Luke chapter 21

A widow’s meager offering. Jesus foretells future events leading up to his own return. The parable of the fig tree. Be ready at all times.

 


 

A WIDOW’S MEAGER OFFERING

 

VERSE 1. He looked up and saw the rich people who were putting their gifts into the treasury.

 

VERSE 2. He saw a certain poor widow casting in two small brass coins.

He saw. Jesus notices. He notices people the religious leaders ignore.

two small brass coins. These were the tiniest of currency units.

 

VERSE 3. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow put in more than all of them,

 

VERSE 4. for all these put in gifts for God from their abundance, but she, out of her poverty, put in all that she had to live on.”

all that she had to live on. She contributed 100% of her money. She is a hero of the spirituality of giving.

 

JESUS FORETELLS THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE

 

VERSE 5. As some were talking about the temple and how it was decorated with beautiful stones and gifts, he said,

stones and gifts. Lots of people are impressed with the adornment of buildings.

 

VERSE 6. “As for these things which you see, the days will come, in which there will not be left here one stone on another that will not be thrown down.”

 

VERSE 7. They asked him, “Teacher, so when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are about to happen?”

when will these things be? This question prompts Jesus to speak. The verses that follow are a treasure-trove of insights into the triumphal return of Jesus Christ in glory at the End of Time.

 

JESUS FORETELLS FALSE MESSIAHS

 

VERSE 8. He said, “Watch out that you don’t get led astray, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is at hand.’ Therefore don’t follow them.

Watch out that you don’t get led astray. It is very easy to be led astray by Christian preachers. They point to wars and calamities and persecution as “proof” that Jesus will return immediately.

However, the Lord Jesus Christ says these are NOT signs of his return.

saying, ‘I am he,’ There is only one Messiah. All others are false messiahs.

The time is at hand. This is the message of a false messiah.

And in our day, it is the message of many preachers who claim to have a Bible-based message.

 

VERSE 9. When you hear of wars and disturbances, don’t be terrified, for these things must happen first, but the end won’t come immediately.”

wars and disturbances. Whenever a fresh war breaks out somewhere, some Christian preachers speak as if it is proof that Christ will return immediately.

That is the exact message of the false messiah we saw in verse 8 above: “the time is near.”

the end won’t come immediately. Jesus Christ says that when you hear of wars, the end is NOT near.

 

JESUS FORETELLS WARS AND PERSECUTION

 

VERSE 10. Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

 

VERSE 11. There will be great earthquakes, famines, and plagues in various places. There will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

 

VERSE 12. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you up to synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for my name’s sake.

they will lay their hands on you. That is, they will arrest and imprison you.

The imprisonment of Christians is NOT a sign of the return of Jesus.

 

VERSE 13. It will turn out as a testimony for you.

 

VERSE 14. Settle it therefore in your hearts not to meditate beforehand how to answer,

 

VERSE 15. for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to withstand or to contradict.

I will give you a mouth and wisdom. This was seen in some of the great heroes of the faith. They did not prepare in advance, and they had a remarkable wisdom that nobody could refute.

 

VERSE 16. You will be handed over even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will cause some of you to be put to death.

You will be handed over. Some Christians will be betrayed by members of their own family.

some of you to be put to death. The martyrdom of Christians is NOT a sign of the return of Jesus.

 

VERSE 17. You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake.

for my name’s sake. Some Christians stir up hatred against themselves by being obnoxious and offensive. Then they congratulate themselves that they are hated.

However, they are not hated because of Jesus Christ. Instead, they are hated because they are obnoxious and offensive.

 

VERSE 18. And not a hair of your head will perish.

not a hair of your head will perish. In the previous verses, Jesus said we will be persecuted and martyred. Now he says not even a hair on our head will be damaged.

How do we reconcile this apparent difference? Here are two ideas:

  • Interpret in a “spiritual” sense: even if we die, we are protected eternally by God.
  • Interpret in a “literal” sense: at least some people will enter the kingdom of God while still alive.

 

VERSE 19. “By your endurance you will win your lives.

you will win your lives. That is, you will keep your lives. Does this mean our eternal life, or does it mean our physical life?

 

JESUS FORETELLS THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM

 

VERSE 20. “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is at hand.

Jerusalem surrounded by armies. The evil Roman empire destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD.

 

VERSE 21. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let those who are in the middle of her depart. Let those who are in the country not enter therein.

 

VERSE 22. For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

 

VERSE 23. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who nurse infants in those days! For there will be great distress in the land, and wrath to this people.

 

VERSE 24. They will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

the times of the Gentiles. There will be another era of Gentile domination. It will begin just before the Messiah returns in glory:

Zechariah 14:1-2. Behold, a day of the LORD comes, when your plunder will be divided within you. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city will go out into captivity, and the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.

 

THE RETURN OF THE SON OF MAN

 

VERSE 25. There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and on the earth anxiety of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the waves;

signs in the sun, moon, and stars. How many people will notice these signs in the cosmos? Will they be giant and unmistakeable? Will they be trivial?

 

VERSE 26. men fainting for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world: for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

 

VERSE 27. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

see the Son of Man coming in a cloud. When Jesus Christ returns, he will appear with great power and glory. People refer to this as the End of Time, or the End of Days:

Daniel 7:13-14. I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14Dominion was given him, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away, and his kingdom that which will not be destroyed.

Mark 2:10. But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—

Mark 14:62. Jesus said, “I am. You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of the sky.”

Luke 21:27. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

 

VERSE 28. But when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near.”

look up, and lift up your heads. Many believers think the return of Jesus Christ will be terrifying. However, it is a time to rejoice. After all, Jesus our love is back!

 

THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE

 

VERSE 29. He told them a parable. “See the fig tree and all the trees.

 

VERSE 30. When they are already budding, you see it and know by your own selves that the summer is already near.

 

VERSE 31. Even so you also, when you see these things happening, know that God’s Kingdom is near.

when you see these things happening. What things? Of the many criteria we have examined in this chapter, which ones are “these things?”

God’s Kingdom is near. In this context, Jesus is probably referring to his own triumphal return in glory at the end of time. He is probably saying it is immanent.

 

VERSE 32. Most certainly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things are accomplished.

Most certainly I tell you. Finally! Here is the certainty that people look for.

this generation. What does “this generation” mean? Does it mean that Jesus Christ’s first disciples would witness the destruction of the temple? Does it mean that he will still have followers in the distant future, when he returns in glory?

 

VERSE 33. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

BE READY AT ALL TIMES

 

VERSE 34. “So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly.

In the Philokalia, St. Isaiah the Solitary refers to this verse.

 

VERSE 35. For it will come like a snare on all those who dwell on the surface of all the earth.

all those who dwell on … the earth. Nobody will be able to ignore these events.

 

VERSE 36. Therefore be watchful all the time, praying that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

be watchful all the time. It is very easy to get tangled up in the many aspects of daily life, and not be ready for the return of Jesus Christ.

The return of Jesus Christ will be both unexpected and universal:

  • Unexpected means people won’t be predicting it.
  • Universal means it isn’t just a “personal” meeting of Jesus Christ at one’s own death, but rather a planet-wide End of Days.

 

VERSE 37. Every day Jesus was teaching in the temple, and every night he would go out and spend the night on the mountain that is called Olivet.

 

VERSE 38. All the people came early in the morning to him in the temple to hear him.

early in the morning. People were very motivated to hear Jesus.

 


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LUKE

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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

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