Sermon for June 28, 2020

“Mite”y Issues

Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4

Last week’s message focused on the oppressive culture that was present during the life of Jesus.  Under the brutal leaderships of Octavian, better known as Caesar Augustus, and Caesar Tiberius, those under their rule were taxed heavily and put under heavy requirements by the Herod’s and the governors of each province.  Not only that, the Jews had Temple requirements, which put an even heavier burden upon them.  Now look at Jesus’ statement in Luke 20:20-26:

  • Luke 20:20-26

The Jewish people were being taxed to death, both by Rome and the Temple.  Was this wrong?  Jesus says they were required to give to both Rome and God.  What was wrong was the way the priests were using the gifts given by the people.  How was it used?

  • Matthew 23:1-36

The Sanhedrin were sacrificing for Rome and on the behalf of Caesar according what is recorded by Philo[1], a Jewish philosopher from Alexandria, Egypt.  Not only that, they were also incredibly biased:

  • Ezra 4:1-6
  • John 4:5-25

According to John McKenzie in his Dictionary of the Bible[2], the Samaritans later allied themselves with the Seleucids in the Maccabean wars and in 108 B.C. the Jews destroyed the Samaritan temple and ravaged the territory. Around the time of Jesus’ birth, a band of Samaritans profaned the Temple in Jerusalem by scattering the bones of dead people in the sanctuary.  In addition, the Samaritans did not tithe to the Temple in Jerusalem either.  Understanding this, look at what Jesus teaches his disciples:

  • Mark 12:41-44
  • Luke 21:1-4

Few give everything…unconditionally!  A tithe that was meant to go to Yahweh went to the adornments of the priests and the beautiful Temple, yet there were people suffering outside its many gates.  While the majority of the Jewish people are perishing and suffering, the priests are thriving and rely on Rome when it is to their benefit.  (The arrest and trial of Jesus is prime example!)  What was next because of this?

  • Luke 21-5-19

[1] Kamesar, Adam. 2009. “Biblical Interpretation in Philo.” Chapter. In The Cambridge Companion to Philo, edited by Adam Kamesar, 65–92. Cambridge Companions to Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[2] McKenzie, John L. 1965. Dictionary of the Bible [McKenzie].  Maccabean Wars.

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