34. THE WIDOW'S OFFERING (Luke 21:1-4)

BACKGROUND: There are many promises for widows and orphans in the Old Testament, for example Psalms 10:14,17,18 and Psalms 68:5. Presumably the widow of our text had heard these promises. Offerings were used for the building of the temple, which was completed AD 63 and destroyed AD 70 - about forty years after these events.
  1. Why do people give offerings in all religions?
    • Mark in his version of this story lets us know that the treasury was in a very visible place (Mark 12:41). What influence does it have on the giver if other people will eventually know how much he has given?
    • What would this particular widow have thought had she known that Jesus was watching her carefully?
  2. Jewish society of those days had neither a social security system, nor did it allow women to work outside home. Imagine that you had lost your husband and were trying to take care of your children in that situation. What would be the most difficult thing for you to handle?
    • If you were in a situation described above, for whom or for what cause could you give away your last penny?
  3. What makes a person give to God "all he has to live on" (vs. 4b)? Think of various possibilities.
  4. If God had forced the widow to give away the last of her money, what would she have thought about such a God?
    • How does the faith of these two people differ from each other: the one who offers to God while thankful for what he has got and the other who offers to God in order to get something from him?
  5. What was the faith of this widow like?
    • How had this widow become convinced that God would take care of her children?
    • Is it difficult for you to believe that God will take care of you and your children economically also?
  6. What had this widow received from God?
    • What have you got from God (compared to this widow)?
  7. Do you think that the children of this widow went to bed hungry that night? Give your reasons.
    • Which do you think is more harmful for your children/ grandchildren: that they must suffer privation or that they get everything they wish to have?
  8. What would God like to have you offer him or a suffering neighbor today? You can answer in your heart if you like.
  9. What did this widow leave to her children as an inheritance?
    • Compare the inheritance that the rich of this text left to their children and that the widow left.
    • What would you most like to leave to your children when you die?
GLAD TIDINGS: Our sins are likened to an astronomical sum of money in the Bible - ten thousand talents. Each one of us who cannot pay the debt is thrown into jail (i.e. hell). When Jesus wanted to buy us free from this enormous debt he had to give away "all he had to live on" - and his own precious blood at that.

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