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Jesus Sat over against the Treasury (Mark 12:41-44)Dr Daryl Miller, November 13, 2016
Part of the The Need of the Giver to Give series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
SUNDAY MORNING, NOVEMBER 13
Title: Jesus Sat over against the Treasury
Text: “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much” (Mark 12:41).
Scripture Reading: Mark 12:41 - 44
It is my duty as a preacher to declare to you the whole Word of God. The Bible teaches the fact of the sovereignty of God; therefore, I preach about it. The Bible teaches the truth of the inspiration of the Scripture; therefore, I proclaim that truth. The central fact of the gospel is the atoning death of Jesus Christ. It is my privilege to proclaim this good news. Because the Bible teaches salvation by grace through faith without works of any kind, I preach it. The Bible tells us that there is a place called hell; therefore I warn people about hell. Christian stewardship also is taught in the Bible. I would not be true to my calling unless I preached Christian stewardship. I would not have you to be ignorant concerning what God has to say to us about this important matter. I do not preach on Christian stewardship simply as a means of making it possible for the church to receive more money. It is my conviction that those who are good stewards are happy, well-balanced, and fruitful Christians. I do not believe that people can know the full joy of Christian living until they have realized the blessing of God on their lives as a result of their faithfulness to his cause and kingdom.
Mark 12 records some of the teachings and activities of the closing days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus was locked in a life-and-death struggle with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes. He told them the parable of the wicked husbandmen, which demonstrated the wickedness of the hearts of the Hebrew religious leaders in rejecting him as the Son of God. Time and again they had tried to trap him, but time and again, with divine wisdom, he made their wisdom seem crudest ignorance. After lashing the religious leaders with caustic words (Mark 12:38?–?40), “Jesus sat over against the treasury” (v. 41).
I. Jesus is the Lord of his treasury.
This Scripture gives us a picture of Jesus’ concern for the treasury of the house of the Lord. Jesus said more about stewardship than he did any other subject. Note Matthew 6:19?–?24, 33 as a classic example. Jesus is still Lord of the treasury of every church. As he was concerned then about people’s giving habits, so he is today. Sometimes we feel that we are simply giving to a church budget?—?not so. This is not the preacher’s church?—?it is the Lord’s church. Everything in this church belongs to him. He is the head of this church and the head of the treasury. When we give, we give to further the gospel.
II. Jesus beholds our gifts (Mark 12:41).
“[He] beheld how the people cast money.” Jesus was a spectator. The Greek word translated “beheld” means one looking at a thing with interest and for a purpose, usually indicating the careful observation of details. Jesus saw then, and he sees us today. He observes us as we give today. Our Scripture passage says that he saw the rich cast in much out of their abundance and witnessed the poor widow as she gave her little. Here is a drama if we care to see it: the people bringing their gifts to God and God in the shadows keeping watch over his own?—?his own people and his own treasury. What a sobering thought. We cannot escape this personal God. Psalm 139 tells us that there is no place we can go where God does not see us. He sees us as we earn money and as we determine in our hearts how much we are to give to the Lord’s work through the church. He sees us as we write our checks. He knows whether we are really tithing or not. He looks not at the outward appearance but on the heart. A small gift is as great as a large gift if it is a right proportion and if it is given with the right motives.
III. Jesus judges our gifts.
Jesus not only noticed those who gave, but he also noted the amount of each gift. He did not condemn the rich for their large gifts. Thank God for those who make a lot of money and also give a lot?—?as much or more than a tithe. People ought to make all the money they can, as long as they make it honestly. God intends for all people to do the best they can in their area of business. Possessing possessions is not wrong until possessions begin to possess us. Jesus did not commend the widow because her gift was small; he commended her for the proportion she gave. He looked beyond the hand to the heart. The average person would bow and scrape to the one who gave the largest gift, but Jesus pointed out the one who gave the largest proportion. James had the spirit of Christ when he wrote James 2:1?–?4. The gift should be weighed, not counted.
IV. Jesus desires our gifts.
Throughout the Bible, we find the Lord being pleased with the gifts of those who loved him. Genesis 8:20 tells us that Noah built an altar unto the Lord and took of every clean beast and every clean fowl and offered burnt offerings on the altar. Verse 21 says that the Lord was pleased with Noah’s gift. When the Lord commanded the building of the tabernacle, he told Moses to “take .?.?. from among you an offering unto the Lord .?.?. gold, and silver, and brass” (Ex. 35:5). Notice also Exodus 36:3?–?6. God delights in the offerings of his people whether they be of self or of substance. Notice what Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:6?–?8. Jesus never completely gets you until he gets yours. Your gifts are needed, but more important than that, you need to give. Try tithing?—?that is, if you can do it with the right spirit. It will open the windows of heaven and also bring inner joy.
V. Jesus blesses our gifts (Mark 12:44).
Jesus commended the widow. Suppose she had said, “My gift is so small it will never do any good. It will not be missed if I keep it for myself.” She would have missed the Lord’s commendation. If you are not a good steward, you are missing many blessings. It is indeed far more blessed to give than it is to receive. Your gift is important?—?whether small or large. Look at what Jesus did with the five loaves and two fish. Notice this beautiful story found in John 6. The disciple Andrew said in verse 9: “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” Is it not true that many times we feel that our tithe is not so much?—?it will not be missed?—?no one could tell the difference? But the individual who misses out on God’s blessing can tell the difference. Jesus took those five loaves and two fish and fed more than five thousand men. If Jesus could do that with a little boy’s loaves and fish, what do you think he could do with your life fully surrendered to him?
I believe that when Christian people give as God wants us to give, the Lord of the loaves and fish will miraculously make those gifts sufficient to meet the needs of the lost world. It is so with us here. When we love him enough to give in the proper proportion, the Lord Jesus will make what we give more than sufficient for our needs.
“And Jesus sat over against the treasury.” He is here today. He will be here next Sunday and the next down through the years. He will be looking over your shoulder when you give. Is the Lord pleased with the proportion of your gifts? The widow gave all her material possessions. Jesus gave his life on the cross to redeem you. What will you give?
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41And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (KJV)