Background: In Herod’s temple there were 13
trumpet-shaped chests into which money was raised for the
construction and restoration of the temple. Herod’s temple
was not finally completed in 63 AD and it was destroyed in 70
ADabout 40 years after the events of the text. The temple was the
most important means of grace, i.e. the place for the forgiveness
of sins and encountering God. Note that there are many promises
in the Old Testament for widows and orphans. Probably the widow
in our text had heard them in the synagogue.
- Why do people usually sacrifice (in all religions)?
- Why does one give to a collection out of his poverty, another
doesn’t give even out of his wealth?
Verses 41-42. The copper coin was the smallest in use in
Israel. Its value was perhaps about 20 cents in our currency.
With that amount, one could probably have bought the ingredients
of vegetable soup or a couple of eggs at the market of Jerusalem.
- There was no social welfare or employment of women in the
Jewish society of that time. Imagine what problems this woman had
faced after the death of her husband.
- What might the mother’s relationship with her
half-orphan children have been like?
- Why had Jesus sat down to watch the treasury of the temple?
- What made some rich people give a lot of money to the
maintenance of the temple; think of various motives.
- The treasury had been placed in a prominent spot in the
temple of Jerusalem. To what extent do you think donating is
affected by the awareness that others know how much each one
- What might the widow of our text have thought if she had
known someone was watching her?
- The poor widow knew that only one single brick at the most
could be purchased with her pennies for the maintenance of the
temple. Why did she however want to give that insignificant
- If you were in that widow’s situation, to whom or for
what could you imagine donating your last money?
- Imagine the widow had felt that God was demanding her
last coin with which she had thought of buying food for her
hungry children. What would she have thought of God like that?
- This widow had lost a lot, but what had she however also
received from God?
- Why was the temple such an important place for the widow, so
that she donated her last pennies to maintain it?
- Which reason is more likely: a) the widow donated her last
pennies because she was grateful for what she had received from
God? Or b) she donated her coins to receive something from God?
Give reasons for your answer.
- What did the widow believe of God for whom she wanted to give
his last penny?
- How had the widow gained the confidence that God would take
care of her and her children?
- Is it easy or hard for you to believe that God will take care
of you and your children also financially? Why is it easy, why is
- Do you think the widow’s children went to bed hungry
that night? Give reasons for your answer.
- Which is more harmful to your children/grandchildren: that
they sometimes suffer need, or that they get everything they ask
- Why did Jesus talk about the widow’s coin with his
- Why isn’t the amount important when someone gives money
to the work of the kingdom of God?
- What makes a person donate “everything that she needs
for living /all her living to the work of the kingdom of God?
- What legacy did the widow leave to her children?
- Compare the widow’s legacy with the legacy of the rich
of the text left to their children?
- What would you like to leave to your children?
- Look at verses 13:1-2. Jesus knew that the temple would be
destroyed after 40 years. What was the benefit of the
widow’s coin nevertheless?
- What happens if the temple of our time, i.e. the Christian
church, runs out of money?
- What would God want you to donate to the “temple”
of your own, i.e. your local church? What about to the global
church? (You can also answer quietly in your heart.)
Glad tidings: The widow’s coin was a type of
sacrifice Jesus made to save us from hell. He gave not only
everything he needed to live but his life.