshine through the clouds. How tenderly and patiently does he still watch for any glimmer of faith and love in human hearts!
II. THE SERENITY OF CHRIST. His calmness was like the blue of the heavens, unruffled and unchanged by storms that stir the lower atmosphere. An ordinary man, after uttering a rebuke which enraged his foes to madness, would put himself out of reach. He would not linger in their stronghold, which was full of perils to him. But in patience Jesus Christ possessed his soul. He knew his hour had not yet come. He would not hasten away. It might be that some of his hearers would repent, and come to him, confessing and forsaking their sins. So, while many passed him whose beetling brows were black with hatred, he in the court of the women quietly sat and waited. Such serenity was habitual with him. When there was haste and agony and terror in Bethany, Jesus abode throe days in the same place where he was. When the warning came, "Depart hence, for Herod will kill thee," he calmly continued his works of mercy. When the armed band followed him into Gethsemane, he confronted them with a calmness that paralyzed them. When he conquered death and rose from the grave, there was no sign of haste - the linen clothes were laid orderly, and the napkin was folded in a place by itself. Too often our hearts are perturbed. We are fussy, anxious, fretful; but. if we will but receive it, this is his legacy: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
III. THE CONDESCENSION OF CHRIST. Our Lord was full of great thoughts, not only respecting this world, but that other world from which he came, with its vivid realities and awful mysteries. He looked on to the future of the work he had begun, and which in a few days would be consummated on the cross - a work which would, not only stir Jerusalem, but shake the Roman empire, and go onward through distant ages with growing force, till all nations would call him blessed. Yet here he was, watching a few Jewish worshippers go into their temple; and he notices each one. He sees even this poor widow, whom others brush past with haste or contempt. He knows her struggle and sacrifice and single-heartedness, as she brings that tiny offering, with a blush of shame that it is so little, and secretly lets it fall into the treasury of her God. His condescension is still displayed to the meanest and the humblest worshippers, and broken words, paltry gifts, and feeble efforts will not be without his notice and recompense. May he see, in all Christian assemblies, not the outward formalism which he must rebuke, but prayer and praise, gift and work, which loyal hearts are offering to the Lord their God! - A.R.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.