Text: Luke 21
Event(s): The widow’s two mites; The signs of the times and the end of the age; The destruction of Jerusalem; The coming of the Son of Man; The parable of the Fig Tree; The importance of watching
Luke 21:1-4 “The widow’s two mites” Notice this woman’s offering is measured not by the amount of the money itself, (this was the smallest currency available at the time) but in the level of sacrifice. It was all she had. I’m reminded of the time King David was looking to purchase a piece of land to build an altar and sacrifice to God. The owner of a particular piece of land offered to donate it to David once he learned what the king would be using it for. Many of us would consider that a blessing, right? David said no. “No, but I will certainly buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24
Luke 21:7 “..when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?“Matthew and Mark recorded that the disciples also asked “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Jesus went on to answer their questions, but notice how His focus was more on what took place within the disciples than what took place around them. There are plenty of deep eschatological studies available that talk about the end times. Many of them, I study. Much of it, I understand; much of it I don’t yet – and I’m okay with that. But for the purpose of this 80-day study, it’s not my intent to dive into a deep teaching on this. We simply wouldn’t have the time or space to do it justice. However, what I do want to draw our attention to is that regardless of our level of understanding, it is alertness, readiness, and perseverance that Jesus was stressing to His disciples (and to us) here.
Here’s what I hear in Jesus’ words: These things are going to happen, but do not be terrified; do not be afraid. Guard your heart. Ready your heart. Abide in truth. Persevere. Seek out the truth of God’s word so that you know it for yourself. Listen for My voice through the Holy Spirit. I will guide you and lead you into all truth.
As I continue to grow and learn, keeping this as my focus is how I manage the gap between where I am and what I’m growing towards.
Luke 21:15 “I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all of your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.” I once heard this verse misused by a communicator who lacked the discipline to prepare before speaking (a message). Jesus is not talking about preparation for a sermon, He’s talking about a speech of defense against accusations for which God will give wisdom and the words through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 21:19 “By patience possess your souls.” Our souls consist of our mind, will and emotions. Possessing our souls means to take ownership of them. In other words, we don’t let them run wild and out of control but we learn, through patience, how to restrain them.
Luke 21:34-36 “lest you be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life…” What we often consider ourselves “free to do” can actually be a weight that results in making us dull. I try and avoid things altogether that have the ability to confuse my thoughts or that can weaken my inhibitions. We all know what we need or don’t need in order to stay spiritually sharp and alert.
Today’s Takeaway: The purpose of prophecy is for edification, exhortation and comfort (1 Corinthians 14:3). The fruit of it should build us up in Christ and encourage us, pointing us to the greatness and goodness of God, not tear us down or evoke fear. (Though to those who are far away from God, I can certainly understand how it would cause fear. Yet again, we must remember this is why we’ve been given the ministry and message of reconciling people to God.) One of the things that blows me away is that Jesus prophesied all these things not as God, but as a man, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Revelation is a byproduct of relationship and I’m stirred to know Him more.
Additional (optional) reading: Parallel accounts of today’s text can be found in Mark 12:41-44 and Mark 13:1-37 as well as Matthew 24:1-51