Luke writes that Jesus was looking at the rich “putting their gifts into the treasury” and He also observed a poor widow who put in two mites, which was about 1/8 of a cent each (21:1-2). In reaction to what He had seen, Jesus said, ” Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had” (21:3-4). Although the rich had given more money than the poor widow, she had given sacrificially while they had given out of their excess. Oftentimes giving is not an issue of amount, but sacrifice. While Jesus was in the temple, some were admiring its beauty (21:5), but Jesus said, “These things which you see–the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down” (21:6). Jesus’ talk of the temple being destroyed caused the disciples to ask some questions concerning the timing and the signs leading up to this future destruction (21:7). Jesus answered their second question (regarding the signs) first by providing a couple things which would happen before Titus and the Romans destroyed the temple in A.D. 70. People claiming to be the Messiah (21:8), wars (21:9-10), earthquakes (21:11) and persecution (21:12-17) will characterize this coming destruction. Although these signs had a current fulfillment, Jesus’ words also refer to a time of future destruction during the seven year tribulation period, which falls in between the rapture and the millennial reign of Christ. Luke describes the destruction of Jerusalem in verses 20-24 and then describes future events during the tribulation period in verses 25-33. Jesus then told the parable of the fig tree (21:29-33) in order to teach His listeners that by watching the signs, they could discern what was about to transpire. The signs detailed in Luke 21:25-28 would alert them to Jesus’ soon coming kingdom.
Along with revealing to them the signs which would precede His return, Jesus gave them a stern warning regarding watchfulness, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth” (21:34-35). Jesus was concerned that many had the potential to be distracted by the affairs of this world so he said, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (21:36). Being watchful is an important behavior in the life of those who follow Christ because evil surrounds us at every turn. Peter writes regarding watchfulness saying, “Be sober, be vigilant [watchful]; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:8-10). Until Jesus Christ returns to earth to set up His kingdom, those who follow Him must remain watchful and guard their lives from giving into temptation.
Dear God, make me watchful.