The Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity is on November 13, 2022.

Readings for Year C can be found here.

The Gospel reading is as follows (emphases mine):

Luke 21:5-19

21:5 When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said,

21:6 “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

21:7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”

21:8 And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.

21:9 “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”

21:10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom;

21:11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

21:12 “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name.

21:13 This will give you an opportunity to testify.

21:14 So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance;

21:15 for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.

21:16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.

21:17 You will be hated by all because of my name.

21:18 But not a hair of your head will perish.

21:19 By your endurance you will gain your souls.

Commentary comes from Matthew Henry and John MacArthur (specified below).

We are approaching the end of our Lord’s ministry, as He delivered this discourse during what we commemorate as Holy Week, or Passion Week.

John MacArthur says:

This is our Lord’s own sermon on His Second Coming. And it comes at a very, very appropriate time because from the human viewpoint, it looks as if His coming has been a total disaster and abysmal failure, a massive disappointment. It is, when we come to verse 5, still Wednesday, Wednesday of what is known as Passion Week, the week in which our Lord is crucified. On Thursday the betrayal will take place. And on Friday He will be crucified by the Romans. It is Wednesday. It is only going to get worse, a lot worse from the human viewpoint. In fact, from the human viewpoint, His life is worse than a failure, it is a disaster. And so it is on the brink of what appears, from a human viewpoint, to be a tragic end that our Lord gives to us the real story of the end bound up in His return to earth in the future.

Some of our Lord’s disciples were admiring the beauty and magnificence of the temple and the gifts therein dedicated to God (verse 5).

The Jews considered the temple to be God’s house, wrapped up with prayer and worship.

However, Jesus replied that the day would come when not one stone of the temple would lay on top of another; all would be thrown down (verse 6).

The disciples must have found His response shocking, especially as they viewed Him as the Messiah and expected a magnificent kingdom on earth.

They asked Him when this would take place and by what sign (verse 7), so that they would know what to expect.

MacArthur says:

The word in the Greek is parousia. It means presence…presence.  And it really was used of a king who had arrived and would continue to dwell among his people.  So what they’re really asking is this, “Now that You are here, what are we looking for that will inaugurate the work that You’ve come to do?”  They don’t see Him there and going away and coming back several thousand years later.  They see His parousia, His presence, and they want to know: You’re here, what sign are we looking for that’s going to inaugurate all our messianic expectations?  That’s their question and it comes in response to His statement about the tearing down of the temple in verse 6, that not one stone will be left upon another that will not be torn down.

They were still hopeful about an earthly kingdom, but Jesus was saddened by what had happened in the days beforehand:

this is Wednesday, all day long He has been in the temple which He had cleansed the day before, throwing out the buyers and the sellers, the corrupt money changers and those who were extorting money at exorbitant prices out of people by disqualifying the sacrifices they brought and making them buy sacrifices from them. Jesus had done that at the beginning of His ministry and He had to do it again. There was no question in the minds of His followers that the system was corrupt. They knew it was corrupt because they had grown up in it. They knew it was corrupt because they had been saved out of it. Of course, His disciples, for the most part, affirmed Him as Messiah. They had come to believe in Him as Messiah. They had been taught by Him and He had taught them plenty about the corruption of the Jewish religious system. He had spoken very strong words about the Sadducees, Pharisees, the scribes, the religious leaders. They knew exactly how He felt. He had cleansed the temple the day before, cleansed it at the beginning of His ministry. He had just finished a prolonged speech or sermon against the leaders of Israel in which He pronounced repeated judgment and damnation curses upon their heads. And He made very clear that Jerusalem was cursed, the religious system cursed. And because its effect had reached the nation as well as the city, the whole nation would bear the curse. And, in fact, He had told them on a couple of occasions that the land and the people and the temple was desolate and was falling under the judgment of God. Now He gets very specific and says, “This judgment is going to mean the dismantling of the temple itself.”

The first four verses of Luke 21 are about the poor widow who goes to the temple to donate her last two coins. As we saw last week, the Sadducees who ran the temple got incredibly rich off of the sacrificial system. Those overseeing the donations allowed that destitute woman to give her final coins, rather than saying, ‘No, you’re fine. You keep those coins for yourself’.

