Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Missional Jesus 53

Missional Jesus points his own way. Here we find a story, in Mark 12, that perfectly illustrates the first beatitude: Blessed are the poor. The way to the kingdom, the way to peace in the Land, is not the way of compromise with Rome. The way is the way of the poor widow.
1. Missional Jesus can’t help but point to the hypocrsy of the religious elites. They are comic figures in his stories. The elites love prestige and celebrity but have no mercy.
2. Missional Jesus is committed to the piety of the poor. (I can’t help but think Jesus’ mercy for widows emerges from the realities of his mother’s life.)
3. Missional Jesus honors the heart over the appearance.
Mark 12:38 As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! 40 They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
Mark 12:41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

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posted September 5, 2007 at 2:30 am

One of the things I have been learning as of lately is understanding the importance of how we give. When Cain and Abel brought their offerings to God, one was accepted and one was not. God does not send fire down on our offerings like He used to in the Bible. Instead, the NT makes it clear: We are to give joyfully. I wonder if we give in that manner.
The story of this woman is so simple but profound enough that Jesus takes notice and gives a lesson to His disciples. Do not give from your abundance. Rather give out of sacrifice. Allow it to hurt our pockets. Then perhaps, we will be a living example of a great lesson Jesus shared.

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posted September 5, 2007 at 9:00 am

The first Beatitude is NOT “blessed are the poor.” It’s “blessed are the poor in spirit” or, as some versions have it, “blessed are the spiritually poor.” There’s a difference. Has nothing at all to do with lack of physical resources. Matthew 6 deals with that.

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Scot McKnight

posted September 5, 2007 at 9:20 am

C’mon Bob, be a sport. Luke 6:20 is the first beatitude in Luke — “blessed are the poor.”

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posted September 5, 2007 at 9:40 am

Touche’–you’re right! I’ve always been a Matthew’s Beatitudeser, though. We didn’t memorize Luke’s list in Sunday School. Are you a “debts” or “trespasses” guy?
Next time I’ll try to look more closely before I leap.

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John W Frye

posted September 5, 2007 at 10:21 am

What amazes me about 12:41ff is Jesus’ intentional observation of details. He is alert to littleness and then transforms that littleness into bigness!

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posted September 5, 2007 at 1:04 pm

I think it’s just amazing and not a “mistake” that we have both versions of poverty: poor and poor in spirit.

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Russ Kirby

posted September 6, 2007 at 9:16 pm

Bob~ Many see “poor in spirit” and “poor” as basically synonomous. (See e.g. WBC on Matthew). One fun exercise is to see how the phrase “poor in spirit” is used elsewhere in the NT.

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posted September 6, 2007 at 11:29 pm

Hey Scot,
Thanks for clarifying my statement. I was referring to the book of Luke but I forgot to mention that when I wrote it.

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