I sometimes note illustrations here that may be useful for me to find later, and that may be useful for others as well.
Here's the teaching of Christ:
Give up everything to follow Christ
This is a familiar part of what Jesus taught: It costs to follow him.
If I'm right, the so-called "story of the widow's mite" (Mark 12:41-44) is one of the most abused passages in the New Testament.
We must read this story in its context.
In our Christianity Explored group last week, we were discussing Jesus' predictions of Peter's denials, and of his own suffering, death and resurrection, as a prelude to a very good session on Jesus' resurrection.
One of the members of the group asked a question about a detail that I had never noticed before in Mark's text:
People sometimes worry that the 4 Gospels don't tell the resurrection story in exactly the same way. This is to worry needlessly. If the 4 Gospels told the resurrection story in contradictory ways, that would be a different matter. As it is, we simply have a difference in perspective. Look at the story from different angles, you include different details and stress different things. It couldn't be otherwise. The four Gospels are not an assortment of favourite deeds of Jesus, thrown together haphazardly.
That got me thinking.
In the book of Esther we have a king with an extravagant party who makes an oath to depose his queen, which would be (for her) a kind of death. He promises a girl up to half of his kingdom, and then executes somebody because it is effectively what that girl asked for. We have someone (Haman), who has the king's ear, asking for the people of God to be put to death. Sound familiar?