MacArthur tells us:

He has preached His last message, His last warning. He’s had His last discussion, His last dialogue confrontation with the leaders. It’s over. The last thing that we know that He did in the temple was sit down because He was drained and weary. And as He sat down in the Court of the Women, He looked across opposite Him to the treasury and He watched the people putting money in and He saw the widow come by in the first four verses of chapter 21, and He watched the widow put in her last two cents to go home to die. And He hated the kind of religious system that would take the last two cents out of the hand of a defenseless, destitute widow. And that was the final scene with Jesus in the temple, so corrupt, so corrupt that those whom He accused of devouring widows’ houses are doing just that and He watches a widow give up her last two cents because that’s what that religious, legalistic system required of her if she was to buy her salvation and blessing from God. And He has had all that He can take of this system.

Furthermore, according to Matthew’s account, He wept over Jerusalem:

And so, He leaves the temple. We know this from the parallel passage in Matthew, the parallel passage in Matthew, the end of chapter 23. He closes the sermon against the false leaders with these words, verse 37, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who were sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings and you were unwilling. Behold, your house (that is your temple and your city and your nation all encompassed in your house) is being left to you desolate. For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.'” And He implies there that there’s going to be a long time of desolation; desolation upon your house, destruction and emptiness upon your house for a long time until you acknowledge Me.

The temple was said to be the ne plus ultra of its time. Herod the Great began the immense construction project, which grew and grew with time. Herod was not in the slightest bit religious, but he wanted his name on the temple in his memory.

MacArthur describes the temple:

What a stunning place. What an amazing place, one of the wonders of the ancient world. Some writers say it was the greatest building in the world, most impressive. Before it was actually completed, it was being built and decorated for eighty-five years, about fifty years of building at the time our Lord walked out on that Wednesday. It had been started by Herod the Great in 19 and 20 B.C. It was an unbelievable building project. And the Jews were so concerned that it would be sacred that Herod actually trained priests to be masons and carpenters and craftsmen so that there would only be people who understood holy things who were actually leading the work. And it went on and on and on and on, nearly fifty years by the time Jesus walked out. Fifty years of the best that you could ever imagine. Every stone in that place was made of mezza, white brilliant stone available in the land of Israel that can be finely cut and polished so that it looks like marble. It was a staggering project.

I’ve seen models, reconstructive models of the best estimate of the Herodian temple. It’s indescribable. As to its myriad porticos, colonnades, plazas, patios, rooms, multiple level upon level upon level, all the way up to the parapet around the highest level which had to be fenced in so the people didn’t fall at one particular point on the southwest corner. It’s about a 400 foot drop to the valley below, Kidron. Massive walls, massive colonnades, porticos. It’s a staggering facility. To imagine this thing coming down is stunning

prior to this there was another temple there built by Zerubbabel after the restoration from Babylonian captivity. The Babylonians destroyed the Solomonic temple. But Zerubbabel’s temple looked more like a fort, and maybe didn’t get any higher than three stories. It lacked the glory of the Solomonic temple and so Herod came along and said, “Look, this is an inadequate temple for the God of Israel. I will build a greater one, far greater one.”

His real reason was not to honor the God of Israel. His real reason was to immortalize himself in this great building. So work began in the 18th year of his reign and went on long after his death. They took the old temple, Zerubbabel’s temple, and they flattened it to the ground right down to the bedrock. They laid massive new foundation stones, some of which are still there and visible today. Construction, as I said, went on and on and on and on. The place got larger and larger and larger and larger and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of people.

As Jesus foretold, the end of the magnificent complex came in AD 70, at the hands of the Romans:

On August 29, 70 A.D., Titus Vespasian, the great Roman general, came in after a long siege and they began burning the colonnades, the great porticos and colonnades that surrounded the outer courtyards and there were numbers of them. And then some soldier on his own against the wishes of Titus, historians tells us, took a torch and threw it into the Holy Place. And they tried to put it out but they couldn’t save it and down came the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The whole thing was torched. There were about 6,000 people, Josephus says, who were trying to seek refuge in the temple who were consumed in the conflagration and died and there were tens of thousands more that were massacred by the Romans throughout the city of Jerusalem. The priests, Josephus tells us, tried in a feeble way to defend their temple. They got up on the highest parapet where there were spikes driven up like this to keep the birds from perching there and they were pulling the spikes out and throwing them at the Romans in a useless effort to stop the horrible destruction.

