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The Gospel According to Luke: Chapter 21

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1He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; 2he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

5When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6“As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

7They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” 8And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ b Other ancient authorities add and those who were with him and, ‘The time is near!’ c Gk tetrarch Do not go after them.

9“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” 10Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

12“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words d Gk him and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.

20“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. a Gk he 21Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; 22for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written. 23Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; 24they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

29Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

34“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

37Every day he was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called. 38And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple.


e Other ancient authorities add and those who were with him

f Gk tetrarch

a Gk him

b Gk he

Text Commentary view alone
Commentary spanning earlier chapters

19.28–21.38 : Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem

(Mt 21.1–24.36; Mk 11.1–13.37 ).

21.1–4 : The widow's offering

(Mk 12.41–44 ).

1 :

The treasury refers here to a container (shaped like an inverted trumpet for protection against theft) to receive offerings; there were thirteen of these recepta cles in “the court of the women” of the Temple; in Jn 8.20 the term refers to a room in the Temple.

2 :

The copper coin (Gk “lepton”) was of little monetary value (see 12.59 n.) but of great cost to this giver.

21.5–6 : Foretelling the destruction of the Temple

(Mt 24.1–2; Mk 13.1–2 ). Jesus' teachings in these and the following verses are related to the material in Mk 13 , but Luke's version of that eschatological discourse offers distinctive elements and perspectives.

6 :

See 19.44n.

21.7–11 : Sayings about end‐time signs

(Mt 24.3–8; Mk 13.3–8 ).

7 :

17.20; Acts 1.6.

10 :

2 Chr 15.6;Isa 19.2 .

21.12–19 : Foretelling the persecution of the disciples

(Mt 24.9–14; Mk 13.9–13 ). These themes developed in the narrative of Acts.

18 :

12.7; Acts 27.34; 1 Sam 14.45 .

21.20–24 : The desolation of Jerusalem

(Mt 24.15–22; Mk 13.14–20. See 19.41–44n. ).

20–22 :

19.41–44; 23.28–31; 17.31 .

20 :

Armies, the Roman forces.

22 :

Cf. Isa 63.4; Jer 5.29; Hos 9.7 .

24 :

Isa 63.18; Dan 8.13 . The times of the Gentiles may mean the divinely imposed limit on Roman dominance, or the extension of salvation to all people ( 20.16 ).

21.25–28 : The coming of the Son of Man

(Mt 24.29–31; Mk 13.24–27 ).

25–27 :

These verses reflect language and elements of thought from Joel 3.3–4; Isa 24.19 (LXX); Ps 65.8; 46.4; 89.10; Wis 5.22; Jon 1.15 .

25 :

Isa 13.10; Joel 2.10; Zeph 1.15 .

26 :

Incorporates wording parallel to Isa 34.4 . The powers of the heavens are likely the celestial bodies mentioned in v. 25 .

27 :

Incorporates wording parallel to Dan7.13–14 .

21.29–33 : The lesson of the fig tree

(Mt 24.32–36; Mk 13.28–32 ).

33 :

16.17 .

21.34–36 : Admonition to alertness

(cf. Mt 24.43–51; 25.13; Mk 13.33–37 ).

34 :

8.14; 12.22; 1 Thess 5.6–7 .

36 :

2 Cor 5.10 .

21.37–38 : Summary concerning Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem.

38 :

The story of the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8.1–11 ) appears after this verse in some ancient manuscripts; see Jn 8.11 , note c.

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