I tend to agree with Sean and think that , even though Jesus saw the woman’s act of giving, what the story brought to us was the great displeasure He had,!!! in that the woman was left with nothing, when she should have been the object of the the care and concern of the temple authorities. Jesus was not happy not was He positively impressed here. Nope. And He spoke of what would be the doom of such a system of religion that would take the last penny of the poor to actually finance such worthless religion as what He was witnessing. Just my take on the text.
In addition to all the great points made so far, I think Jesus is teaching his disciples to discern the heart of people and the essence of a matter. Human beings can be masters of deception. Human beings are often fooled by appearances. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart”. 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV
@TimC In what specific ways do you think Paul was teaching the disciples to discern the heart in this instance? Do you mean in terms of differentiating between false religion done for the sake of outward appearance and true religion that comes from the inward parts?
I think that you and others have covered the specifics of what he was teaching them, quite well. What strikes me is that Jesus was always teaching the general principle of being a person who discerns truth. Some of that, I think is done by gaining natural wisdom about people and wisdom about deceit. Some of it, I think, comes from praying for and learning to listen to discernment from God.
@TimC Good point! Yes, in the Bible we see both the Book of Proverbs, which teaches us to seek wisdom and above all else get understanding. And then we also see in Corinthians that spiritual things can only be discerned by those who have the Spirit. And both of those are necessary to live as God intended.