Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Thursday, July 15, 2021

2021.07.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 21:5–19

Read Luke 21:5–19

Questions from the Scripture text: What did some (ignoring Jesus’s lesson from Luke 21:1-4) speak about in  Luke 21:5? What does Jesus call the temple and the donations in Luke 21:6? What days does He say will come? What is the first question they ask in Luke 21:7? What is the second question? With what command does He respond in Luke 21:8? What will people claim to be? What aren’t they to do with such people? Of what else will they hear (Luke 21:9)? How are they not to respond? But what will not come immediately (which event they had confused with the destruction of the temple)? What will be happening during this not-the-end period (Luke 21:10)? What other five things (Luke 21:11)? What events should the disciples be more personally focused upon (Luke 21:12)? Why will these specific events happen to them (Luke 21:13)? And what should the apostles, during their period before the types of things in Luke 21:10-11, do when they are about to be put on such a trial (Luke 21:14)? Why not—what promise does Jesus make about their testimony (Luke 21:15)? How will they come into these arrests, imprisonments, and trials (Luke 21:16)? How should they expect the culture to respond to their ministry (Luke 21:17)? What will be true, even if they die as Luke 21:16 had said (Luke 21:18)? Making good use of this knowledge, how are they enabled to act (Luke 21:19)?

The disciples miss what Jesus is saying about what has been devoted to God and how it ends up being used (Luke 21:5). Jesus had said that the poor widow put her life in, which is far more valuable than the beautiful stones that can be purchased a couple pennies at a time. So, He reminds them of what He’s just said a few days ago: God’s about to wipe all this out (Luke 21:6, cf. Luke 19:41–44). We’re so easily distracted from what lasts and matters!

The distraction continues in their questions in Luke 21:7. They’re making two great mistakes: (1) focusing upon what God intends to do Himself, rather than what part God gives them to do in it, and (2) assuming that the destruction of Jerusalem is going to come at the end with His return. The second error, He’s going to tackle in Luke 19:20–38 as He distinguishes the predictable and escapable destruction of Jerusalem from His own unpredictable and inescapable return.

The problem of wrong focus is the subject of our portion this week: the apostles have an assigned role upon which they need to be focusing. He begins in Luke 21:8-11 by saying not to be fooled by earthly claims or even apparent heavenly signs into thinking that the end has come. But even before such claims and signs inevitably come, something else that comes first: persecution (Luke 21:12) and testimony (Luke 21:13).

They need to be focusing neither upon the fall of Jerusalem (which Jesus implies comes after the apostolic period, which puts a back-end on that period of 67 A.D. and the beginning of the siege). Rather, they need to be focused upon expecting to be apprehended, persecuted, and handed over (Luke 21:12), even by closest family and friends (Luke 21:16), and even ending in death (end of verse 16).

Why is all of this going to happen? So that they can give testimony (Luke 21:13) even before kings and rulers (end of Luke 21:12). So what are the apostles to do? Two things.

First, they are to settle in their hearts not to mull over what they are going to say (Luke 21:14), because Jesus is going to confound the rulers of the earth through answers that He gives them in the moment (Luke 21:15), and they will survive until this mission is completed (Luke 21:18). Even then, every hair is accounted for (cf. Psalm 116:15; Luke 12:7).  

Scripture instruction for us would actually be opposite to this. We are to master (or, rather, be mastered by) the apostolic and Scriptural provision of Jesus’s conquering truth (cf. 2 Timothy 3:12–4:5) so that we will always be ready to give an answer for our hope (cf. 1 Peter 3:13–17). It’s ultimately the same provision, but we have a different role from the apostles and are the beneficiaries of Christ’s having kept His promises to them. Many are deceived into thinking that lack of study and preparation is somehow more spiritual, but it was quite specifically to the apostles that Jesus gave this instruction to settle it in their hearts not to meditate beforehand how they will answer (Luke 21:14).

The second thing that the apostles are to do is “by patience possess your souls” (Luke 21:19). The patience described here is the patience of persistence, perseverance. They are commanded to possess/obtain/purchase their souls through persisting in what the Lord has called them to do, despite the highest cost and stiffest opposition. 

Jesus has also called us to this perseverance. We know the Lord who has paid the purchase price. He has told us that following Him is like being crucified daily (cf. Luke 9:23), both in dying to self as master that we might live unto Christ as master (cf. Galatians 5:24), and in that it is through many tribulations that we must enter the kingdom (cf. Acts 14:22, 2 Timothy 3:12). 

We are tempted to be distracted by prognosticating Christ’s return. But Jesus redirects our focus to being mastered by His Word and persisting in service and obedience to Him so long as He extends to us our life in this world.

In what circumstances are you currently obeying and serving the Lord? How are you pursuing being mastered by His Word in them? How are you refraining from distracting prognostication?

Suggested Songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH1B “How Blest the Man”


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