Read Luke Chapter 21
While talking about the temple Jesus draws their attention to the futility of giving to it, since its days and use are numbered. The account of the widows gift to the temple may seem out of place just prior to the discourse about end times, but talking of its future highlights the contrast between how devoted the people were to this institution which became redundant long ago and its imminent destruction (which happened only 40 years later in AD70).
We must not skip by the big hearted little story of the widow, since it affects us all. The emphasis on giving here is upon the sacrifice made in the giving itself not the amount given; a matter of the heart. It’s easy to give when you have plenty, but what about when it hurts a little? The question for us is this: How much do we trust God and how much value do we put on our belongings? After all, everything came from Him anyway and you can’t take it with you!
Luke 21:3 “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them”
It’s interesting how Jesus starts his ‘future events talk’ with the warning about being mislead. Since the beginning of the church, many have come in His name, but really haven’t. There are many strange and twisted versions of the Gospel and of Jesus’ teaching, the worst of them being the ones which are closest to the truth; a bit like a little rat poison in a jar of sherbet: It looks tasty, but why take the risk.
Luke 21:8 “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them.”
We must not be overly engrossed in how things are going to go before the end; it can produce an unhealthy negative balance in our thinking and perhaps affect our work for Him. Likewise we mustn’t be lazy and stick our heads in the sand and just say, ‘it will all pan out in the end’. We must look at the what the Bible says but not get divisive over it; love for our fellow brethren must be paramount.
The facts are these: Wars and natural disasters will happen in increasing measure; Christians will be persecuted and suffer, because, ironically, the world hates our message; we will be hated and betrayed and called to account, but Jesus will help us to know what to say when we do; we will see a focus on Israel and Jerusalem (although some believe all these events point to AD70 and the destruction of the temple); Jesus will return and it will be preceded by signs which we will be able to see.
Luke 21:28 “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
It’s important to remember in all of this, that our salvation is secure (21:18); that these things should encourage us, because our redemption (21:28) and the Kingdom of God (21:31) is drawing near; that we should remain faithful, hopeful and trusting because God has these things worked out (21:32-33, Acts 1:6-8).
Luke 21:34 “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap.”
Be on your guard, don’t be overly distracted by the pleasures or the worries of life. Stay alert, pray for the strength to persevere and take up Jesus’ habit of drawing away from it all to rest a while (21:37).