Mark 12:41-44. Jesus sat over against the treasury “Jesus was now in the treasury, or that part of the women’s court where the chests were placed for receiving the offerings of those who came to worship. These chests, being thirteen in number, had each of them an inscription, signifying for what use the offerings put into them were destined; and were fixed to the pillars of the portico which surrounded the court. From these voluntary contributions were bought wood for the altar, salt, and other necessaries, not provided for any other way. It was in this court of the women, according to the Talmudists, that the libation of water from Siloam was made annually at the feast of tabernacles, as a solemn public thanksgiving and prayer for the former and latter rain; to which rite, it is generally supposed, our Lord alluded, John 7:38.” Macknight. And beheld how the people cast money into the treasury Luke says, he looked up, and saw the rich men casting in their gifts, &c. That is, he noticed it with attentive observation; many of these, as Mark here informs us, casting in much, for, it seems, there was still this remainder of national liberality among them, though true religion was sunk to so very low an ebb. And there came a certain poor widow Whose character and circumstances were not unknown to Christ; and she threw in two mites Two small pieces of brass coin then in use; which make a farthing Καδραντης , a Roman coin, in value no more than three-fourths of our farthing. Wherefore the offering given by this poor widow was very small in itself, though in another respect it was a great gift, being all that she had, ever all her living. We can hardly suppose, that at each of the chests there were officers placed to receive and count the money which the people offered, and to name the sum aloud before they put it in. It is more reasonable to fancy that each person put his offering privately into the chest, by a slit in its top. Wherefore, by mentioning the particular sum which this poor widow put in, as well as by declaring that it was all her living, our Lord showed that nothing was hid from his knowledge. And he called unto him his disciples That he might inform them of this woman’s generous action, and that they might hear his remarks upon it: and saith, Verily, this poor widow hath cast more in than all they, &c. Thus he spoke to show, that it is the disposition of the mind, in deeds of charity, and in oblations made to the worship of God, which God regards, and not the magnificence of the gift. For all they did cast in of their abundance Their offerings, though great in respect of hers, bore but a small proportion to their estates. But she of her want did cast in all that she had Her offering was the whole of her income for that day, or, perhaps, the whole of the money in her possession at that time. Here then we see what judgment is passed on the most specious outward actions by the Judge of all! And how acceptable to him is the smallest, which springs from self- denying love! Both the poor and the rich may learn an important lesson from this passage of the gospel. The poor, who seem to have the means of doing charitable offices denied them in a great measure, are encouraged by it to do what they can; because, although it may be little, God, who looks into the heart, values it not according to what it is in itself, but according to the disposition with which it is given. On the other hand, it shows the rich, that it is not enough that they exceed the poor in the quantity of their charity. A little given where a little is left behind, often appears in the eye of God a much nobler offering, and discovers a far greater strength of good dispositions, than sums vastly larger bestowed out of a plentiful abundance. See Macknight.
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