Thursday, November 22, 2012

How much was the widow's mite actually worth?

According to Mark 12v42, the widow gives “2 very small copper coins” (NIV),  2 lepta in the Greek.
The lepta was the smallest coinage in circulation – so we might compare it to an offering of 2p.
Mark says (v42) a lepton is a quadrans - the equivalent Roman coin, which the NIV says is “worth only a fraction of a penny”.
James R. Edwards (Pillar Commentary on Mark) says a lapton was 1/64th of a denarius.
A denarius was the standard wage for a day’s labour (Mt 20:8-10).
Say a labourer is paid £7.25 and hour, making the daily wage £54.25
£7.25 X 7 = daily wage of £54.25
So we might guess that the widow’s offering would be worth roughly £1.70 today
£54.25 X (2/64) = £1.70
Though that might not be quite the point.
Jesus says her offering was worth more than all the others (v43).
“They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” (v44)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Unwanted Gifts

I wonder if any of this might be usable in a Christmas sermon:

Last year we spent £594 million on unwanted Christmas gifts as at least 1 in 10 of the gifts the average person received was not really what they wanted.
And people were very quick to get rid of their unwanted gifts with 1.5 million new items for sale were listed on eBay Boxing Day 2011.

Reported in Daily Mirror 12th Sept 2012 and Daily Mail 16th December 2010


Monday, November 19, 2012

The importance of seating arrangements

I noticed that in Mark 12:35-40 there's some important talk about important seating arrangements, which I don't remember the commentaries especially picking up on:

The teachers of the law forget that Christ is to be seated at the right hand of God the Father (v36).
Jesus has the most important seat in the universe, but the teachers of the law love the most important seats in the synagogue and the places of honour at banquets (v39).
They care about their own honour, not the honour of Jesus.