Friday, December 2, 2016
by Tony Miller
Then he said to them, “How can they say that the Messiah is David’s son? For David himself says in the book of Psalms, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ David thus calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?” In the hearing of all the people he said to the disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
Jesus’ teachings often invert the established order—starting with his birth. The greatest king in Jewish history called the future Messiah “Lord,” and that Messiah came as a Galilean peasant. The Scribes were revered religious teachers, but Jesus condemned them for making a show of their piety and cheating the poor. The poor widow may have been an object of contempt, and her two cents wouldn’t go far toward Temple expenses, but Jesus valued her sacrificial gift higher than the lavish contributions of the wealthy.
Too often people in need are brushed aside, even by those whose job is to help them. When people come to our Threshold Ministry for help, perhaps the most important thing we do is call them respectfully by name and listen. My favorite memory of working in Threshold is when a homeless man came in, and Dr. Stroup the seminary professor said, “Hi, I’m George. What can we do for you?”
The Jews expected the Messiah to lead an army to victory, and they still await that conquering hero. Paul expected Christ to come again in his lifetime, but we still wait for that. Or do we? Every time we reach out in love to help a neighbor in need, show respect to the disrespected, or reconcile with an opponent, we build a piece of Christ’s kingdom. Thus the Messiah comes to each of us to live in our heart.