What Jesus Learned from a Generous Destitute Widow

What Jesus Learned from a Generous Destitute Widow August 28, 2019

One question in particular has grabbed my attention in this story: how did Jesus know that the woman had given all she had? Was he simply guessing, or was he using someone as an illustration whose story he knew?

As with so many other stories in the Gospels that I explore in this book, this one raises a question for the reader that we who read too often fail to ask. Did Jesus not teach these things before? Was this Jesus illustrating a point that he had made countless times? In reading it, do we not get the sense that he is surprising his audience, including his inner circle of disciples? And if the latter is the case, then does that not suggest that Jesus is not merely illustrating a point he had already formulated and taught, but is gaining insight from what he sees and sharing it, learning and then facilitating learning by others as all good educators do?

The other key question is whether Jesus’ point is the widow’s generosity, or the system that results in a poor individual giving even the little that they have, while others give a fraction of their wealth or earnings and live lavishly nevertheless. What are your thoughts on that?

Also about this story:

Rich scribes and poor widows: reading Mark 12.38-44 with Ched Myers and Addison Wright

Addison Wright’s CBQ article on the story is available online

Widows in the New Testament period

Jesus and Chance

Sermon: The Widow’s Plight

The Widow’s Mite? No, MIGHT! – Justice, Power, and the Widow

Faith to Go: Money and Discomfort

Another look at the widow’s mite


Other links related to early Christian women, women in the ancient world, and the like:

Mary and Martha Talk about Bicycle Riding, Writing Books, and Sabbatical

Mary Retold on AJR

The many layers of the story of the women bent double in Luke 13

Covenant Partners: The Biblical Egalitarian Outlook on Female and Male Relationships in Genesis 17

How Evangelicals Forgot Women’s History

New Clues for Ascent of the Soul in the Gospel of Mary

Matchmaking With the Ancients

Sarah Finley, Christopher Newport University – Hearing Voices of Women Past

There was a review of Revenge and Gender in Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Literature in Bryn Mawr Classical Review.

What Do We Mean by Purity Culture?

Menstruation in Fiction

Christian Century had articles on a woman’s place in the mosque and The Bachelorette.

Christian Sheriff’s Deputy: I Was Fired for Refusing to Train a Female Cop

Was Early Christianity Hostile to Women?

Tendencies to Remember When Teaching Women

Who Was Mary Magdalene? Apostle, Lover, Demon Possessed?

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