Returning to what Jesus told the disciples, they must have wondered how exactly that destruction would take place:

So as they left, they look backed at this massive, glorious, incredible building, must have been wondering about the words of Jesus that they had already heard just a day before, that it was coming down. It was the grandest of Herod’s many massive building projects. Its eastern front, its eastern front, the side they would be seeing as they went out the east and down the little slope at the backside of the mountain, across the Kidron and up the Mount of Olives, the eastern side was completely covered in gold plating so that it looked like one massive piece of solid gold. In the morning sun, the sun would roll up over the top of the Mount of Olives. It would reflect itself in such a blaze that it would blind someone who didn’t cover his eyes just to look at the temple. And in the evening when the sun was on the other side, its golden glory was only subdued but still impressive. By all accounts, it was the most beautiful building in the world.

MacArthur says that, according to the historian Josephus, a deceiver told people to gather in the temple and they would be safe:

Some false prophet, Josephus says, had told people that if they go there they would be safe from the Romans. Six thousand people huddled for safety in the temple and were consumed by the fire.

In response to the disciples’ question as to when this would take place, Jesus gave an interesting response.

He did not say when it would take place. Instead, He told them not to be deceived — led astray — because many would falsely claim they were He and that the time was near (verse 8).

Henry explains why Jesus responded that way:

Now as to this, he gives them a needful caution (1.) “Take heed that you be not deceived; do not imagine that I shall myself come again in external glory, to take possession of the throne of kingdoms. No, you must not expect any such thing, for my kingdom is not of this world.” When they asked solicitously and eagerly, Master, when shall these things be? the first word Christ said was, Take heed that you be not deceived. Note, Those that are most inquisitive in the things of God (though it is very good to be so) are in most danger of being imposed upon, and have most need to be upon their guard. (2.) “Go you not after them. You know the Messiah is come, and you are not to look for any other; and therefore do not so much as hearken to them, nor have any thing to do with them.” If we are sure that Jesus is the Christ, and his doctrine is the gospel, of God, we must be deaf to all intimations of another Christ and another gospel.

Once again, what Jesus told the disciples came true.

MacArthur says there were many false prophets and many were executed:

Many false teachers came after Jesus had gone and claimed to be the Messiah and that the kingdom was going to begin … they were executing one a day, according to Josephus, false claimants, as insurrectionists.

Jesus told the disciples not to be terrified by wars and insurrections because those had to take place first, but the end will not follow immediately (verse 9). Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (verse 10).

Henry says that Jesus was telling His followers that they must approach such situations with wisdom rather than fear:

… trust therefore in him, and be not afraid. Nay, when you hear of wars, when without are fightings and within are fears, yet then be not you terrified; you know the worst that any of these judgments can do to you, and therefore be not afraid of them; for,” [1.] “It is your interest to make the best of that which is, for all your fears cannot alter it: these things must first come to pass; there is no remedy; it will be your wisdom to make yourselves easy by accommodating yourselves to them.” [2.] “There is worse behind; flatter not yourselves with a fancy that you will soon see an end of these troubles, no, not so soon as you think of: the end is not by and by, not suddenly. Be not terrified, for, if you begin so quickly to be discouraged, how will you bear up under what is yet before you?

These wars did not take place just before the destruction of the temple. Jesus was talking about the future.

MacArthur explains:

There is going to be war among nations, war between kingdoms, lots of time passing. What He’s describing here is history. Don’t be mistaken, long way off. But I will come.

As you break down His message starting in verse 8, He talks about the preliminaries to His coming, the things that are going to happen before He comes. Then starting in verse 25 He talks about His actual coming and then in verse 29, talks about preparation. So it’s preliminaries, then the promise of His coming, and then the preparation.

Jesus said that there will be great earthquakes and, in various places, plagues and famine; there will also be great portents and signs from heaven (verse 11).

MacArthur says that Jesus knew these were — and are — terrifying things for mankind:

It’s easy to become terrified. If I didn’t know what Scripture says, if I didn’t know God was sovereign, if I didn’t know God was on the throne and God was ordering history, this would be a terrifying world to live in. It would be a terrifying world to raise children in. It would be terrifying to think about your grandchildren, to think about your future in this world, especially with people out there making the worst case scenario all the time for everything that possibly could go wrong. And so the Lord understands that. And we can be terrified by the way things go in this world, even in a primitive world around the time of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a terrifying world to live in because it was marked by wars and disturbances. It was marked by terrifying things.

The dreadful portents and signs from heaven are likely to come at the very end.

