Luke 21

A Poor Widow’s Offering

1 And he looked up [and] saw the rich putting their gifts into the contribution box,
2 and he saw a certain poor widow putting in there two small copper coins.
3 And he said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow put in more than all [of them].
4 For these all put [gifts] into the offering out of their abundance, but this [woman] out of her poverty put in all the means of subsistence that she had."

The Destruction of the Temple Predicted

5 And [while] some were speaking about the temple, that it was adorned with precious stones and votive offerings, he said,
6 "[As for] these [things] that you see--days will come in which not [one] stone will be left on [another] stone that will not be thrown down!"

Signs of the End of the Age

7 And they asked him, saying, "Teacher, when therefore will these [things] happen, and what [will be] the sign when these [things] are about to take place?"
8 And 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!' Do not go after them!
9 And when you hear about wars and insurrections, do not be terrified, for these [things] must happen first, but the end [will] not [be] at once."
10 Then he said to them, "nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom.
11 There will be great earthquakes and famines and plagues in [various] places. There will be terrible sights and great signs from heaven.

Persecution of Disciples Predicted

12 "But before all these [things], they will lay their hands on you and will persecute [you], handing [you] over to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and governors because of my name.
13 This will turn out to you for a [time of] witness.
14 {Therefore make up your minds} not to prepare in advance to speak in your own defense,
15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom that all your opponents will not be able to resist or contradict.
16 And you will be handed over even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put to death [some] of you.
17 And you will be hated by all because of my name.
18 Even a hair of your head will never perish!
19 By your patient endurance you will gain your lives.

The Desolation of Jerusalem

20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.
21 Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those {inside it} must depart, and those in the fields must not enter into it,
22 because these are days of vengeance, [so that] all the things that are written can be fulfilled.
23 Woe to those {who are pregnant} and to those who are nursing [their babies] in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people,
24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

The Arrival of the Son of Man

25 "And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity from the noise of the sea and [its] surging,
26 people fainting from fear and expectation of what is coming on the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 And then they will see the Son of Man arriving in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 But [when] these [things] begin to happen, stand up straight and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near!"

The Parable of the Fig Tree

29 And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees.
30 When they put out [foliage], now you see for yourselves [and] know that by this time the summer is near.
31 So also you, when you see these [things] happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 Truly I say to you that this generation will never pass away until all [things] take place!
33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Be Alert

34 "But take care for yourselves, lest your hearts are weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of daily life, and that day come upon you suddenly
35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who reside on the face of the whole earth.
36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these [things] [that] are going to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man."
37 So [throughout] the days he was teaching in the temple [courts], and [throughout] the nights he was going out [and] spending the night on the hill that is called [the Mount] of Olives.
38 And all the people were getting up very early in the morning [to come] to him in the temple [courts] to listen to 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.

Footnotes 22

  • [a]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("looked up") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [b]. This coin was the lepton, worth 1/128 of a denarius
  • [c]. *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  • [d]. *Here "[while]" is supplied as a component of the temporal genitive absolute participle ("were speaking")
  • [e]. *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  • [f]. *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  • [g]. *Here the participle ("be brought before") is translated as a finite verb because of English style
  • [h]. Literally "therefore place in your hearts"
  • [i]. Literally "in the midst of it"
  • [j]. Literally "who have in the womb"
  • [k]. *The words "[their babies]" are not in the Greek text but are supplied as a necessary clarification
  • [l]. The same Greek word, occurring three times in this verse, can be translated "nations" or "Gentiles" depending on the context
  • [m]. An allusion to Isa 34:4
  • [n]. An allusion to Dan 7:13
  • [o]. *Here "[when]" is supplied as a component of the temporal genitive absolute participle ("begin")
  • [p]. *Here the direct object is supplied from context in the English translation
  • [q]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("see") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [r]. Or "you know"
  • [s]. *Here "[courts]" is supplied to distinguish this area from the interior of the temple building itself
  • [t]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("was going out") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [u]. *The words "[to come]" are not in the Greek text but are implied
  • [v]. *Here "[courts]" is supplied to distinguish this area from the interior of the temple building itself

Luke 21 Commentaries

Scripture quotations marked (LEB) are from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.