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.…
Observe these four points.
I. THE CONTRAST. It is not the poor, or widows, that Christ contrasts with rich men, but a widow. She was, perhaps, in almost as great contrast to many of her own class as to these; for many of the poor forget God, and offer Him nothing, because they have but little; and many widows make widowhood worse by murmuring. But circumstances may be imagined in which it would not have been right for the widow to give away her last farthing. But why suppose she was in such circumstances? A heart that so loved God, as hers did, would understand Him too well to divert the last farthing from the service of her sick child, if she had one. Then, perhaps, God would have received only a mite. She threw herself utterly on God's Providence, and would not withhold from Him even the half of her last farthing.
II. THE LESSON. Christ might have said, "See how these rich men can offer openly in the temple; how much better would it be to give private aid to this poor widow. That would be real love; this is but paraded zeal." He might have said this, but He did not. Instead of directing attention to what the poor want done for them, He pointed to what they (in spite of their poverty) do; instead of teaching His disciples liberality towards them, He here bids all men learn from their liberality.
III. THE MASTER'S ATTITUDE. Christ sat over against the treasury, as if placing Himself there on purpose to observe. Our gifts are offered under the Divine eye. We know the difference between a bad half-crown and a good one; but we think a half-crown from a bad man and from a good one of the same value. Christ, doubtless, thinks otherwise. He tries the heart as well as the money; notices what our spiritual temper is, and what proportion our gifts bear to our possessions.
IV. THE MOTIVE. Though money came plentifully to the treasury, and the splendid temple was sustained by splendid offerings, yet this vigour of the "voluntary principle" did not prevent Christ from being crucified, nor avail to keep the temple standing. It was not the purified will of believing hearts that brought the plentiful money. There may be strong motives for supporting "religion," when there is in the heart bitter enmity against the very religion sustained.
(T. T. Lynch.)
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.