MacArthur tells us:

Turn to Revelation 16, verse 17. “The seventh angel sounded.” This would be the last blast of trumpet judgments, the last bowl judgment, which is the last part of the last trumpet judgment. They’re kind of telescopic. “The seventh angel poured out his bowl on the air and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne saying, ‘It is done.” It’s over. This is the last judgment before Christ comes. “There were flashes of lightning, sounds, peals of thunder and there was a great earthquake such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it and so mighty.” John is given a vision of that last of all these great earthquakes. The great city was split into three parts, Jerusalem. The cities of the nations collapsed. “Babylon the great was remembered before God to give her the cup of the wine of her fierce wrath.” And again you have Babylon connected with the end.

How bad is this earthquake? Look at verse 20, “Every island fled away and the mountains were not found.” Huge hailstones, about 100 pounds each, came down from heaven upon men. And what is their response? “They blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.” Jesus said, “Expect great earthquakes. Expect them to escalate in a fallen, corrupted physical realm.”

And then: great signs from heaven. What should we expect in this period of history? Death at the hand of wild beasts? I’m sure that’s happened. Earthquakes? That’s happened and happening and will happen, escalating. Plagues? Yes. Famine? Yes. And even great signs from heaven. What could that be? Is it a meteor hitting the earth? That’s happened. What could it mean? …

Revelation 6 verse 12, “I looked when he broke the sixth seal and there was a great earthquake and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair.” That’s goatskin. Black means the sun goes out. The moon becomes like blood, dark as well. In the future there will be a great earthquake and the sun will go out and the moon as well, for it’s reflected light from the sun. “The stars of the sky fell to the earth as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind and the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up. And every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us.’” As long as you’re falling, fall on us “’and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb’ for the great day of the wrath has come and who is able to stand?”

The future, time of the tribulation, massive changes in the heavens above, massive. Look at chapter 8 and verse 3, another angel came, stood at the altar, has a golden censer. And verse 4 says, the smoke of the incense in that censer with the prayers of the saints went up before God out of the angel’s hand. The angel took the censer, filled it with the fire of the altar, threw it to the earth; a symbolic act. There followed peals of thunder, sounds, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. “And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared them to sound them. And the first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and were thrown to the earth. A third of the earth was burned up. A third of the trees were burned up. And all the green grass was burned up.” Fire coming from the sky.

“The second angel sounded. Something like a great mountain burning with fire” a meteor perhaps, “was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea became blood. A third of the creatures in the sea had life, died. A third of the ships were destroyed. The third angel sounded and a great star fell from heaven,” another heavenly body catapulted to the earth like a torch, “fell on a third of the rivers and the springs of waters.” The salt waters are devastated and so are the fresh waters. “The name of the star is called wormwood and a third of the waters became wormwood and many men died from the waters because they were made bitter,” or toxic. A fourth angel sounds, a third of the sun, a third of the moon, a third of the stars were smitten, a third of them might be darkened and day might not shine for a third of it and the night in the same way. You know what that means. All the tides are thrown off. Day and night is thrown off. All the crops are thrown off. Things can’t grow. Life is total chaos.

“And I looked and heard an eagle flying in mid-heaven saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound.’” If it’s that bad with the first four, what in the world is going to happen with the final three?

This is the future of this planet. This is the future of humanity. This is the future of the world. Deceivers will flourish and abound in the name of Christ. False Christianity will cover the globe. Deception and disaster … Disaster will come and stay and grow and escalate until the final disaster.

Then Jesus tells the disciples what will happen before this. This, I believe, is the most pertinent part, because it has happened continuously throughout our two millennia and will go on to the end of time.

Jesus said that they — those in authority — will arrest and persecute you in punishment and judgement because of His name (verse 12).

I wrote about Luke 21:10-19 several years ago for my Forbidden Bible Verses series. At that time, I was using a Lectionary reading schedule from the Episcopal Church, which, fortunately, is no longer being used.

My post tells what happened to the Apostles that Jesus had under His care during His ministry, except for Judas. All were martyred, bar John, who was exiled to Patmos. That in itself was a type of martyrdom, too, although not as physically brutal and immediate as what the others suffered. St Paul was also martyred.

Jesus told them that persecution would give them an opportunity to testify in His name (verse 13), which Sts Peter, Stephen and Paul certainly did.

Henry explains:

God will bring glory both to himself and them out of their sufferings: “It shall turn to you for a testimony, v. 13. Your being set up thus for a mark, and publicly persecuted, will make you the more taken notice of and your doctrine and miracles the more enquired into; your being brought before kings and rulers will give you an opportunity of preaching the gospel to them, who otherwise would never have come within hearing of it; your suffering such severe things, and being so hated by the worst of men, men of the most vicious lives, will be a testimony that you are good, else you would not have such bad men for your enemies; your courage, and cheerfulness, and constancy under your sufferings will be a testimony for you, that you believe what you preach, that you are supported by a divine power, and that the Spirit of God and glory rests upon you.”

