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Reading Mark 44 – Hypocrisy and Giving

20 May 2020 | by Emyr James | Mark 12

44 – Hypocrisy and Giving

Mark 12:38-44

And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Difficult Words

  • Devour: Swallow up
  • Pretense: A way of behaving intended to deceive people
  • Condemnation: Extremely strong disapproval
  • Treasury: Place to keep money

Question 1

What impression do we have of the scribes?

Question 2

How is the widow different?

  In Mark 12:28-34 we heard what true worship is – that is, that what God really wants us to do is to love him with our whole life, and to love others like we love ourselves. Today we are going to see two types of person and try to see who comes nearest to that which God wants.

  The first example are the Scribes. Jesus describes them as people who like wearing grand clothes, who like people taking notice of them and showing them respect wherever they go. They tricked widows into giving all their money to the temple but they kept it for themselves. Every time they prayed, the only thing they were worried about was that people saw how long they were at it for! Although they appeared to be godly people, respectful, who kept the law, inside they were totally dead.

  The second example is the little insignificant widow. We do not learn a lot about her only that she is coming to give money to God’s work in the temple. The people around her were contributing large sums of money. When it came to her turn, she only had a small amount to give. But although the value of the money is little, she has given everything she possessed for the service of God and therefore it is she who receives praise from Jesus.

  What becomes clear looking at this passage is that what Jesus praises, and what God desires from us, is that we give him all that we have. God looks at the heart. Perhaps you feel that you don’t have very much to offer, that there are enough other people who can serve God better than you. But that is not true at all – the sacrifice of the widow was good in the sight of Jesus. God accepts and is able to use anything we have which we offer in faith in the name of Jesus Christ.

Question 3

What talents has God given to you? How can you use them for his glory?

Question 4

Is there any part of your life in which you are a hypocrite?


that there would be no hypocrisy at all in your life and that you would live to the praise of the Lord Jesus Christ.​