21:1Jesuslooked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Those copper coins had the lowest value of any coins at the time. The Greek word translated ‘poor’ means ‘very poor, or poorest.’ These coins truly were all she had to live on. In a way, any contribution we make is out of the abundance of what God has blessed us with, but God looks at the heart. This woman gave out of her poverty (sacrificially). She gave in faith, knowing that God was trustworthy and would care for her.
Also, notice that Jesus knew the details of her situation and that of every other person who was putting their gifts into the offering box. All through the Gospel of Luke we have seen that Jesus knows the hearts of all people.
Chapter 21 begins the prophetic section of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is asked, “When shall these things be and what will be the sign.” They are asking about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, which happened in 70 AD. Jesus’ answer encompasses both the destruction in 70 AD as well as the final judgment over the whole world. There are many opposing opinions about how this will finally play out, but for our study, we will concentrate on Jesus’ positive statements about how we are to watch, and wait, and live, and testify and trust. Keep in mind that every generation has thought that they were living in the end times. The Bible tells us that we will not know the day, but we are to expect Christ’s return and we are to be ready.
5And 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, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 7And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” 8And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. 9And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
10Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. 13This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be delivered up even by parents and brothersand relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17You will be hated by all for my name's sake. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your lives.
Re: verse 18: The previous verses show that this promise is spiritual. The destruction of a believer’s body could not take away his eternal life
Re: verse 19: The Christian's battle is won by endurance and not by violence; we are called to patiently endure. Christ will preserve us; we don’t need to do that for ourselves.
20“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21Then 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, 22for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23Alas 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 wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Changes in the celestial bodies will cause the tides to change. It will be a fearful time. Everyone alive at the time will see and know.
29And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Discuss dual nature of “this generation.” (the generation at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the later generation at the time of the final judgment and return of Christ. Those without Christ will be terrorized, but those who know Christ will have confidence that their salvation is at hand.
34“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Only Christ’s own people can ever hope to stand in his presence. We stand in his righteousness, not our own.
37And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. 38And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.
Jesus continued to teach daily in the temple and no one stopped him. He slept at the Mount of Olives, where this discourse was preached, but returned to the temple early in the morning and the people were there, ready to hear him.