What does Mark 12:41 mean?
ESV: And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.
NIV: Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.
NASB: And Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and began watching how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large amounts.
CSB: Sitting across from the temple treasury, he watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich people were putting in large sums.
NLT: Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts.
KJV: 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.
NKJV: Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.
Verse Commentary:
"The treasury" mentioned here doesn't refer to the collection of money used to build and support the temple (Joshua 6:19; Ezra 2:69; Nehemiah 7:70–71), but the actual area of the temple where the offerings are collected; this area is also called the Court of Women because women are not allowed to enter any further into the temple complex. That Jesus is "opposite" the treasury suggests He may be sitting under the east portico, not far from the Beautiful Gate which looks out over the Mount of Olives, which is His next destination (Mark 13:1–3).

Shekalim, Chapter 6, Mishnah 5 says the temple had thirteen trumpet-shaped chests, one each for the present and previous censuses (Exodus 30:13), four to support the sacrifices, one for the mercy seat, and six for freewill offerings. The fact that the woman does not put in a shekel and the rich give more than a shekel suggests Jesus is referring to the freewill offerings. When Jesus says that the hypocrites "sound" a "trumpet" when they give (Matthew 6:2), He is probably referring to the noise a handful of coins makes when dropped into one of these chests.

It is, of course, moral and acceptable to donate a large amount of money to a church or ministry. Christian organizations appreciate generosity! Jesus is merely using this opportunity to explain that the sacrificial posture of this woman's heart is more precious to God than all the gold and silver the rich men give. God already owns the whole world; what He wants is our faithfulness (Psalm 50:7–11).
Verse Context:
Mark 12:41–44 relates an event also found in Luke 21:1–4. Jesus has spent much of the week arguing with men who often misinterpret Scripture for personal gain. He has spent much of His ministry teaching the disciples that to truly follow Him they must be humble (Mark 9:33–37; 10:35–45). Jesus' public ministry is finished. From now until the arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, He will teach the disciples and spend time with friends (Mark 14:3–9). But before He leaves the temple courtyard, Jesus points out one person who understands what it means to faithfully follow God.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter contains lessons taught by Jesus in various circumstances. He explains the eventual destruction of traditional Judaism, the relationship between secular and sacred obligations, the nature of the resurrection, and the most important of God's commandments. Jesus also expounds on Messianic statements in the Old Testament. Jesus also condemns the glory-seeking shallowness of the scribes, and extolls the virtues of sincere, faith-based giving.
Chapter Context:
Days before, Jesus has entered Jerusalem, hailed as a hero by the people (Mark 11:1–11). While teaching in the temple courtyard, Jesus shows superior understanding of Scripture over the chief priests, scribes, and elders (Mark 12:27–33), the Pharisees and Herodians (Mark 12:13), the Sadducees (Mark 12:18), and the scribes again (Mark 12:35, 38). Sadly, even in the instance where a scribe does understand Scripture, that is no guarantee he will follow it to its logical conclusion: Jesus (Mark 12:28–34). In contrast, a humble widow exemplifies the faithfulness and piety the leaders lack (Mark 12:41–44). Jesus leaves the temple for the last time to teach the disciples on the Mount of Olives (Mark 13). In Mark 14, He prepares for the crucifixion.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 6/13/2024 12:46:13 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.