Read Mark 11:20-13:37
According to Mark’s account, Tuesday of Passion week was Jesus’s busiest day. The day begins and ends with him teaching his disciples privately outside of Jerusalem (Mark 11:20-25; 13:1-37). But he spends the bulk of the day in the Temple being approached by different folks who want to test him in different ways. The religious leaders want to trap him by what he might say publicly about paying taxes, the final resurrection of the dead, and the greatest commandment. His answers evade their traps and shut the mouths of his opponents, and he goes on the offensive, telling a parable against the religious leaders, asks them a tough question about the Messiah, and denounces the hypocrisy of the scribes before everyone.
But, in the midst of all of this conflict, before he leaves the Temple, he takes note of one person: a poor widow. Just after warning people about the scribes who “devour widows’ houses” (Mark 12:40), Jesus points out this poor widow to his disciples. He had watched as she dropped two small copper coins into the offering box, and he tells his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 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” (Mark 12:43-44).
If these two coins were “all she had to live on,” why didn’t she only give one coin and keep one to provide for herself? Her gift expresses her total devotion to God; she is not half-devoted to God, so that she gives half of her livelihood. Her gift also expresses her faith in God; she gives all that she has, counting on God to provide her needs. This poor widow models obedience to the greatest commandment; she loves God with all that she is and all that she has. What do our lives reveal about our devotion to and our faith in God?