Christ Era Tithing: Part Two Teaching at the Temple

Many of Jesus’ teachings are centered around and taught around the Temple to reach not only the religious, but the religious teachers as well. He most often used parables as a way to call out the religious leaders without putting himself in danger, while more direct teaching was used when teaching groups who did not have that authority. We see both in Mark 12, where Jesus has set himself up outside the Temple and teaches several lessons. In the first, he tells a parable of a father sending his servants to a vineyard to bring back a harvest, but the tenants of the vineyard beat and kill them. Finally, the owner sends his son to the vineyard thinking surely they wouldn’t kill his son, but they do. In this, he is able to point out the treatment of the chief priests and the teachers of the law. For the second story of interest to us, a group comes to ask Jesus if they should pay Caesar’s Imperial Tax in order to trap him with the law. But He asks them whose face and words are on the coins, and says to give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to give to God what is God’s. The most well-known story of Mark 12 however is the widow and her two coins. At the end of the chapter, Jesus watches several people come and go, paying their portions, which for the rich is quite significant. In watching them however, the first person that is worth remarking on to Him is a poor widow who gives the only two copper coins she has to her name. Jesus as we all know says that she has given more than the others, because they gave from their wealth, and she gave everything. He is pointing out that her heart is in it, that this is a willing and freely given offering. This presents a stark contrast to those who were living in wealth and gave the required percentage according to the law, whereas hers was what she wanted to give. Throughout both Moses’ time and in the return from captivity with Ezra, there is a marked attention paid to the willing and freely given tithes and offerings, not just fulfilling the requirement. We can look back to the time in Exodus 36:3-7 where the Jews gave so much that they began to turn away offerings. This poor widow gave everything willingly, knowing that no one would notice her two coins, but knowing that she had given everything she could.

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