The Widow’s Offering
1Jesus observed all the wealthy coming into the temple courts wanting to be noticed as they came with their offerings. 2He noticed a very poor widow who dropped two small copper coins in the offering box. 3“Listen to me,” he said. “This poor widow has given a larger offering than any of the wealthy. 4For the rich only gave out of their surplus, but she sacrificed out of her poverty and gave to God all that she had to live on.”
The Signs of the End of the Age
5Some of the disciples remarked about the beauty of the temple. They pointed out all the lovely adornments and how it was built with excellence from the gifts given to God.
Jesus said, 6“The day of utter destruction will come to everything you admire here. It will all become a heap of rubble!”
7“Master, tell us,” they asked, “when exactly will this happen? Can you tell us what warning sign to look for when it is about to take place?”
8Jesus responded, “Deception will run rampant and many will appear on the scene, saying I have sent them, or saying about themselves, ‘I am the Messiah!’ # 21:8 Translated from the Aramaic, where it literally states, “I Am! The Messiah!” These doomsday deceivers will say, ‘The end of the age is now here!’ But listen to me. Don’t let any of these imposters fool you.
9“There will also be many wars and revolutions on every side, with rumors of more wars to come. Don’t panic or give in to your fears, for these things are bound to happen. This is still not the end yet.”
10Jesus continued, “There will be upheavals of every kind. Nations will go to war against each other, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be terrible earthquakes and seismic events of epic proportion that result in famines in one place after another. There will be horrible plagues and epidemics, cataclysmic storms # 21:11 As translated from the Aramaic. Only one Greek manuscript adds, “great storms.” on the earth, and astonishing signs and cosmic disturbances in the heavens. But before all of this happens, you will be hunted down and arrested, persecuted by both civil and religious authorities, and thrown into prison. 12-13And because you follow me, you will be on trial before kings and governmental leaders as an opportunity to testify to them in my name. 14-15Yet determine in your hearts not to prepare for your own defense. Simply speak with the words of wisdom that I will give you that moment, and none of your persecutors will be able to withstand the grace and wisdom that comes from your mouths.
16“You can expect betrayal even by your parents, your brothers, your relatives and friends—and yes, some of you will die as martyrs. 17You will be hated by all because of my life in you. # 21:17 The Greek says, “because of my name.” 18But don’t worry. My grace will never desert you or depart from your life. # 21:18 Although quite different from the Greek manuscripts, this is the literal translation of the Aramaic figure of speech, “Grace will not leave your head.” 19Stand firm with patient endurance and you will find your souls’ deliverance.”
The Destruction of Jerusalem
20“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you will know for sure that its devastation is imminent. # 21:20 This was fulfilled in AD 70 when the Roman armies sacked Jerusalem. Some historians estimate that the Romans slaughtered more than one million Jews at that time and took captive up to one hundred thousand to other nations. Jews today still mourn the destruction of the temple on the fast of Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the fifth month. 21At that time all who are living in Judea must flee to the mountains. Those who live inside the city gates, leave and flee, and those who live outside the city must not enter it seeking refuge. 22For these will be the days of God’s vengeance to fulfill what has been written # 21:22 See 1 Kings 9:6–9; Dan. 9:26; Hos. 9:7; Mic. 3:12. The book of Lamentations expresses grief over the loss of the city and the temple. against Jerusalem. 23It will be extremely difficult for pregnant women and for those nursing little ones in that day, for great persecution and wrath will rise against this nation. 24Many will be cut down by the sword or scattered as prisoners to many countries. And Jerusalem shall be trampled down by nations until the days of world empires come to an end.”
The Coming of the Son of Man
25“Expect to witness amazing and perplexing signs with the sun, the moon, and the stars. # 21:25 See Isa. 13:10; Ezek. 32:7–8; Joel 2:10. The raging of the sea will bring desperation and turmoil to many nations. 26Earthquakes # 21:26 The word earthquakes is found only in Aramaic manuscripts. will bring panic and disaster. What men see coming to the earth will cause the fear of doom to grip their hearts, for they will even see the powers of the heavenly realm shaken!
27-28“And at last, when you see how the Son of Man # 21:27–28 The title “Son of Man” was used frequently when Jesus spoke of himself. Note that he is not the “son of a man,” but the Son of God who became a man. comes—surrounded with a cloud, with great power and miracles, in the radiance of his splendor, and with great glory and praises # 21:27–28 “Praises” is only found in Aramaic manuscripts. —it will make you jump for joy! For the time of your full transformation # 21:27–28 The Greek word is “redemption” or “liberation.” It speaks of the total transformation of our body, soul, and spirit when we see him as he is (1 John 3:2). has arrived.”
The Lesson of the Fig Tree
29-30Jesus gave his disciples this parable:
“Haven’t you observed that when the fig tree, or any tree, buds and blooms, the season is changing and summer is near? 31In the same way, when you see these prophetic signs occurring, you realize the earth is yielding to the fullness of God’s kingdom. 32I assure you, the end of this age will not come until all I have spoken has come to pass. 33Earth and sky will wear out and fade away before one word I speak loses its power or fails to accomplish its purpose.”
Guard Your Hearts
34“Be careful that you never allow your hearts to grow cold. Be careful that you are not caught off guard, # 21:34 The Aramaic text says, “Beware that your hearts never grow cold.” or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and the worries of this life, and that day will come upon you suddenly like a trap. Don’t let me come and find you drunk or living carelessly like everyone else. 35For that day will come as a shocking surprise to all. 36Keep a constant watch over your soul, and pray for the courage and grace to prevail over these things that are destined to occur and that you will stand before the presence of the Son of Man with a clear conscience.”
37Each day, Jesus taught in the temple and spent his nights on the Mount of Olives. 38And all the people came early to the temple courts to listen to the words # 21:38 The Greek text is logos. he taught.
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