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The Widow’s Offering

21 Jesus was in the temple,[a] observing all the wealthy wanting to be noticed as they came with their offerings. He noticed a very poor widow dropping two small copper coins in the offering box. “Listen to me,” he said. “This poor widow has given a larger offering than any of the wealthy. For the rich only gave out of their surplus, but she sacrificed out of her poverty and gave to God all that she had to live on.”

The Signs of the End of the Age

Some of the disciples remarked about the beauty of the temple. They pointed out all the lovely adornments and how it was built with excellence from the gifts given to God.

Jesus said, “The day will come that everything you admire here will be utterly destroyed. It will all become a heap of rubble!”

“Master, tell us,” they asked, “when exactly will this happen? Can you tell us what warning sign to look for when it is about to take place?”

Jesus responded, “Deception will run rampant with many who will appear on the scene, saying I have sent them, or saying about themselves, ‘I am the Messiah!’[b] And the doomsday deceivers will say, ‘The end of the age is now here!’ But listen to me. Don’t be fooled by these imposters.

“There will also be many wars and revolutions on every side, with rumors of more wars to come. Don’t panic or give in to your fears, for these things are bound to happen. This is still not the end yet.”

10 Jesus continued, There will be upheavals of every kind. Nations will go to war against each other and kingdom against kingdom— 11 and there will be terrible earthquakes, seismic events of epic proportion, resulting in famines in one place after another. There will be horrible plagues and epidemics, cataclysmic storms[c] on the earth, and astonishing signs and cosmic disturbances in the heavens. But before all of this happens, you will be hunted down and arrested, persecuted by both civil and religious authorities, and thrown into prison. 12–13 And because you follow me, you will be on trial before kings and governmental leaders as an opportunity to testify to them in my name. 14–15 Yet determine in your hearts not to prepare for your own defense. Simply speak with the words of wisdom that I will give you that moment, and none of your persecutors will be able to withstand the grace and wisdom that comes from your mouths.

16 “You can expect betrayal even by your parents, your brothers, your relatives and friends—and yes, some of you will die as martyrs. 17 You will be hated by all because of my life in you.[d] 18 But don’t worry. My grace will never desert you or depart from your life.[e] 19 And by standing firm with patient endurance you will find your souls’ deliverance.”

The Destruction of Jerusalem

20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know for sure that its devastation is imminent.[f] 21 At that time all who are living in Judea must flee to the mountains. Those who live inside the city gates, go out and flee, and those who live outside the city must not enter it seeking refuge. 22 For these are the days of God’s vengeance to fulfill what has been written[g] against Jerusalem. 23 It will be extremely difficult for pregnant women and for those nursing little ones in that day, for there will be great persecution and wrath against this nation. 24 Many will be cut down by the sword or scattered as prisoners in many countries. And Jerusalem shall be trampled down by nations until the days of world empires come to an end.”

The Coming of the Son of Man

25 “Expect to witness amazing and perplexing signs throughout the universe with the sun, the moon, and the stars.[h] The raging of the sea will bring desperation and turmoil to many nations. 26 Earthquakes[i] will bring panic and disaster. What men see coming to the earth will cause the fear of doom to grip their hearts, for they will even see the powers of the heavenly realm shaken!

27–28 “And at last, when you see how the Son of Man[j] comes—surrounded with a cloud, with great power and miracles, in the radiance of his splendor, and with great glory and praises[k]—it will make you jump for joy! For the day of your full transformation[l] has arrived.”

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

29–30 Jesus gave his disciples this parable:

“Haven’t you observed the fig tree, or any tree, that when it buds and blooms you realize that the season is changing and summer is near? 31 In the same way, when you see these prophetic signs occurring, you realize the earth is yielding to the fullness of God’s kingdom realm. 32 I assure you, the end of this age will not come until all I have spoken comes to pass. 33 Earth and sky will wear out and fade away before one word I speak loses its power or fails to accomplish its purpose.”

Guard Your Hearts

34 “Be careful that you never allow your hearts to grow cold. Remain passionate[m] and free from anxiety and the worries of this life. Then you will not be caught off guard by what happens. Don’t let me come and find you drunk or careless in living like everyone else. 35 For that day will come as a shocking surprise to all, like a downpour[n] that drenches everyone, catching many unaware and un-prepared. 36 Keep a constant watch over your soul, and pray for the courage and grace to prevail over these things that are destined to occur and that you will stand before the presence of the Son of Man with a clear conscience.”

37 Each day, Jesus taught in the temple, and he spent his nights on the Mount of Olives. 38 And all the people came early to the temple courts to listen to the words[o] he taught.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 21:1 This would have been in the courtyard of the temple, where men and women came to deposit their contributions to the temple treasury. Historians say there were thirteen trumpet-mouthed boxes used in the courtyard for offerings.
  2. Luke 21:8 Translated from the Aramaic, it literally states, “I Am! The Messiah!”
  3. Luke 21:11 As translated from the Aramaic. Only one Greek manuscript adds, “great storms.”
  4. Luke 21:17 The Greek says, “because of my name.”
  5. Luke 21:18 Although quite different from the Greek manuscripts, this is the literal translation of the Aramaic figure of speech, “Grace will not leave your head.”
  6. Luke 21:20 This was fulfilled in AD 70 when Jerusalem was left desolate by Roman armies. Some historians estimate that more than one million Jews were slaughtered at that time and up to one hundred thousand were taken captive to other nations.
  7. Luke 21:22 See 1 Kings 9:6-9; Dan. 9:26; Hos. 9:7; Mic. 3:12.
  8. Luke 21:25 See Isa. 13:10; Ezek. 32:7-8; Joel 2:10.
  9. Luke 21:26 The word earthquakes is found only in Aramaic manuscripts.
  10. Luke 21:27 The title “Son of Man” was used frequently when Jesus spoke of himself. Note that he is not the “son of a man,” but the Son of God who became a man.
  11. Luke 21:27 “Praises” is only found in Aramaic manuscripts.
  12. Luke 21:27 The Greek word is “redemption” or “liberation.” It speaks of the total transformation of our body, soul, and spirit when we see him as he is.
  13. Luke 21:34 The Aramaic text says, “Beware that your hearts never grow cold.”
  14. Luke 21:35 Greek manuscripts have “like a snare.” The Aramaic text states, “like a downpour.”
  15. Luke 21:38 The Greek text is logos. The Aramaic is literally “manifestation.”

The Widow’s Offering(A)

21 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.(B) He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”(C)

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times(D)(E)

Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another;(F) every one of them will be thrown down.”

“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.(G) When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.(H) 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.(I)

12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me.(J) 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.(K) 15 For I will give you(L) words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends,(M) and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me.(N) 18 But not a hair of your head will perish.(O) 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.(P)

20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies,(Q) you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.(R) 22 For this is the time of punishment(S) in fulfillment(T) of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled(U) on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.(V) 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.(W) 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man(X) coming in a cloud(Y) with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”(Z)

29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God(AA) is near.

32 “Truly I tell you, this generation(AB) will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.(AC)

34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life,(AD) and that day will close on you suddenly(AE) like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray(AF) that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple,(AG) and each evening he went out(AH) to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives,(AI) 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.(AJ)

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