Episode #65. Today we’ll read the 21st chapter of Luke together: We meet again the widow who gave all she had; Jesus recounts the signs of the end times; and He challenges us to be on our guard.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #65. Today we’ll read the 21st chapter of Luke together: We meet again the widow who gave all she had; Jesus recounts the signs of the end times; and He challenges us to be on our guard.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
I just watched the final video in the series called ‘How to Read the Bible’ from www.bibleproject.com. The video I watched this morning is on reading Apocalyptic Literature. This is such a huge challenge for me, and I picked up so many helpful tips. For instance, did you know that the word ‘apocalyptic’ doesn’t have anything to do with end times, like we always tend to think? It’s a Greek word and, in the Bible, it has to do with God pulling back a curtain to reveal things from His perspective. I really encourage you to go over to their website and check it out. It’s only about six minutes long, so it’s a pretty good payoff for little time investment. And another trick I learned a few years back? Ask God. I know, duh…what a concept. I always dreaded reading Isaiah. I mean, when you’re reading the Bible cover-to-cover, you don’t get to pick and choose. So finally, I just prayed, “Lord, I don’t get this book. Would You reveal its meaning to me please?” And He did! I mean, there are still things I struggle with, but now Isaiah is one of my most beloved reads. Okay, I’d be lying to you if I said I had Ezekiel and Revelation all figured out. But all in good time, right?
Luke Chapter 21: 1 He looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins. 3 “I tell you the truth,” He said. “This poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” 5 As some were talking about the temple complex, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, He said, 6 “These things that you see-the days will come when not one stone will be left on another that will not be thrown down!” 7 “Teacher,” they asked Him, “so when will these things be? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” 8 Then He said, “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Don’t follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and rebellions, don’t be alarmed. Indeed, these things must take place first, but the end won’t come right away.” 10 Then He told them: “Nation will be raised up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be violent earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of My name. 13 It will lead to an opportunity for you to bear witness. 14 Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time, 15 for I will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will kill some of you. 17 You will be hated by everyone because of My name, 18 but not a hair of your head will be lost. 19 By your endurance gain your lives. 20 “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that its desolation has come near. 21 Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains! Those inside the city must leave it, and those who are in the country must not enter it, 22 because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things that are written. 23 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for there will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring sea and waves. 26 People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that are coming on the world, because the celestial powers will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!” 29 Then He told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they put out [leaves] you can see for yourselves and recognize that summer is already near. 31 In the same way, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 I assure you: This generation will certainly not pass away until all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 34 “Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly 35 like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.” 37 During the day, He was teaching in the temple complex, but in the evening He would go out and spend the night on what is called the Mount of Olives. 38 Then all the people would come early in the morning to hear Him in the temple complex.
“This will give you an opportunity to bear witness.” We don’t usually view persecution as an opportunity, do we? As a matter of fact, I usually avoid it at all costs. But somehow, in this reading, I saw the prospect of it differently. I saw it as more of a cue rather than an alarm for self-preservation. Persecution can be a cue to bear witness of Jesus. I like that. This passage also assures us that we don’t have to have a speech ready…the Holy Spirit will give us the words He wants us to speak in each situation. We need to be disciplined in studying the Word and learning about Jesus. But we can relax that we are not alone. He is always with us and will provide what we need. Let’s pray. Jesus, thank You for Your promise that You will never leave us or forsake us. Thank You that we don’t have to fear failure because You are in control. Remind us to turn that control over to You every day, Lord. We cannot be Your good and faithful servants without Your help. Help us to bear witness to Your goodness and glory in all we do, both now and in the times to come. In Your name we ask these things, Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
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