Luke 21 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Luke 21)

Verse 5

[5] And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,

Goodly stones — Such as no engines now in use could have brought, or even set upon each other. Some of them (as an eye witness who lately measured them writes) were forty - five cubits long, five high, and six broad; yet brought thither from another country.

And gifts — Which persons delivered from imminent dangers had, in accomplishment of their vows, hung on the walls and pillars. The marble of the temple was so white, that it appeared like a mountain of snow at a distance. And the gilding of many parts made it, especially when the sun shone, a most splendid and beautiful spectacle. Mark 13:1.

Verse 8

[8] And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

I am the Christ; and the time is near — When I will deliver you from all your enemies. They are the words of the seducers.

Verse 9

[9] But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

Commotions — Intestine broils; civil wars.

Verse 11

[11] And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

Fearful sights and signs from heaven — Of which Josephus gives a circumstantial account.

Verse 12

[12] But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.

Mark 13:9.

Verse 13

[13] And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

It shall turn to you for a testimony — Of your having delivered your own souls, and of their being without excuse.

Verse 16

[16] And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.

Matthew 10:21.

Verse 17

[17] And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.

Mark 13:13.

Verse 18

[18] But there shall not an hair of your head perish.

Not a hair of your head — A proverbial expression, shall perish - Without the special providence of God. And then, not before the time, nor without A full reward.

Verse 19

[19] In your patience possess ye your souls.

In your patience possess ye your souls — Be calm and serene, masters of yourselves, and superior to all irrational and disquieting passions. By keeping the government of your spirits, you will both avoid much misery, and guard the better against all dangers.

Verse 21

[21] Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

Let them that are in the midst of it — Where Jerusalem stands (that is, they that are in Jerusalem) depart out of it, before their retreat is cut off by the uniting of the forces near the city, and let not them that are in the adjacent countries by any means enter into it.

Verse 22

[22] For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

And things which are written — Particularly in Daniel.

Verse 24

[24] And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive — Eleven hundred thousand perished in the siege of Jerusalem, and above ninety thousand were sold for slaves. So terribly was this prophecy fulfilled! And Jerusalem shall be trodden by the Gentiles - That is, inhabited. So it was indeed. The land was sold, and no Jew suffered even to come within sight of Jerusalem. The very foundations of the city were ploughed up, and a heathen temple built where the temple of God had stood.

The times of the Gentiles — That is, the times limited for their treading the city; which shall terminate in the full conversion of the Gentiles.

Verse 25

[25] And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

And there shall be — Before the great day, which was typified by the destruction of Jerusalem: signs - Different from those mentioned Mark 13:24.

Verse 28

[28] And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Now when these things — Mentioned Luke 21:8,10, etc., begin to come to pass, look up with firm faith, and lift up your heads with joy: for your redemption out of many troubles draweth nigh, by God's destroying your implacable enemies.

Verse 29

[29] And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;

Behold the fig tree and all the trees — Christ spake this in the spring, just before the passover; when all the trees were budding on the mount of Olives, where they then were.

Verse 30

[30] When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.

Ye know of yourselves — Though none teach you.

Verse 31

[31] So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

The kingdom of God is nigh — The destruction of the Jewish city, temple, and religion, to make way for the advancement of my kingdom.

Verse 32

[32] Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

Till all things be effected — All that has been spoken of the destruction of Jerusalem, to which the question, Luke 21:8-24.

Verse 34

[34] And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

Take heed, lest at any time your hearts be overloaded with gluttony and drunkenness — And was there need to warn the apostles themselves against such sins as these? Then surely there is reason to warn even strong Christians against the very grossest sins. Neither are we wise, if we think ourselves out of the reach of any sin: and so that day - Of judgment or of death, come upon you, even you that are not of this world-Unawares. Luke 12:35.

Verse 35

[35] For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

That sit — Careless and at ease.

Verse 36

[36] Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Watch ye therefore — This is the general conclusion of all that precedes.

That ye may be counted worthy — This word sometimes signifies an honour conferred on a person, as when the apostles are said to be counted worthy to suffer shame for Christ, Luke 3:8. And so to be counted worthy to escape, is to have the honour of it, and to be fitted or prepared for it.

To stand — With joy and triumph: not to fall before him as his enemies.

Verse 37

[37] And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.

Now by day — In the day time, he was teaching in the temple - This shows how our Lord employed his time after coming to Jerusalem: but it is not said, he was this day in the temple, and next morning the people came. It does not therefore by any means imply, that he came any more after this into the temple.

Verse 38

[38] And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.

And all the people came early in the morning to hear him — How much happier were his disciples in these early lectures, than the slumbers of the morning could have made them on their beds! Let us not scruple to deny ourselves the indulgence of unnecessary sleep, that we may morning after morning place ourselves at his feet, receiving the instructions of his word, and seeking those of his Spirit.