Big Buildings and Small Coins

Solomon's TempleOne day, Jesus and His disciples were leaving the temple area. We’re not told which one, but one of the guys commented, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” (Mark 13:1) At least one of the disciples was clearly captivated by the grandeur of the temple.

Granted, it was a magnificent structure. You can read about the design and construction in 1 Kings 6 and 2 Chronicles 3 and 4. The temple in Jesus’ day was about 50 feet tall, the equivalent of a five-story building. That’s pretty impressive for not having the use of modern machinery.

Yet, it’s important to look at this story in context. Immediately prior to this scene, Jesus had just commented to His disciples about the woman they watched put two small copper coins into the offering box. It was a pittance from a monetary standpoint, but Jesus said, “This poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.” (Mark 12:43) Jesus was telling them plainly that the actual dollar amount wasn’t all that significant.

The juxtaposition of these two scenes makes me wonder. Could Jesus have been thinking, I just told you that money – material possessions – are not really that important, and you think I’m going to be enamored with an impressive building?

I’d like to ridicule that disciple – and, honestly, each of them from time to time. Yet, I can too often empathize with them. It would likely have been me asking Jesus about the temple. How many times do I hear His Word, and then, with my next breath, ignore it?

Lord, forgive me.

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