Jesus Will Return
Explore the Bible Series
Background Passage: Luke 21:1-38
Lesson Passage: Luke 21:7-11, 25-28, 34-36
Introduction: Bible students must approach this passage with great humility. Luke 21 deals with the topic of eschatology (the study of “Last Things”), and no subject, perhaps, can produce more “heat” and less “light” than this one. Jesus’ words reveal glorious mysteries, and Christians should give diligence to understanding the Lord’s teachings; however, believers should exercise every caution in these ways.
1. Do not press beyond the text of Scripture. This topic energizes many hearted and unworthy debates, and, many times, these disputes grow from fanciful and elaborate interpretation that often, I fear, “stretches” the text beyond its clear meaning.
2. Avoid forcing the text into a particular theological system. Christians should value the work of the systematic theologian; nevertheless, some dangers attend buying into a particular system of thought. Bring your mind and heart to the Scriptures and comply with its glorious truths. Conform your thoughts to the Scriptures and let systems of thought be shaped by the text.
3. Respect the mysteries of the Bible. Not all things are equally clear in the word of God. Bow humbly before the God who transcends our creaturely frailty. The Scriptures have rendered a great service if they bring us to an end of ourselves and exalt the great and glorious Lord God. If eschatology does not promote your humility, you misapprehend and misuse it.
I. The Generous Widow (Luke 21:1-4)
A. The connection between chapters 20 and 21: The first verse of Chapter 21 follows naturally from the material that closes the previous chapter. Jesus scolded the scribes for their sinful disregard for the widows (); then, just two verses later he commended a poor widow who gave generously despite her poverty.
The poor woman and her gift (vv.1-2): Luke used a word
here to describe the significant poverty of this woman; yet, she gave willingly
and generously to the
C. The lessons of the poor widow (vv. 3-4):
Christ took note of the humble woman’s gift. He saw her act of self-sacrifice. Too often, we get distracted by the apparent
“great things” that men do in the
Giving to the Lord’s work is not measured by the amount
given, but the sacrifice made. This
woman left the
II. The Destruction of the
predicted destruction of the
questions of the disciples (vv. 7-9): The puzzled disciples did not doubt the
Lord’s prediction, but they expressed an understandable curiosity about the
events that would lead to this cataclysm. Jesus warned of false apocalyptic
prophets who would arise to draw away the hearts of the people. The disciples, Jesus taught, should not give
heed to these false men. Wars and
violence would lead up to the
A. International conflict and violence (v. 10):
The year before the Destruction of the
B. Natural cataclysms (v.11): The Apostle Paul
reminded his readers (Romans 8:19f) that sin had a significant effect on the
entire created order, and creation groans under the weight of this futility and
corruption. Apocalyptic literature often
includes comments similar to the words Jesus uttered in this passage. These statements about “terrors and great
signs from heaven” may very well point beyond the scope of the years preceding
the destruction of
C. Persecution of the disciples (vv. 12-19): The Lord’s followers must expect the hostility of the world and vigorous persecution, for the sake of Christ. Jesus anticipated that persecution would be the “norm” for believers. They should anticipate these hardships, Jesus said, and not lose heart when these difficulties arise. Their maltreatment will give opportunity for the saints to witness to the glory of Christ and his gospel. The Lord promised that he would give his suffering people great wisdom and the words to say when they encountered hostility, and their witness would strike their persecutors speechless. Accusations, Jesus said, would come from the closest relationships in life: parents, brothers, relatives and friends. All kinds of men would hate God’s people, and some of the saints would even die for their faith in Christ. Nevertheless, these hostile persons can do not real harm to the Lord’s elect (see v. 18). Suffering saints must persevere in their faith and, in doing so, they will come to great triumph and salvation.
The attack on
IV. Predictions Concerning the Second Coming (Luke -29)
A. The time of the Gentiles will conclude with calamitous events in the heavens and dismay among the nations of the earth.
B. Men’s hearts will fail in the face of the glorious return of Christ. The courage of the wicked will fail and the powers of the heavens, perhaps a reference to Satanic powers, will be shaken. Geldenhuys believes that this statement refers to the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, and stars), but the word “powers” seems to indicate beings of dynamic power.
C. All beings will see the glorious return of the Lord (v. 27).
D. God’s people will meet these events with unshakable confidence (v. 28). The Second Coming of the Lord will strike terror in the hearts of the wicked, but the Lord’s people will meet his return with hopeful and expectant assurance.
Conclusion: Jesus ended this discourse with a simple, profound parable and a sober warning to his disciples.
Parable of the Fig Tree (vv. 29-33): Just as the husbandman knew that the
budding of the fig tree foreshadowed the arrival of summer, so the appearance
of these signs would signal, for the watchful and faithful servants of Christ, that the
B. Jesus provided a three-fold admonition for his followers as they anticipated the Second Coming.
1. “Take heed to yourselves”: They must avoid the weight and distraction of ungodly living as they prepared for the Lord’s return.
2. “Watch”: They must remain alert to the spiritual dangers around them and the indications that Christ’s return grew near.
3. “Pray”: In particular, Jesus instructed them to pray for strength to escape the great calamities that would come upon the earth.