Luke 21

Listen to Luke 21

The Widow's Offering

1 1Jesus[a] looked up and saw the rich 2putting their gifts into 3the offering box,
2 and he saw a poor widow put in two 4small copper coins.[b]
3 And he said, "Truly, I tell you, 5this poor widow has put in more than all of them.
4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her 6poverty put in all 7she had to live on."

Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple

5 8And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said,
6 "As for these things that you see, 9the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down."
7 And they asked him, "Teacher, 10when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?"
8 And he said, 11"See that you are not led astray. For 12many will come in my name, saying, 13'I am he!' and, 14'The time is at hand!' Do not go after them.
9 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be 15terrified, for these things 16must first take place, but the end will not be at once."

Jesus Foretells Wars and Persecution

10 Then he said to them, 17"Nation will rise against nation, and 18kingdom against kingdom.
11 There will be great 19earthquakes, and in various places 20famines and pestilences. And there will be 21terrors and great 22signs from heaven.
12 But before all this 23they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to 24the synagogues and 25prisons, and you 26will be brought before 27kings and 28governors for my name's sake.
13 29This will be your opportunity to bear witness.
14 Settle it therefore in your minds 30not to meditate beforehand how to answer,
15 for 31I will give you a mouth and 32wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or 33contradict.
16 You will be delivered up 34even by parents and brothers[c] and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death.
17 35You will be hated by all for my name's sake.
18 But 36not a hair of your head will perish.
19 By your 37endurance you will gain your lives.

Jesus Foretells Destruction of Jerusalem

20 "But 38when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that 39its desolation has come near.
21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it,
22 for these are 40days of 41vengeance, to fulfill 42all that is written.
23 43Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and 44wrath against this people.
24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and 45be led captive among all nations, and 46Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, 47until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

The Coming of the Son of Man

25 "And 48there will be signs in sun and moon 49and stars, and on the earth 50distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,
26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For 51the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 And then they will see 52the Son of Man coming in a cloud 53with power and great glory.
28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and 54raise your heads, because 55your redemption is drawing near."

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

29 And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.
30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see 56for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.
31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 57Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.
33 58Heaven and earth will pass away, but 59my words will not pass away.

Watch Yourselves

34 "But watch yourselves 60lest 61your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and 62cares of this life, and 63that day come upon you suddenly 64like a trap.
35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 But 65stay awake at all times, 66praying that you may 67have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and 68to stand before the Son of Man."
37 And 69every day he was teaching in the temple, but 70at night he went out and lodged on 71the mount called Olivet.
38 And early in the morning 72all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.

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.

Cross References 72

  • 1. For ver. 1-4, see Mark 12:41-44
  • 2. 2 Kings 12:9
  • 3. John 8:20(Gk.)
  • 4. Luke 12:59
  • 5. [2 Corinthians 8:2, 12]
  • 6. [Philippians 4:11]
  • 7. Luke 8:43
  • 8. For ver. 5-36, see Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 13:1-37
  • 9. Luke 19:43, 44; See Luke 17:22
  • 10. [Acts 1:6, 7]
  • 11. Jeremiah 29:8; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 John 3:7
  • 12. Jeremiah 14:14; 1 John 2:18
  • 13. See John 8:24
  • 14. [Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15]
  • 15. Luke 24:37
  • 16. Revelation 1:1
  • 17. 2 Chronicles 15:6; [Revelation 6:4]
  • 18. Isaiah 19:2
  • 19. Revelation 6:12
  • 20. Acts 11:28; Revelation 6:8
  • 21. Isaiah 19:17
  • 22. Luke 11:16; Matthew 16:1; Mark 8:11; [ver. 25; Revelation 12:1, 3; Revelation 13:13; Revelation 15:1]
  • 23. For ver. 12-17, [Matthew 10:17-22]
  • 24. Acts 22:19; Acts 26:11
  • 25. Acts 4:3; Acts 5:18; Acts 8:3; Acts 12:4; Acts 16:24; Acts 24:27; 2 Corinthians 11:23
  • 26. See Acts 16:19
  • 27. [Acts 27:24]
  • 28. Acts 17:6; Acts 18:12; Acts 24:1; Acts 25:6
  • 29. [Phil. 1:13, 14, 19]
  • 30. Luke 12:11
  • 31. [Exodus 4:12; Jeremiah 1:9]
  • 32. Acts 6:10
  • 33. [Acts 4:14]
  • 34. [Luke 12:53; Matthew 10:35]
  • 35. John 15:18-21; [Luke 6:22]
  • 36. [ver. 16; John 10:28]; See 1 Samuel 14:45
  • 37. Romans 5:3; [Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13]; See Hebrews 10:36
  • 38. See Luke 19:43
  • 39. Daniel 9:27
  • 40. Isaiah 34:8; Isaiah 63:4; Hosea 9:7
  • 41. [Luke 18:7, 8]
  • 42. See Matthew 1:22
  • 43. Luke 23:29
  • 44. 1 Thessalonians 2:16
  • 45. [Deuteronomy 28:64]
  • 46. Revelation 11:2; [Psalms 79:1; Isaiah 63:3, 18; Daniel 8:13; Zechariah 12:3]
  • 47. [Daniel 12:7; Romans 11:25]
  • 48. Isaiah 13:10; Isaiah 24:23; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:10, 31; Joel 3:15; Acts 2:20; [Amos 5:20; Amos 8:9; Zephaniah 1:15; Revelation 6:12; Revelation 8:12]
  • 49. Revelation 6:13; [Isaiah 14:12; Isaiah 34:4]
  • 50. [Psalms 65:7]
  • 51. [Isaiah 34:4]
  • 52. See Daniel 7:13
  • 53. Matthew 26:64; Mark 9:1; [Matthew 25:31]
  • 54. Job 10:15
  • 55. Romans 8:23; Ephesians 4:30; [Romans 13:11]; See Luke 1:68
  • 56. Luke 12:57; [Matthew 16:3]
  • 57. See Luke 9:27
  • 58. Psalms 102:26; Isaiah 51:6; 2 Peter 3:10; [Matthew 5:18; Hebrews 12:27]
  • 59. Psalms 119:89; Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23, 25
  • 60. [Romans 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 7; 1 Peter 4:7]
  • 61. James 5:5
  • 62. [Matthew 13:22]
  • 63. 1 Thessalonians 5:3, 4; [Luke 12:40]
  • 64. Ecclesiastes 9:12; Isaiah 24:17
  • 65. Luke 12:37; Matthew 25:13; Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:34-38; Acts 20:31; 1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Peter 5:8
  • 66. See Luke 18:1
  • 67. [Hosea 12:4]
  • 68. See Revelation 6:17
  • 69. See Matthew 26:55
  • 70. Luke 22:39; Matthew 21:17; Mark 11:19; [John 8:1; John 18:2]
  • 71. See Matthew 21:1
  • 72. [See ver. 37 above]

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Greek He
  • [b]. Greek two lepta; a lepton was a Jewish bronze or copper coin worth about 1/128 of a denarius (which was a day's wage for a laborer)
  • [c]. Or parents and brothers and sisters

Luke 21 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.