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Bible Commentaries

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Luke 21

Verse 19

Luke 21:19

. In your patience. Here Christ enjoins on his followers a different method of defending their life from what is dictated by carnal reason. For naturally every man desires to place his life in safety; we collect from every quarter those aids which we think will be best, and avoid all danger; and, in short, we do not think that we are alive, if we are not properly defended. But Christ prescribes to us this defense of our life, that we should be always exposed to death, and walk

through fire, and water, and sword, (Psalms 66:12.)

And, indeed, no man will commit his soul into the hands of God in a right manner, unless he have learned to live from day to day constantly prepared to die. (132) In a word, Christ orders us to possess our life both under the cross, and amidst the constant terrors of death.

(132) “ Sinon qu’estant tousjours prest a mourir, il ait apprins de vivre comme le jour vient, sans faire son conte de demeurer jusques au lendemain;” — “except that, being always ready to die, he has learned to live, as the day comes, without reckoning on being alive till tomorrow.”

Verse 28

Luke 21:28

. And when these things begin to take place. Luke expresses more clearly the consolation by which Christ animates the minds of his followers; for, though this sentence contains nothing different from the words of Matthew, which we have just now explained, yet it shows better for what purpose the angels will come, as we are told, to gather the elect. For it was necessary to contrast the joy of the godly with the general sorrow and distress of the world, and to point out the difference between them and the reprobate, that they might not view with horror the coming of Christ. We know that Scripture, when it speaks not only of the last judgment, but of all the judgments which God executes every day, describes them in a variety of ways, according as the discourse is addressed to believers or to unbelievers.

To what purpose is the day of the Lord to you? says the prophet Amos, (Amos 5:18.)

It is a day of darkness and gloominess, (154) not of light; of sorrow, not of joy; of destruction, not of salvation. On the other hand, Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9) bids the daughter of Zion rejoice on account of the coming of her King; and justly, for—as Isaiah (Isaiah 35:4) tells us—the same day which brings wrath and vengeance to the reprobate brings good-will and redemption to believers.

Christ therefore shows that, at his coming, the light of joy will arise on his disciples, that they may rejoice in the approaching salvation, while the wicked are overwhelmed with terror. Accordingly, Paul distinguishes them by this mark, that they wait for the day or coming of the Lord, (1 Corinthians 1:7) for that which is their crown, and perfect happiness, and solace, is delayed till that day, (2 Timothy 4:8.) It is therefore called here (as in Romans 8:23) redemption; because we shall then obtain truly and perfectly the consequences of the deliverance obtained through Christ. Let our ears therefore be awake to the sound of the angel’s trumpet, which will then sound, not only to strike the reprobate with the dread of death, but to arouse the elect to a second life; that is, to call to the enjoyment of life those whom the Lord now quickens by the voice of his Gospel; for it is a sign of infidelity, to be afraid when the Son of God comes in person for our salvation.

(154) Our author — quoting from memory, as he frequently does — appears to have incorporated the words of the prophet Amos, (Amos 5:18,) To what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light, with a parallel passage in Joel, (Joel 2:1) for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. — Ed.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 21". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cal/luke-21.html. 1840-57.