Luke 21

The Widow's Gift

1 He looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury.
2 He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins.[a]
3 "I tell you the truth," He said. "This poor widow has put in more than all of them.
4 For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on."

Destruction of the Temple Predicted

5 As some were talking about the temple complex, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God,[b] He said,
6 "These things that you see-the days will come when not one stone will be left on another that will not be thrown down!"

Signs of the End of the Age

7 "Teacher," they asked Him, "so when will these things be? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?"
8 Then He said, "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time is near.' Don't follow them.
9 When you hear of wars and rebellions, [c] don't be alarmed. Indeed, these things must take place first, but the end won't come right away."
10 Then He told them: "Nation will be raised up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
11 There will be violent earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven.
12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of My name.
13 It will lead to an opportunity for you to witness. [d]
14 Therefore make up your minds [e] not to prepare your defense ahead of time,
15 for I will give you such words [f] and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
16 You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will kill some of you.
17 You will be hated by everyone because of My name,
18 but not a hair of your head will be lost.
19 By your endurance gain [g] your lives.

The Destruction of Jerusalem

20 "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that its desolation has come near.
21 Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains! Those inside the city [h] must leave it, and those who are in the country must not enter it,
22 because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things that are written.
23 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for there will be great distress in the land [i] and wrath against this people.
24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles [j] until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

The Coming of the Son of Man

25 "Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring sea and waves. [k]
26 People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that are coming on the world, because the celestial powers will be shaken.
27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud [l] with power and great glory.
28 But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!"

The Parable of the Fig Tree

29 Then He told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.
30 As soon as they put out [leaves] you can see for yourselves and recognize that summer is already near.
31 In the same way, when you see these things happening, recognize [m] that the kingdom of God is near.
32 I assure you: This generation will certainly not pass away until all things take place.
33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

The Need for Watchfulness

34 "Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled [n] from carousing, [o] drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly
35 like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth.
36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength [p] to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man."
37 During the day, He was teaching in the temple complex, but in the evening He would go out and spend the night on what is called the Mount of Olives.
38 Then all the people would come early in the morning to hear Him in the temple complex.

Luke 21 Commentary

Chapter 21

Christ commends a poor widow. (1-4) His prophecy. (5-28) Christ exhorts to watchfulness. (29-38)

Verses 1-4 From the offering of this poor widow, learn that what we rightly give for the relief of the poor, and the support of God's worship, is given unto God; and our Saviour sees with pleasure whatever we have in our hearts to give for the relief of his members, or for his service. Blessed Lord! the poorest of thy servants have two mites, they have a soul and a body; persuade and enable us to offer both unto thee; how happy shall we be in thine accepting of them!

Verses 5-28 With much curiosity those about Christ ask as to the time when the great desolation should be. He answers with clearness and fulness, as far as was necessary to teach them their duty; for all knowledge is desirable as far as it is in order to practice. Though spiritual judgements are the most common in gospel times, yet God makes use of temporal judgments also. Christ tells them what hard things they should suffer for his name's sake, and encourages them to bear up under their trials, and to go on in their work, notwithstanding the opposition they would meet with. God will stand by you, and own you, and assist you. This was remarkably fulfilled after the pouring out of the Spirit, by whom Christ gave his disciples wisdom and utterance. Though we may be losers for Christ, we shall not, we cannot be losers by him, in the end. It is our duty and interest at all times, especially in perilous, trying times, to secure the safety of our own souls. It is by Christian patience we keep possession of our own souls, and keep out all those impressions which would put us out of temper. We may view the prophecy before us much as those Old Testament prophecies, which, together with their great object, embrace, or glance at some nearer object of importance to the church. Having given an idea of the times for about thirty-eight years next to come, Christ shows what all those things would end in, namely, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the utter dispersion of the Jewish nation; which would be a type and figure of Christ's second coming. The scattered Jews around us preach the truth of Christianity; and prove, that though heaven and earth shall pass away, the words of Jesus shall not pass away. They also remind us to pray for those times when neither the real, nor the spiritual Jerusalem, shall any longer be trodden down by the Gentiles, and when both Jews and Gentiles shall be turned to the Lord. When Christ came to destroy the Jews, he came to redeem the Christians that were persecuted and oppressed by them; and then had the churches rest. When he comes to judge the world, he will redeem all that are his from their troubles. So fully did the Divine judgements come upon the Jews, that their city is set as an example before us, to show that sins will not pass unpunished; and that the terrors of the Lord, and his threatenings against impenitent sinners, will all come to pass, even as his word was true, and his wrath great upon Jerusalem.

Verses 29-38 Christ tells his disciples to observe the signs of the times, which they might judge by. He charges them to look upon the ruin of the Jewish nation as near. Yet this race and family of Abraham shall not be rooted out; it shall survive as a nation, and be found as prophesied, when the Son of man shall be revealed. He cautions them against being secure and sensual. This command is given to all Christ's disciples, Take heed to yourselves, that ye be not overpowered by temptations, nor betrayed by your own corruptions. We cannot be safe, if we are carnally secure. Our danger is, lest the day of death and of judgment should come upon us when we are not prepared. Lest, when we are called to meet our Lord, that be the furthest from our thoughts, which ought to be nearest our hearts. For so it will come upon the most of men, who dwell upon the earth, and mind earthly things only, and have no converse with heaven. It will be a terror and a destruction to them. Here see what should be our aim, that we may be accounted worthy to escape all those things; that when the judgements of God are abroad, we may not be in the common calamity, or it may not be that to us which it is to others. Do you ask how you may be found worthy to stand before Christ at that day? Those who never yet sought Christ, let them now go unto him; those who never yet were humbled for their sins, let them now begin; those who have already begun, let them go forward and be kept humbled. Watch therefore, and pray always. Watch against sin; watch in every duty, and make the most of every opportunity to do good. Pray always: those shall be accounted worthy to live a life of praise in the other world, who live a life of prayer in this world. May we begin, employ, and conclude each day attending to Christ's word, obeying his precepts, and following his example, that whenever he comes we may be found watching.

Footnotes 16

  • [a]. Lit two lepta; the lepton was the smallest and least valuable Gk coin in use.
  • [b]. Gifts given to the temple in fulfillment of vows to God
  • [c]. Or insurrections, or revolutions
  • [d]. Lit lead to a testimony for you
  • [e]. Lit Therefore place (determine) in your hearts
  • [f]. Lit you a mouth
  • [g]. Other mss read endurance you will gain
  • [h]. Lit inside her
  • [i]. Or the earth
  • [j]. Or nations
  • [k]. Ps 46:2-3; 65:7; Isaiah 17:12; Jl 2:30-31
  • [l]. Dn 7:13
  • [m]. Or you know
  • [n]. Lit your hearts are not weighed down
  • [o]. Or hangovers
  • [p]. Other mss read you may be counted worthy

Luke 21 Commentaries

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