Notes about Luke chapter 21:5-28
We come to this passage in Luke 21 that is incredibly complex. Here the disciples are marveling at how beautiful the temple is and how something so great is dedicated to the Lord. And immediately Jesus says, “What you see in front of you is going to be destroyed.” The disciples are completely caught off guard by Jesus in this moment. This temple was in the midst of an 83-year building program and at the time of their remarks, it was probably at least 50 years into this process. The rebuilt temple was set to create an impression on people. It demanded attention and recognition with its beauty. Some of the stones used on it were up to 60 feet in length and it was decorated with gifts from other countries. It’s no wonder why the disciples felt a sense of national pride as they looked upon the temple. Surely something so magnificent and God honoring, something that has taken so long to construct, would last a very long time.Structures of earthly empires are often very impressive and they give the sense that it will last forever. But nothing earthly can last forever and Jesus clarifies this…It’s quite a thought to imagine everything that you have based your life around, years of building and structuring, could come to an end. The idea of hard times, destruction, and endings can create fear and anxiety in our hearts.
Hear is the reality:
Fearful events and unexpected happenings are merely signs of God’s prophetic plan moving forward.
Jesus goes into a discourse here in chapter 21 to discuss 2 main things with the disciples:
- The future destruction of Jerusalem
- The End Times
These two events are presented side by side, which is common for prophetic presentation. Even though it can now be looked back upon and a large gap is between these two events, this type of presentation from Jesus is designed to link the two events. The initial event occurring gives assurance that the end is in fact coming, just as Jesus promised.
And just in case you aren’t convinced that God keeps his word, what Jesus prophesied about the destruction of the temple sometime before AD 30, then was recorded in Luke’s account of the gospel sometime in the 50s or 60s AD, and in AD 70 the Romans came in and decimated Jerusalem and the temple was destroyed.
Now one of the things that stresses people out about this passage and other end times scriptures is the general detail given rather than the specifics. Jesus doesn’t go into a timeline breakdown of when everything will happen; instead he gives a snapshot of the chaos that will take place.
There are two things here that I think Jesus was trying to help his followers understand:
1. Chaos will happen and it does not mean God has lost control.
2. Lack of specifics can easily cause us to speculate.
Often times our lack of understanding causes us great pain and discomfort. We desire to know all the details and specifics of our life, the lives of others, and the world itself. We want to be know-it-alls. And when we don’t know everything, we feel slighted and we speculate. We fill in the gaps and try to solve all the missing components. We fail to realize that God doesn’t need us to know everything and what we do know is sufficient for us to keep moving forward.
If you read Isaiah 55, you will see that God declares his thoughts are higher than our thoughts, as are his ways higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
All throughout history it is clearly proven that chaos will abound. There will be all sorts of chaos that takes place on this Earth and it will often times not make sense. The dots wont connect for us and we will be prone to anxiety and worry.
But Jesus tells the disciples, as they sit and look at this beautiful temple that will soon be destroyed, they have what they need in the season they are in, to trust his promise.
I love what Jesus says in verse 28…When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:28)
Here Jesus communicates one more profound truth to his followers…
3. Your hope will become your confidence.
The hope you are placing in a savior to return for you will become your confidence as you see him coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
The promise God has made to save you and restore you will come to pass as you remain in that hope.
As the rest of the world shrinks back in fear, you will be standing there with your head held high. He is the redeemer of his people. He is a keeper of promises. He is sovereign and in control.
No chaos of the world can compromise the order of the Lord.
So the question is this…
Do you live in fear of the chaos and unexpected, or do you live with a hopeful expectation of God’s fulfilled promise?
Do you live with the end in sight?