August 15, 2015.
Daily Reading: Luke 21-22.
Background: Luke 19-20.
Concepts and Connections.
1. The widow’s offering: This chapter opens up with the story of the widow that gives two small copper coins into the treasury as an offering to the temple. He says that she has put in more than all the rich who gave out of their abundance, for she had given all she had. This teaching is important to remind us that it is not the dollar amount that the Lord sees when we give to Him, but rather what the dollar amount means to us. For the rich, it was easy to give gifts to the temple; but for this widow, she gave all that she had to live on. It was she who made the greater sacrifice.
2. Signs and Prophecy: The rest of the chapter is spent recording Jesus’ words of signs and prophecy of things that were to come. His teaching here is also recorded in Matthew 24:1-51 and Mark 13:1-37. Notice that the immediate event that Jesus is describing here is the destruction of the temple that came with the destruction of Jerusalem. This destruction would come about in AD 70, when the Romans would sack Jerusalem in great destruction. Some see this as God’s final judgment on His people, physical Israel, after they had completely forsaken Him, rejecting His son. In this light, the event that was coming in the near future, besides the destruction of Jerusalem, would be the kingdom of heaven, a body of the redeemed. When Jesus begins telling His disciples what is going to happen, they start asking Him for signs. First He warns of false Christs who would come in His name; then He tells of wars and tumults, and a persecution that would come to His disciples. He tells them not to worry about what they will say when they are brought before rulers and kings, for He would give them words to say in that day. Then He tells of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and what bitter agony it would bring with it. He tells of the coming of the Son of Man, which would signal that their redemption was near. This could be taken as a metaphor for the church as physical Israel was being cut off. After this, He gives a lesson using a fig tree, comparing how they tell when summer is near by using the leaves of the fig tree to how they should recognize that these things are near when they see the signs He is giving them. They should therefore be watching, waiting for these things to come to pass, just as we should be watching still, every waiting for Jesus to come again.
1. The passover and the Lord’s supper: A good portion of this chapter is dedicated to the Lord’s interactions with His disciples during the time of the passover (see Exodus 12). He tells Peter and John to go into the city and find a man who will show them an upper room to prepare the passover it. They do so, and Jesus reclines at table with His disciples. Notice the emphasis the Lord places on this meeting, as He says He had earnestly desired to eat this passover with them, as He knows that it will be His last while physically on earth. During the passover meal, He institutes the Lord’s supper, a way for us to remember His suffering and death on the cross, His body and blood that He shed for our sins. We still partake of this feast today in communion with one another and with our Lord. After He gives the cup and breaks the break, Jesus tells His disciples that the one who was to betray Him was sitting at the table with them. This led to a discussion amongst His disciples about who it could be (note that Judas had already plotted with the chief priests and officers to betray Jesus) when morphed into a discussion about who was the greatest among them. They seem to have missed the point entirely, and Jesus points this out when He tells them that the greatest among them is to be a servant, just as He, though indeed greater, had been a servant to them. Let our mindsets be the same (see Philippians 2:5-8).
2. The betrayal and arrest: Preparing for the betrayal, Jesus tells His disciples to be prepared, buying a sword even if they didn’t have one. Earlier in the chapter we see that Judas has already agreed with the chief priests and officers to betray Jesus in the absence of a crowd. He and His disciples went out to the mount of Olives to pray, and Jesus sweat as though there were drops of blood coming from His body. Though He was very grieved, He came out to find His disciples sleeping (more on this in Matthew 26:36-46). Then Judas came with a crowd following and betrayed the Lord with a kiss. One of His disciples cut off the ear of the high priest with a sword, but Jesus stopped His disciples from fighting and healed the man’s ear. It is somewhat remarkable that even after this clear miracle, they still did not seem to have fear arresting Jesus. The Lord comments on their use of the darkness, for they would not come to take Him during the day, as this would not go over well with the people and the many people who were following Him, especially because they did not have any valid reason to take Him. They took Him into custody, mocked Him and beat Him, asking Him to prophesy who beat Him. He was taken before a counsel of the elders of the chief priests and the scribes, and they ask Him if He is the Christ. He knew that they were not asking this question because they would believe the answer, but rather to have a reason to try to execute Him. When He does say that He is the son of God, they shout blasphemy and say that they don’t need acy fulfilled as Peter any further witness, for in their minds Jesus had admitted to blasphemy in and of himself.
3. Peter’s denial: During the passover meal and before Jesus and the disciples went out to the mount of olives, Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him. When Peter tries to deny this, Jesus gives him specifics, saying that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crew. Later on in this chapter we see this prophecy fulfilled as Peter indeed denied the Lord three times, the rooster crowing immediately on his third denial. Luke records something unique about Peter’s denial here, however, compared with the other gospels, as Luke tells us that Jesus turned and looked at Peter on His third denial, which caused Peter to remember the Lord’s words. Peter went out and wept bitterly after this. Note that our confidence does not always protect us from falling, and indeed too much confidence might ensure a hard fall. However, let us always have Peter’s penitent heart that we see here when we do indeed fall.
Tomorrow’s Reading: II Thessalonians 1-3.
Stand up in the name of Jesus.
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