The opposing side of Jesus’ presence is in seeing the misuse of the Temple that had been occurring for quite some time and his lashing out in anger that follows. Jesus is often portrayed as a gentle, patient, guiding teacher, but he takes on the roll of his angry Father on a few occasions as well. Firstly, in John 2:13-25, He comes into the Temple and sees the stalls and merchants using the space, not for worship or praise or ceremony, but for a marketplace for their wares, because so many people would pass through there, money in hand. He makes a whip of cords and overturns all the tables in his anger, chasing them from the Temple, yelling at them for misusing His Father’s house. In Matthew 21, speaking of similar events, he accuses them of turning the Temple into a den of thieves.
On several different occasions, the Pharisees and Herodians try to entrap Jesus in trick questions and wordplay so as to nullify his teachings by accusing him of blasphemy if he fails any of the questions. Because his teachings were of a more subjective nature, relying on the heart and dedication to devote to God, like the widow’s offering, the teachers of the law knew that they would lose quite a bit of their power over him. For example, in Matthew 21 as well, they ask Jesus by whose authority he is doing these things and teaching these lessons, but he instead asks by whose authority John has been baptizing Jews for their faith because they say they do not know, he says then neither will he tell them whose authority he uses. In Matthew 22, they recite to him that the law says a widow must be cared for by the deceased’s brother, and ask with which brother will she be married to in the afterlife. He tells them that they must not know the Scripture at all for there is no marriage in Heaven. They asked him then what the greatest commandment was of all time, and he responded famously that it was to love God and the second greatest was to love your neighbors, that all commands came from this.
While we all know the story of the widow’s offering, it was a known fact at the time that the widows were not being taken care of under the funds collected for tithing through the Temple. As we stated back in Part Two of the Mosaic Tithing lessons, the money and resources received by the Temple was to support the Levites, the fatherless, the foreigners, and the widows. If we see a poor widow giving her only two coins to live on to the very church that was supposed to be caring for her, we can assume that she was not being cared for the way that God had said. However, Jesus actually points out in the verse just before the story of the widow’s offering that the teachers of the law “devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers” (Mark 12:40). The teachings required tithing prior to Jesus’ arrival, but as we can see, the law was not being used according to God’s intentions.. The Jews had so repeatedly lost the purpose behind the laws, that Jesus had to reteach them entirely, and thereby changing the law forever.