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The Lord Jesus foretells of the Destruction of the Temple. He answers the anxious Questions of His Disciples, in fortifying their Minds with suitable Advice for the Approaching Trials.
And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
By Jesus looking up is not meant to say that the treasury was on an elevated spot, for Mark tells us that he sat over against it. It was near to the temple, and placed there most probably for conveniency, that those who were going to or from the temple might bring their alms. Our Lord furnisheth a lovely example of a poor widow, in her rich and costly offering. How little is understood of the nature of true charity. A man may give thousands, and yet have no real charity towards God. And another may give but little, yea, nothing, and yet in the Lord's sight be very bountiful. And the reason is plain. Where the love of God in Christ is in the heart, this, like a fountain, will diffuse streams from the same source all around. But, where that first and predisposing cause of all that is good is wanting, the motive cannot be right, and therefore nothing of good can follow. Hence thousands may be bestowed, and no true charity accompanying. And a precious child of God, like Peter, may have nothing to give, and yet in God's sight be a most liberal soul. Acts 3:6 .
And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
This prophecy of the Lord Jesus, and the accomplishment of it, is most wonderful. The greatness of the building, and the huge stones of which it was composed rendered it the most improbable thing upon earth. And yet, from the Jews' own historian, we learn that it was literally fulfilled.
And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Both Matthew and Mark have related the same prophecy of Christ; and our Lord's predictions in both Evangelists were nearly the same. I refer therefore to them, to avoid the swelling of our pages beyond the limits I must observe. See Matthew 24:0 throughout, and Mark 13:0 in like manner.
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
I include the whole of those verses into one view, and in addition to what hath been already observed upon the subject, in the former Evangelists, I have only to guard the Reader against making unscriptural and improper application, as if those things referred to the last day of Christ's final coming to judgment. To correct this, the Lord declared, that the generation then present should not be all dead, until the events he foretold were 'come to pass: Similar to our Lord's expression, Matthew 16:28 . And this was literally the case; for John, the beloved Apostle, outlived it; and numbers besides there must have been of those who were little children at the time our Lord so prophesied.
And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.
What a beautiful view, in a short compass; is here given of the Lord Jesus Christ! Never fatigued, nor weary in his labor of love, though in body sometimes, as we find, (John 4:6 ) obliged to sit to rest himself. And, in the period we are now arrived at in his history, Jesus knew what exercises, both of soul and body were opening before him. Blessed Lord! the temple bare witness to thy fatigue by day, and the Mount of Olives of thy exercises and communion by night. Oh! how truly lovely and engaging thus to behold Christ, while acting as the Surety and Representative of his people!
My soul! in beholding this poor widow, whose charity of soul the Lord himself hath recorded, and made her history memorable in his Church forever; learn how very costly and precious in thy Jesus sight, is the love of man, when flowing from the love of God. Oh! who would not wish, among the children of the Lord, to give a cup of cold water, when we have nothing warmer to offer, in the name of a disciple, than to build alms-houses and give thousands, without an eye to Christ.
Blessed Lord! how truly awful was thy prediction concerning the once beloved city; and how truly verified was the whole! Most fully was God the Father's sentence accomplished on Jerusalem, when he said, in relation to his dear Son, For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish. And, in the instance of Jerusalem, how awfully fulfilled! Lord, grant that all thy redeemed ones, preserved by sanctifying grace, and gathered out of the city of destruction may be enabled by thy renewing mercy and free salvation, to watch and pray; and be accounted worthy in the alone blood and righteousness of Jesus, to escape all these things, and to stand before the Son of Man!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Luke 21". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent