The Widow’s Offering
21:1 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box. 21:2 He also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 21:3 He said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 21:4 For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.”
We can almost hear the difference between the loud resonance as the large sums of the rich are tossed into the chest, compared with the soft tinkling sound as this woman’s coins are offered. They have given much, but will remain rich; she has given what little she had, and becomes all the more destitute.
“She…put in everything” – She might easily have kept back one of the two coins for herself, but she did not.
The Signs of the End of the Age
21:5 Now while some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and offerings, Jesus said, 21:6 “As for these things that you are gazing at, the days will come when not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!” 21:7 So they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that these things are about to take place?” 21:8 He said, “Watch out that you are not misled. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them! 21:9 And when you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be afraid. For these things must happen first, but the end will not come at once.”
Lk 21:12–17 = Mt 10:17–22
Persecution of Disciples
21:10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. 21:12 But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you, handing you over to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 21:13 This will be a time for you to serve as witnesses. 21:14 Therefore be resolved not to rehearse ahead of time how to make your defense. 21:15 For I will give you the words along with the wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 21:16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will have some of you put to death. 21:17 You will be hated by everyone because of my name. 21:18 Yet not a hair of your head will perish. 21:19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.
The Desolation of Jerusalem
21:20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21:21 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Those who are inside the city must depart. Those who are out in the country must not enter it, 21:22 because these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 21:23 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. 21:24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away as captives among all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
“Wrath against this people” – This is the only place in the Synoptic Gospels where Jesus uses the word ‘wrath’ in relation to God. This is not to say, however, that there are not many occasions when he expresses God’s hostility to evil, without actually using the word ‘wrath’.
The times of the Gentiles – The precise meaning is difficult to determine. Morris suggests various alternatives: ‘the time for the Gentiles to execute God’s judgments, or to be supreme over Israel, or to exercise the privileges hitherto belonging to Israel, or to have the gospel preached to them.’
‘This suggests either that (1) the city will be dominated for only a limited time and that during this period Gentiles will be converted to the Messiah (cf. Dan 8:13–14; 12:5–13; Mk 13:20; Rom 11:25–27) or that (2) the mission to the Gentiles will run its predestined course, and God will then turn once more to work with the nation of Israel.’ (DJG, 1st ed., art. ‘Gentiles’ (McKnight)
The contributor to HSB regards ‘the times of the Gentiles’ as meaning simply ‘the period of Gentile domination of the city’. See Rev 11:2.
France suggests that ‘in context the phrase seems to mean “for as long as God permits the Gentiles to have the upper hand.”’ France adds that, ‘no specific cutoff point for the period of Gentile dominance is stated.’
The Arrival of the Son of Man
See parallel accounts in Mt 24:29-35; Mk 13:24-31
21:25 “And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. 21:26 People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 21:27 Then they will see the Son of Man arriving in a cloud with power and great glory. 21:28 But when these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
The Parable of the Fig Tree
21:29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the other trees. 21:30 When they sprout leaves, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near. 21:31 So also you, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 21:32 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
21:34 “But be on your guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day close down upon you suddenly like a trap. 21:35 For it will overtake all who live on the face of the whole earth. 21:36 But stay alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that must happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
21:37 So every day Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, but at night he went and stayed on the Mount of Olives. 21:38 And all the people came to him early in the morning to listen to him in the temple courts.