Luke 21 - Outline of Luke (MENU page)
Luke has seven chief divisions:
I. The Evangelist's Introduction, 1:1-4.
II. The human relationships of Jesus, 1:5- 2:52.
III. The baptism, ancestry, and testing of Jesus, 3:1- 4:13.
IV. The ministry of the Son of man as Prophet-King in Galilee, 4:14- 9:50.
V. The journey of the Son of Man from Galilee to Jerusalem, 9:51- 19:44
VI. The final offer of the Son of man as King to Israel, His rejection and sacrifice, 19:45- 23:56.
VII. The resurrection, the resurrection ministry, and the ascension of the Son of man, 24:1-53.
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The widow's mite: Jesus' assessment of the value of a gift.
(Mark 12:41-44)
1. And he looked up,
and saw
{GK=eido, saw with understanding} the rich men
casting their gifts into the treasury
{collection boxes in the Temple}.
2 And he saw
{GK=eido} also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you,
that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4 For all these have of their abundance
{ie., excess} cast in unto the offerings of God:
but she of her penury
{poverty, deficit, lack}
hath cast in all the living
{means of livelihood} that she had. {cp. Psa 111:1; 119:2; Mat 6:19-21
What caused Jesus, who had been warning his disciples about the hypocrisy of the religious leaders (Luk 20:45-47), to 'look up' and observe those who were dropping their coins into the temple treasury boxes? Perhaps it was the loudness of a rich man's largess. (See the Book Notes at Mat 6:1-4, about gifts accompanied by a trumpet's sound.) The rich men's gifts looked (or sounded) very generous. But their motive was to be seen of men. In contrast, none but the Lord would notice the widow's pittance.
     The Lord, who sees the hearts, seeks those who worship Him in spirit and in truth (Joh 4:23,24). He saw that the widow gave all that she had, for her heart's treasure was entrusted to God's keeping (cp. Luk 12:29-34).
     In comparison, the wealthy national and religious leaders thought relatively little of the One they claimed to worship. Because of their hypocrisy, and their rejection of Jesus the Christ, the Temple of God had become "your house" and would soon be destroyed (v.5,6; Luk 13:34,35; 19:41-44).
     The poor of the people, who knew their God, could not change the course of their country, to avoid the coming judgment. But He would preserve them (eg., Psa 72:4,5; Mal 3:16-18; Mat 5:3-12).
The Olivet Discourse (Luk 21:5-36).
(Mat 24:1- 25:46; Mark 13:1-37)
5. And as some spake of the temple,
how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
6 [As for] these things which ye behold, the days will come,
in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another,
that shall not be thrown down.
The disciples' question.
(Cf. Mat 24:3)
7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be?
and what sign [will there be] when these things shall come to pass?
The accounts of the Olivet Discourse, in Matthew and Luke, differ in emphasis.
Notice that Jesus is answering slightly different questions in the two accounts:
Notice also, that the Lord presents this information, not as 'details' for the curious, but rather as counsel and warnings for believers, to prepare them for faithful service in troubled times.
The course of this age. (v.8-19)
(Mat 24:4-14)
8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived:
for many shall come in my name, saying,
I am [Christ]; and the time draweth near:
go ye not therefore after them.
9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified:
for these things must first come to pass;
but the end [is] not by and by
{not immediately, not soon}.
10 Then said he unto them,
Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers
{various} places,
and famines, and pestilences;
and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
12 But before all these,
they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute [you],
delivering [you] up to the synagogues, and into prisons,
being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
{Joh 16:2,3}
13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony
{an opportunity for witness, eg., Php 1:12,13}.
14 Settle [it] therefore in your hearts,
not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom,
{Mat 10:18-20; Luk 12:11,12}
which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
{eg., Acts 4:8-13; 6:9,10}
(See the Note at Luk 12:11,12.)
16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents,
and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends;
and [some] of you shall they cause to be put to death.
17 And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name's sake.
{Mat 10:21,22}
18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
{Mat 10:28-30}
19 In your patience
{patient endurance} possess ye your souls.
There is no harm to Christ's followers, even in a martyr's death, because He is "the resurrection and the life" (Joh 11:25,26).
Believers who patiently endure persecution, by faith in God's promises, will not be disappointed. (Rom 8:24,25; 15:4; 2The 3:5; Jam 5:7-11; Rev 1:9)
The destruction of Jerusalem foretold. (v.20-24)
(This prophecy is unique to Luke's Gospel.)
20. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed {surrounded} with armies,
then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
{cp. Luk 19:41-44}
21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains;
and let them which are in the midst of it depart out;
and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22 For these be the days of vengeance,
that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23 But woe unto them that are with child,
and to them that give suck, in those days!
for there shall be great distress in the land,
and wrath upon this people.
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword,
and shall be led away captive into all nations:
and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles,
until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
The above paragraph bears striking similarities to Mat 24:15-22.
However, there are important differences:
  1. The sign to flee:
    • Armies surrounding Jerusalem (v.20,21).
      Jerusalem fell, in 70 AD, to the Roman general, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, whose father (the Roman emperor Vespasian) had put him in charge of the ongoing campaign to counter a Jewish revolt. In the years prior to the fall of Jerusalem, Christians left the city because of persecution and also because they gave heed to the Lord's warning.
    • The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel (Mat 24:15,16).
      This refers to the Antichrist, who will establish himself as god in the temple, during the final 42 months of the Tribulation period (2The 2:3,4; Rev 13:5-8).
  2. The purpose:
    • The Days of Vengeance (v.22,23).
      God would punish the unbelieving Jewish nation, for their historic rejection of His Word sent via multiple prophets, during the lifetime of leaders who rejected His Son (Mat 23:34-39).
    • The Great Tribulation, more severe than any before or after (Mat 24:21).
      During that future period, the Lord will judge the godless world system, referred to symbolically, as Babylon {confusion} (eg., Rev 18:2,3).
  3. The length of the time:
    • Jerusalem shall be trodden down of Gentiles, until the Times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (v.24).
      The Times of the Gentiles is a long period, which began with Nebuchadnezzar's destruction of Jerusalem (586 BC), remained in effect in 70 AD, and will continue to the end of the Great Tribulation (Rev 11:1,2). The Times of the Gentiles includes the Church Age, which began after Christ's ascension and will continue until the Rapture of the church, at the beginning of the Tribulation period.
    • No flesh would be saved, except that those days shall be shortened (Mat 24:22).
      This is the period of unprecendented Tribulation, during which God will judge the world with natural, man made, and supernatural calamities (eg., Rev 6:12-17). This period has been limited by prophetic decree to seven years (the 'seventieth week of Daniel,' Dan 9:27), with the last half of this terrible period counted down as 3.5 years, 42 months, or 1260 days (eg., Rev 11:1-3).
While v.20-24 foretold the now historic fall of Jerusalem (in 70 AD), the next verse jumps forward to the Lord's second coming, at the end of the age (near the end of the Tribulation period, described in Mat 24:15-28).
The return of the Lord in glory. (v.25-28)
(Mat 24:29-31)
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars;
and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;
the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear,
and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:
for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming
in a cloud with power and great glory.
{Mat 26:63,64; cp. Dan 7:13,14}
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,
then look up
{lit., 'unbend', stand up}, and lift up your heads;
{ie., be encouraged, and elated with expectation, cp. Psa 98:5-9}
for your redemption draweth nigh. {Isa 25:8,9; Rom 8:19,23}
The parable of the fig tree.
(Mat 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-31)
29. And he spake to them a parable;
Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth,
ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass,
know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you,
This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away:
but my words shall not pass away.
{cp. Isa 51:6; Mat 5:18}
Warnings in view of the Lord's return.
(Cf. Mat 24:36-51; Mark 13:32-37)
34 And take heed to yourselves,
lest at any time your hearts be overcharged
{weighed down}
with surfeiting
{dissipation}, and drunkenness, and cares of this life,
and [so] that day come upon you unawares
{suddenly, unexpectedly}.
35 For as a snare
{a trap} shall it come on all them
that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
{1The 5:2-6}
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always,
{cp. 1Pet 4:7; 5:8}
that ye may be accounted worthy
to escape all these things that shall come to pass,
{cp. 1The 1:9,10; 2The 1:5-12}
and to stand before the Son of man.
{cp. 1Joh 2:28; Jude 1:24}
37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple;
and at night he went out,
and abode in the mount that is called [the mount] of Olives.
38 And all the people came early in the morning
to him in the temple, for to hear him.
After presenting Himself as Israel's King, Jesus taught daily in the temple, during the week which ended with His crucifixion at Passover. (Luk 19:28-48)

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