In the days following Jesus’ cleansing of the temple, the different religious and political groupings have attempted to take him on and bring him down. His actions in the temple courts amounted to a direct challenge of their authority and so, they attempted to undermine his.
Jesus however has defeated all comers. He has demonstrated the failing of his opponents. They lack both intellectual and moral authority because they do not know God. They claim to represent Yahweh and yet they turn out to be those who rob of all that he deserves: love, honour and glory.
Read Mark 12:35-44
Here we see the two ways in which the religious leaders lack authority demonstrated. Jesus sets up a riddle for them that they are unable to answer. He points them to Psalm 110:1 “The LORD said to my Lord.” The Psalm was known to speak of the Messiah, yet how could the Messiah be David’s Son/descendant and at the same time his Lord. We of course know the answer, it was that the Messiah was always going to be Yahweh himself turning up. The Jewish leaders should have been able to recognise this but could not.
They were intellectually bankrupt but they were also morally bankrupt. Jesus goes on to point out their hypocrisy. They sought to receive honour and respect for their religious standing, wearing grand robes that marked out their spirituality. However, their true motivation was greed. They would exploit whoever they could, whenever they could, targeting the most vulnerable.
In contrast to those who “devour widow”, we then see a widow in action. This lady, no doubt close to being penniless because she has been exploited and cheated by the very men pouring out a fraction of their wealth into the temple coppers puts in the 2 remaining coins she has. Now she really is penniless.
You know, in reality, although these men were giving out of their abundance, they with their shrunken hearts and brains, their moral and intellectual bankruptcy had far less to offer than this widow whose heart was full of love and worship for her LORD.
Jesus sees her give when no one else would have noticed. He commends her that she has given her all.