Time is Short

In Luke chapter 21, we find Jesus sitting in the court of women, where thirteen horn shaped receptacles collected offerings.  

The scribes and pharisees would give big offerings from their surplus. Then Jesus saw a widow who gave a small offering that for the rest of the people seemed insignificant. The humble gift of the widow contrasts with the ostentatious piety of the religious leaders.  

The widow gave less, but out of her need, not her surplus. This widow modeled total commitment, something the Lord wants above all things.  

In the kingdom of God, the value of a gift is not measured in terms of amount, but by how much is left over.  

Vv. 5-6 shows us Jesus admiring the beauty of the temple. Jesus pointed out that nothing in the temple was permanent. Jesus lamented the destruction of the temple, which would occur a few decades later.  

The political situation was stable at this point. However, the Lord’s followers did not doubt his prophecy. Jesus answered their question concerning the temple, but He also wanted to set the record straight. As bad as the temple destruction would be, it would be a relatively minor event compared to the end of days. One might avoid the former, but no one could escape the latter.
Then, Jesus unfolds the future in three stages:  

  1. An overview of the future leading to the end (vv. 8-11) 

Jesus begins with a summary of future history, including a brief reference to end time calamities. There will be false alarms before the terrors and signs from heaven. Believers will be targets of persecution, even martyrdom.  

The phrase “terrors and great signs” strongly suggests metaphysical disasters, not merely more of what we experience now, vv. 12-19 give more details.  

  1. An illustration of the end time events using a near-term tragedy (vv. 20-24)  

Luke views this prediction through a different lens than Matthew. For Luke, this prediction has both near-term fulfillment and long-term fulfillment.  

Near-term fulfilment serves two purposes: to validate the authenticity of the long-term fulfillment and to illustrate in a small way the ultimate fulfillment in the distant future.
The fall of Jerusalem takes place after an era Jesus called the time of the Gentiles. In Matthew and Mark, however, the sack of Jerusalem follows the famous end time events called the abomination of desolation described in Daniel 9:27, an event still in the future for us.  

So, which destruction of Jerusalem is Jesus talking about?  

The answer is both. Luke sees the former, Matthew and Mark see the latter. Taken together, we have a composite view of the near-term and long-term events.  

  1. A description of end-time events after “the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (vv. 25-28) 

Beginning with the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, a new era begins: the time of the Gentiles. It is a time of great oppression for the Jews. Once the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled, the end times begins.  

The disasters will be supernatural, not natural, they will be directed by God as a warning to the wicked to the repent. Then Jesus will return and set up His Kingdom on earth.  

Jesus encouraged His followers, in that generation and in all generations to follow, to be in a continued state of alertness.  

This does not mean we sell our stuff and hide in caves. We are to be like a faithful servant, handle the business of the day, we are ready to fulfill our responsibilities.  

Our diligence will allow us to endure persecution and trials until He comes. It is important to remember that our lives are to be enjoyed, but not abused, treasured, but not clenched.  

Two Commands to Live When We Know that Time is Short  

1. Be on guard, avoid behavior that denies His return 
Do your priorities deny that He is your King and will reign literally as King of Kings? Regardless of your theology or what you say you believe, do your actions suggest you are living in denial of Jesus literal return?  

What we do reveals what we really believe, whether we do or do not expect His return. Look at how you spend your days and review the things you spend your time and money on. Be on guard!  

2. Keep alert, anticipating Jesus who will return   
This has to do with faithfulness in daily life that glorifies Jesus. As you examine your daily routine, would you feel affirmed or apologetic if the Lord asked for an accounting today?
Do not put life on hold but be on guard against behaviors that deny His return and instead choose to engage in activities He would find pleasing if He were to catch you in the act. Be ready!  

Pastor Chris Williams 
To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at fcfamily.org and make sure you subscribe to receive these weekly encouragements in your inbox.   

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