Abundance versus necessities (Lk 21:4-21:4)

“All of them

Have contributed

Out of their abundance.

But she has contributed

Out of her poverty.

She has put in

All that she had

To live on.”

 

πάντες γὰρ οὗτοι ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον εἰς τὰ δῶρα, αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος αὐτῆς πάντα τὸν βίον ὃν εἶχεν ἔβαλεν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that all of them had contributed their gifts out of their abundance (πάντες γὰρ οὗτοι ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον εἰς τὰ δῶρα).  However, she had contributed out of her poverty (αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος αὐτῆς).  She put in all that she had to live on (πάντα τὸν βίον ὃν εἶχεν ἔβαλεν).  Thus, she would be destitute.  Only Mark, chapter 12:44, had something similar, while Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark said that Jesus explained how this poor widow had given more than others, since it was not numerically correct.  All of the other rich people had contributed out of their abundance or overflowing wealth (πάντες γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον).  However, she had contributed out of her poverty (αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τῆς ὑστερήσεως αὐτῆς).  She put into the Temple treasury everything that she had to live on (πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν ἔβαλεν), her whole livelihood (ὅλον τὸν βίον αὐτῆς).  This was a strange explanation.  This widow became destitute by contributing to the Temple treasury.  Was that a good idea?  Someone should have advised her to keep her money.  Was this a false sense of generosity?  Was this part of the idea of giving up everything for Christ?  Would you give up everything?

Poor widow gave more (Lk 21:3-21:3)

“Jesus said.

‘Truly!

I tell you!

This poor widow

Has put in

More than

All of them.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν Ἀληθῶς λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (καὶ εἶπεν) with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀληθῶς λέγω ὑμῖν) that this poor widow (ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ) had put in more than all of them (πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν).  This sounded a little strange, since her gift was so miniscule.  Only Mark, chapter 12:43, has something similar, while Matthew did not mention this incident at all.  Mark said that Jesus called his disciples together (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  He told them with a solemn pronouncement (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that this poor widow had put in more money than all those rich people who were contributing to the treasury (ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν τῶν βαλλόντων εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον).  In plain numerical terms, that was not correct, but proportionally it was true.  She had given the smallest amount of Greek or Roman money as possible.  There was nothing smaller than her contribution of two copper lepton coins.  However, she had so little to begin with, so that this was a large contribution for her.  What is the largest donation that you ever made?

The poor widow (Lk 21:2-21:2)

“Jesus saw

A poor widow

Put in

Two small copper coins.”

 

εἶδεν δέ τινα χήραν πενιχρὰν βάλλουσαν ἐκεῖ λεπτὰ δύο,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus saw a poor widow (εἶδεν δέ τινα χήραν πενιχρὰν) put in two small copper coins (βάλλουσαν ἐκεῖ λεπτὰ δύο).  Only Mark, chapter 12:42, has something similar, since Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that this one poor widow came to the treasury (καὶ ἐλθοῦσα μία χήρα πτωχὴ).  She put in two small copper coins (ἔβαλεν λεπτὰ δύο).  A λεπτὰ “lepton” copper coin was the smallest Greek coin and often called a “mite”.  Two of these “lepton” copper coins was worth a penny or a κοδράντης (ὅ ἐστιν κοδράντης).  This κοδράντης “quadrans” was the smallest Roman copper coin.  This was a very small amount of money that this poor widow put into the Temple treasury.  Do you give pennies away?

They seek to destroy Jesus (Lk 19:47-19:47)

“Everyday,

Jesus was teaching

In the Temple.

The chief priests,

The Scribes,

And the leaders

Of the people

Kept looking

For a way

To kill him.”

