Study Guide

Gospel of Luke Chapter 21:5-38

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Chapter 21:5-38

Visions Of The Future

  • Everyone's talking about the beauty of the temple.
  • Quick history snack: In Jesus's day, the precinct of the temple was undergoing a renovation started by Herod the Great a few decades earlier. You can still see some of the "beautiful stones" (21:5) of this renovation standing today as part of the renowned Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
  • Field trip, anyone?
  • But back to the story. Jesus fails to share their appreciation because he knows a day is coming when all of these exquisite stones will have been tossed down.
  • When's it going to happen? Everyone wants to know.
  • Here's the checklist: false prophets, wars and revolts, terrible earthquakes everywhere, famines, plagues, and freaky astronomical occurrences.
  • Before it all goes down, followers will have a rough time of it. They can expect arrests, persecutions, trials, and prisons. They'll have to answer charges in synagogues as well as before kings and governors—all because of Jesus.
  • The bright side is that this will provide them with lots of opportunities to spread their message? (We're guessing all this apocalyptic stuff with bring Twitter down, too.)
  • By the way, a lot of these shenanigans actually occur in Acts, which is a follow-up volume to Luke. Read it and see for yourselves.
  • But Jesus doesn't want his followers to worry beforehand about how they're going to defend themselves when they're on trial.
  • Jesus promises to give them words of wisdom, and no opponent will have the ability to refute or contradict them.
  • Sadly, though, they'll be facing a pretty nasty situation: parents, brothers, relatives, and friends will be informers who'll rat them out.
  • Some of them will be executed, and general hatred will prevail against them because of their devotion to Jesus.
  • But wait!
  • Not even a single hair will perish. And remember that God's counted each hair (12:7). That's comforting, but how does it jive with the possibility of execution in 21:16?
  • When Jerusalem gets taken over, the people in Judea should get the heck out. Things will not be looking good.
  • Jerusalem's destruction is essentially divine "wrath" (21:23) against the Jewish people.
  • You should probably be asking what they did to deserve this "wrath" in Luke's view. Hint: starts with 20:16.
  • Lots of death, destruction, and overall weirdness will go down, and that's exactly when they'll see "the Son of Man coming in a cloud" (21:27).
  • That means their "redemption" (21:28) is drawing near.
  • How about another little illustration to help?
  • They know all about fig trees and their leaves. When the tree puts forth its leaves, that means it's almost time to pick its fruit.
  • Same thing here. When they witness these crazy events, they'll know God's kingdom is on its way.
  • Jesus promises, "this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place" (21:32).
  • Wait a second. The events described here in 21:25-28 haven't happened yet, right? Dare we ask whether Jesus was wrong? The challenge is to sort out Luke's understanding of this issue of timing.
  • Bottom line: they should pray to God that they'll have the strength to face up to everything that's about to occur and stand before the Son of Man.
  • End of lesson.
  • Jesus spends his days teaching in the temple, but he stays at night on the Mount of Olives. 
  • Everyone rises nice and early just to hear him. After all, it's Jesus who's teaching.

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