November 14, 2010
Luke 21:5-19

In our text today, Peter, James and John ask three questions: 1) When will the temple be destroyed? 2) What will be the sign of His coming? 3) What will be the end of the age? Our Lord’s reply is what we today call “The Olivet Discourse” and is expanded in Matthew 24 and Matthew 25.

Shakespeare said, “There are sermons in stones,” and rightly so, for our Lord used such common place things as a little boy’s lunch and a farmer’s seed to teach the deep truths of His Word. As believers, we always should be sensitive to the world around us because God is constantly giving everyday opportunities to share His love. To see the windows of opportunity we must:

I. Deal with the Fact of Tradition
In biblical times, three temples were built on the same site: Solomon’s, Zerubbabel’s and Herod’s. Solomon built the temple on the east side of Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, “where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” (1 Chronicles 21:28; 2 Chronicles 3:1).

The temple took 46 years to complete, and even then more work was done until 64 A.D., six years before its destruction by the Romans. It was a splendid sight, built of white marble and covered with heavy plates of gold in front rising high above its marble, cloistered courts.

Yet the beauty of the building couldn’t hide the hatred and hypocrisy within the hearts of those inside. This is made evident in Luke 21:1 when Christ pays honor to the heart of the giver and not the amount being given. Eventually Christ would correct the practices of the temple by teaching His disciples the real meaning of worship: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…” (John 4:23).

II. Deal with the Fear of Destruction
Luke 21:6 speaks not of some future prophetic event; it would see its fulfillment 40 years later. The Roman General Titus brought his army in the fall of A.D. 68, but because of a harsh winter and low supplies, he had to withdraw and didn’t return until A.D. 70. The Christians in Jerusalem remembered Christ’s warning and fled the city while the arrogant remained and considered Titus so discouraged that he wouldn’t return.

III. Listen to the Prophecy
There must be faith in the Word of our Lord. The disciples asked when these things would occur, not if they would occur. They asked what to expect and didn’t debate with Jesus about why there should be exceptions or exemptions.

IV. Have Faith in the Midst of Opposition
In Luke 21:12, Christ speaks of times of persecution for His sake. He even warns us to beware when people speak well of us. This will lead to great opportunities to testify on behalf of Jesus’ great name. He told the disciples that the wisdom they needed during these times would be provided.
Jesus then explained more concerning this desperate time in Luke 21:16-17, yet the Lord would protect them. Their faith was in the Lord, as our faith should be in the Lord when difficult days arise.

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