On Sunday we read through a classic Jesus story, one you may have heard many times if you’ve been in “church world” for a while…
Luke 21:1-4: As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
This time, though, we heard it in the context of Jesus’ teaching right before he “looked up”…
Luke 20:45-47, While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”
Widows like the one Jesus saw putting in her gift, the one that was more than she could really afford - they were being devoured by religious leaders concerned more about themselves and their own agendas than the widows’ souls. Jesus wasn’t mad at the widow, of course, but he also wasn’t praising her - he was mad for her!
Have you ever felt devoured by religious or other leaders? Like they have pressured you for more than you had to give, in time, money, or even emotion? Take a few minutes and allow yourself to remember one of those times today, and imagine Jesus in the situation with you, actually angry for you and sticking up for you. Talk with Jesus about what that means for you, how it feels.