What does Mark 12:44 mean?
ESV: For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
NIV: They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.'
NASB: for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.'
CSB: For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had--all she had to live on."
NLT: For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.'
KJV: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
The point of this story is that the widow willingly gives God all she has, trusting that He will take care of her, as opposed to the rich who contemplate how much they can give without being inconvenienced. Inevitably, however, discussions will arise about the theological and practical implications of giving to God.
Does she have to give all she had? Of course not. When Ananias and Sapphira donate money they earn from selling land, God does not strike them down because they withhold some of the proceeds but because they lie about it (Acts 5:1–11). Their intention was personal pride, not support for God.
When Jesus tells the rich young ruler that to gain eternal life he has to sell all his possessions and give to the poor, Jesus doesn't mean that the rich can't be saved. Jesus can tell by the man's assertion that he obeys the Ten Commandments relating to people that he has a hard time honoring God above his chosen idol—money. Jesus' stipulation is about idolatry, not forced poverty (Mark 10:17–22).
Jesus' closest friends outside His twelve disciples are Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. At least once, if not twice, in the course of a week Mary anoints Jesus with three hundred-denarii-worth of perfume (John 12:1–8; Mark 14:3–9). When the disciples challenge her, Jesus tells them that her offering is far more important than the Twelve's finances.
In the church age, there is no standard for how much we should give or what percentage of our wealth we should donate. Like Zacchaeus, we should give as much as we feel God is leading us (Luke 19:1–10) and we should give joyfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). Most importantly, we should recognize that we are giving to God. If we give so that others can see us and praise our generosity, our desires are for worldly status and not devotion to God (Matthew 6:1–4).
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.
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.
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.
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 3/1/2024 2:37:16 AM
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