 

Καὶ ἦν διδάσκων τὸ καθ’ ἡμέραν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ· οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν ἀπολέσαι καὶ οἱ πρῶτοι τοῦ λαοῦ,

 

Luke said that everyday Jesus was teaching in the Temple (Καὶ ἦν διδάσκων τὸ καθ’ ἡμέραν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ).  The chief priests (οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς), the Scribes (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς), and the other leaders of the people (καὶ οἱ πρῶτοι τοῦ λαοῦ,) kept looking for a way to kill or destroy Jesus (ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν ἀπολέσαι).  There were no Pharisees or Sadducees mentioned here, but these other people were trying to figure out a way to kill Jesus.  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 11:17.  Mark said that the chief priests and the Scribes heard about this incident in the Temple (καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς).  Thus, they kept seeking or looking for a way to destroy or kill Jesus (καὶ ἐζήτουν πῶς αὐτὸν ἀπολέσωσιν).  This cleansing of the Temple may have been the immediate event that caused the Jerusalem elders to be suspicious of Jesus.  However, there was nothing like this in Matthew.  Would you be suspicious if someone disrupted your religious services?

The astonished parents were to be silent (Lk 8:56-8:56)

“Her parents

Were astonished.

But Jesus

Ordered them

To tell no one about

What had happened.”

 

καὶ ἐξέστησαν οἱ γονεῖς αὐτῆς· ὁ δὲ παρήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς μηδενὶ εἰπεῖν τὸ γεγονός

 

Luke said that her parents were astonished (καὶ ἐξέστησαν οἱ γονεῖς αὐτῆς).  However, Jesus ordered them to tell no one what had happened (ὁ δὲ παρήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς μηδενὶ εἰπεῖν τὸ γεγονός).  The ending to this story is different in Matthew, chapter 9:26 than that of Mark, chapter 5:43 and Luke, who are similar.  Mark indicated that Jesus strictly instructed or ordered them that no one should know about this incident.  That would have been hard because this was such a public event.  In Matthew, this event spread all over this land or district without any attempt to keep it quiet, which was the opposite of Luke and Mark.  If you saw a miraculous event, would you be quiet about it or tell everyone?

Tax collectors and sinners (Lk 5:30-5:30)

“The Pharisees

And their Scribes

Were complaining

To Jesus’ disciples.

They said.

‘Why do you eat

And drink

With tax collectors

And sinners?’”

 

καὶ ἐγόγγυζον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ λέγοντες Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίετε καὶ πίνετε;

 

Luke said that the Pharisees and their Scribes were complaining or grumbling (καὶ ἐγόγγυζον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν) to Jesus’ disciples (πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  They wondered (λέγοντες) why they were with Jesus eating and drinking (ἐσθίετε καὶ πίνετε) with tax collectors and sinners (Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν).  Mark, chapter 2:16, and Matthew, chapter 9:11, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this incident.  In Matthew, it was only the Pharisees and not the Scribes who are complaining.  Mark and Luke have both these Pharisees and their Scribes grumble about this dinner party.  They saw that Jesus and his disciples was eating and drinking with these sinners and tax collectors.  Then they asked the disciples of Jesus, and not Jesus himself, why was Jesus eating with these tax collectors and sinners?  These Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion.  Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments.  Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees?  Their position towards the Scribes was a mixed bag.  These Scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed, as professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.

She gave out of her poverty (Mk 12:44-12:44)

“All of them

Have contributed

Out of their abundance.

But she has contributed

Out of her poverty.

She has put in everything,

All that she had

To live on.”

 

πάντες γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον, αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τῆς ὑστερήσεως αὐτῆς πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν ἔβαλεν, ὅλον τὸν βίον αὐτῆς.

 

Only Luke, chapter 21:4, has something similar, while Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark said that Jesus explained how this poor widow had given more than others, since it was not numerically correct.  All of the other rich people had contributed out of their abundance or overflowing wealth (πάντες γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον).  However, she had contributed out of her poverty (αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τῆς ὑστερήσεως αὐτῆς).  She put into the Temple treasury everything that she had to live on (πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν ἔβαλεν), her whole livelihood (ὅλον τὸν βίον αὐτῆς).  Now she was destitute.  This was a strange explanation.  This widow became destitute by contributing to the Temple treasury.  Was that a good idea?  Was this a false sense of generosity?