Read Luke 21
Signs preceding the end (Luke 21:6-36). Judas' cruel betrayal (22:1-6,47-53). The Passover meal (22:7-30). Peter's denial (22:31-36; 22:54-62). Agonizing prayer of Jesus; an angel ministers to Him (22:39-46).
While the disciples were admiring the magnificent stone work of the Temple (Luke 21:5), and the wealthy worshippers — whose gifts had made the Temple the pride of the nation — passed by, Jesus had been observing a poor widow (2:1-2). He was touched by her sacrifice in sharing her gift of two small coins. She . . . cast in all the living that she had (21:4) — two mites (21:2). She still would have been generous if she had kept one of them. In fact, to a self-centered world the reaction would have been: "How foolish of her to give anything." But her gift remains as a cutting rebuke to the selfish calculating of the world. She loved her Lord, and she gave her all to him.
Neither she nor her gift were of any value in the world's estimation. Yet she alone received praise from the Lord, who said: This poor widow hath cast in more than they all (21:3). To Him who seeth not as man seeth (I Sam. 16:7), she gave immeasurably above all others.
The Lord is concerned with who gives, what they give, and why they give, as well as what they didn't give. He said nothing to the widow — nothing within her hearing. Surely, until the day she died she never considered herself or her gift as of any greath worth. It is a fair question, isn't it, to ask: "What is Christ's estimate of our giving? Are we offering to Him a sacrifice or just something we will never miss?" Jesus told the rich young ruler: Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow Me (Luke 18:22).
The blessing of the Lord is upon the offerer who gives with heartfelt gratitude and self-denial. To follow Christ faithfully, often we must give up self-interests when we have an opportunity to serve the Lord by helping someone. It is through unselfish love, like that of Jesus, that the world has been redeemed. Do we learn from His example that we need to give like Him?
What is the cross but the symbol of the greatest of all sacrifices — the complete surrender of Jesus' life for the glory of God with the intent of saving a lost world.
And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it (Luke 9:23-24).
Thought for Today:
Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:33).
For Luke 21:27: See Dan. 7:13. Luke 22:37: See Is. 53:12. Luke 22:69: See Ps. 110:1.
21:4 penury poverty; 21:13 shall turn to you for a testimony will turn out to be an opportunity to tell the Good News; 21:15 to gainsay to refute, to refuse; 21:34 surfeiting overindulgence; 22:39 wont in the habit of.
Pray for Government Official: Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ) • Country: Costa Rica (4 million) in Central America • Major languages: Spanish and English • Religious freedom is increasing • 90% Roman Catholic; 6% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment (Prov. 2:1-6).
Memory Verse for the Week: