For an introduction to this series, click here.
April 3, 2007
This chapter opens with the widow's offering and goes to a summary of the Olivet Discourse.
The story of the widow's offering of "two small copper coins" is one of the best examples of God's demands on us. God is not our servant that we toss a tip to. He demands everything. And that includes our money, which is hard a lot of the time, because I know I need what little money I have for this or that. Of course, like most things in life, what is important is our attitude, and that is of course true here too. Jesus knew that was all the lady had, and yet He did not try to stop her and tell her she did not need to give because she was so poor. I know it's hard, but too often I am guilty of being too conservative with God.
The rest of the chapter is Luke's version of the Olivet Discourse, where Jesus tells the story of the end of the age. The most important thing that most prophecy buffs miss is the warning Jesus gives in verses 8-9: "See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he!' and, 'The time is at hand!' Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once." I was young, but I remember some guy wrote a book, "88 reasons Jesus is coming in 1988." I never saw or read the book, but I saw its effects. People everywhere were convinced it was true. Christian publishing companies were printing all kinds of books and pamphlets that people were to leave for their relatives who missed the Rapture. Well, here we are almost 20 years later. It didn't happen. I don't want to de-emphasize the imminent return of Christ, but at the same time it is foolish to get caught up in every exciting thing that comes along. It is true that it is God's will that we understand everything in the Bible, but that's not going to happen. It's better to live our lives in simple service to God instead of getting caught up in eschatological fads.
Although I am certainly not a preterist (someone who believes all the prophecies about the end times has already been fulfilled) there is no doubt that part of Jesus' teaching was to warn His hearers about the coming destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in AD 70. I don't understand all of it, but I know that Jesus is coming one day to establish His eternal kingdom.