109The Widow’s Offering

“…Paul confirms this security we all have as
believers when he states that “My God shall supply ALL your needs according to his riches in glory, by
Christ Jesus.”

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  1. I thoroughly enjoy all these videos and I thank you NG for taking the time to help increase my understanding of the context behind/within the text. One quick question in reference to this account of the widow’s offering please. It was mentioned that a Jewish belief was the possibility of buying oneself into Heaven. I have been looking for a reference to this in my sources. My search is certainly not an exhaustive one to date. I would appreciate knowing the source for this comment. Perhaps it was referenced in the Mi’drash or Mishnah?

    Thank You,
    Bill Railey

    1. Hi Bill! I got a hold of PJ and here’s his response:

      My statement was that it was ‘popular belief’ which doesn’t translate to just Jews believing you could buy your way into heaven, but here is one of the commentaries i read. This is one spin on that comment. I don’t necessarily agree with everything here but he did make comment of people in those days making offerings with intentions of earning or ‘buying ‘ salvation.

      In “The Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah”, Alfred Edersheim covers the Rabbinic approach to “repentance” (Book 3, Chapter 17, Paragraphs 5-11) and how it differs from Christ’s teaching on the subject. In this discussion, he clearly lays out the 4 distinct needs for repentance, and the subsequent ‘methods’ of repentance necessary in each of those needs. The Widow most likely had something in her life or her family’s life which was not in harmony with God. By offering all she had to God, she was keeping with the Jewish concept of repentance (Teshua) which meant to “return” – rather than the New Testament concept of Metanoia; to turn the mind.. If she had any hope of “returning” to God’s favor and blessing, she was required (according to the final pages of the tractate for Yom Kippur) to make atonement for her sin in suffering. This was in line with the 3rd position of repentance in the Jewish system – perpetual, willing, and un-repentant sin. This sin could have been attributed to an ancestor and passed to her through lineage. She was taught, in her religio-legal upbringing, that she must make atonement for that sin in order to be returned to righteousness. And, without a return to righteousness, there was no hope of a favorable afterlife – whether that afterlife be embodied in future generations or life in Sheol. By willingly creating her own suffering as an act of repentance, and by allowing that suffering to be the result of an “Offering To God”, she was essentially ‘buying’ her way back into the eternal good graces of God – or “buying her way in to heaven”.

      Thank you for your inquiry!

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