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The Gospel of Mark #33 - False vs True Commitment

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The Gospel of Mark #33:

False versus True Commitment

Text: Mark 12:38-44

Thesis: To stress that God desires people who follow Him from the heart.


(1)   Each year, awards are given out for the actor and actress of the year (e.g., Golden Globe, People’s Choice, and Oscar).

(2)   However, these actors and actresses would be given a run for their money by many “Christians” who “play church” each Sunday.

(3)   Let us now look at a story of some who played the part versus a widow who lived the part:


I.                   The Story:

A.    After discussing which commandment was the greatest and emphasizing His Messiahship, Jesus now confronts the scribes who were simply playing the part (vv. 38-40).

1.      The scribes would go around in ‘long robes;’ i.e., “full-length prayer shawls with tassels attached to the four corners, in contrast to the colorful common Jewish dress. Made of wool or linen, these blanket-like mantles, known as tallits, distinguished rabbis and scholars as men of wealth and eminence” (Edwards 378).

2.      They loved to receive ‘greetings in the marketplace;’ i.e.: “When a scribe walked down the street or passed through a marketplace, everyone (with the exception of laborers) was expected to rise before him” (Edwards 378)

3.      They loved to receive the ‘best seats in the synagogue;’ i.e., “the bench facing the congregation and in front of the chest that contained the biblical scrolls” (Brooks 202).

4.      They loved to received the ‘best places at feasts;’ i.e., usually at the “right or left of the host” (Brooks 202).

5.      Also, they were guilty of devouring ‘widows’ houses;’ i.e., a reference to the “fact that they sponged on the hospitality of people of limited means” (Lane 441).

6.      Further, they were guilty of “praying for show.”

7.      Jesus’ assessment of them is that they will receive a greater condemnation.

B.     Then, Jesus observes and compliments a widow who was living the part     (vv. 41-44).

1.      In the court of women, “there were fixed a number of places or coffers, made with a large open mouth in the shape of a trumpet, for the purpose of receiving the offerings of the people; and the money thus contributed was devoted to the service of the temple-to incense, sacrifices, etc.” (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft).

2.      Many rich people passed by and put in a lot of money; however, they still were rich, by worldly standards, after the contributions.

3.      In contrast to the rich, a poor widow passes by and puts in “two mites;” i.e., “the smallest Greek coin. It had the least value of any in circulation in the time of Jesus (i.e., 1/64 of a day’s wages)” (Garland 481).

4.      Jesus’ assessment of her is extremely positive because of her sacrifice.

a.       “For Jesus, the value of a gift is not the amount given, but the cost to the giver” (Edwards 381).

b.      “The widow’s total giving demonstrates an attitude of absolute trust in God” (Brooks 203).

II.                The Application:

A.    Right actions alone are not enough.

B.     One’s motivation must be sincere.

C.     God commends a heart that surrenders all to Him.


(1)   Are you up for an Oscar for playing the part?

(2)   Today, make the choice to be committed with all of your heart by living the part.

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