Jesus told them not to plan their defence in advance (verse 14), because He would give them words and wisdom that none of their opponents could contradict (verse 15).

The same holds true for us.

MacArthur says:

Ah, what a promise. Don’t worry, don’t be fearful. Don’t wonder whether you’ll be able to say the right thing in that hour, in that moment …

Don’t worry about what you’re going to say, the Holy Spirit who dwells within you will show you what to say, and in such a way that none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute you.

You can go through the book of Acts and you can see illustrations of this, how that when they were brought before the authorities they said exactly the right thing, for which the authorities had no response. Even in my little world, I have rested on this promise. I get myself in situations where I’m under fire from people who hate the gospel, sometimes on worldwide television. And people ask me, “How do you prepare for that?” And I have always said this, “I prepare for that by simply trusting in the Holy Spirit.” I’m actually excited. It’s an adventure. I’m eager to find out what I’m going to say. And sometimes I’ll replay it and I’ll say, “Wow! That was pretty good.” But they’re never a match for the truth. They’re never a match for the truth.

Yes, on the world stage there will come relentless persecution. Don’t worry, it’s going to come. You need to know it’s going to come because that will insulate you against it. You don’t need to be surprised by this.

Christians will also come under attack from family and friends, some of whom will put their nearest and dearest to death (verse 16).

Jesus, once again, was correct.

MacArthur says that Christianity is the only religion with martyrs, tens of millions of them through the ages:

No other religion has this history.  In many places in the world today, believers continue to be persecuted.  Muslim- and Hindu-controlled countries, especially Africa and the Middle East, especially murderous toward Christians; though other nations such as communistic states are also antagonistic and during the development of communism, Christians were massacred wholesale.  1997, an article in the New York Times reports, quote: “More Christians have died this century simply for being Christians than in the first nineteen centuries after the birth of Christ.” Twentieth century, more Christians died than in the nineteen centuries before, New York Times, February 11, 1997.

In addition, an incalculable number of faithful believers have been rejected by their families, hated by their parents, hated by their siblings, by their friends, arrested, beaten, persecuted short of death, all on account of loyalty to Christ.  There’s a relatively new book called The New Persecuted, published in 2002A Roman Catholic journalist, Antonio Socci: He estimates that in the 2,000 years of church history, seventy million Christians have been martyred.  The number is likely much greater since he minimizes the number of those executed under the Roman Catholic Church.  God knows. I don’t know how many but the numbers are staggering.

He also says that of these seventy million Christians, two thirds have been killed in the last hundred years.  He claims that an average of 160 thousand Christians have been killed every year since 1990; 160 thousand a year since 1990.

Persecution, like wars, plagues, famines, earthquakes and all the rest will continue to escalate until the Second Coming:

So was our Lord right when He said you can expect this in the time between My first and My Second Coming? He was right about the wars. He was absolutely right about the earthquakes and the plagues and the famines that they would increase and escalate and become worse and worse and worse. And we see it played out just the way He said it. Don’t think for one split second that the purpose of Jesus failed at the cross. Don’t think that what He intended to do didn’t come to pass. He laid out exactly what would happen and that’s the way it is in the history of the world. And it’s going to get worse, not better. If you think persecution of believers is going to go away, you’re wrong. The church is going to continue to be persecuted because it’s going to continue to be scattered for purposes of evangelism. And it’s going to continue to have to give its testimony of triumph in the face of persecution so to demonstrate its truthfulness and validity, and persecution will continue and get worse.

Jesus said that the disciples — and other believers in the ages to come — will be hated by all because of His name (verse 17).

Henry explains the hate that unbelievers have had throughout history:

They were hated of all men, that is, of all bad men, who could not bear the light of the gospel (because it discovered their evil deeds), and therefore hated those who brought in that light, flew in their faces, and would have pulled them to pieces. The wicked world, which hated to be reformed, hated Christ the great Reformer, and all that were his, for his sake. The rulers of the Jewish church, knowing very well that if the gospel obtained among the Jews their usurped abused power was at an end, raised all their forces against it, put it into an ill name, filled people’s minds with prejudices against it, and so made the preachers and professors of it odious to the mob.

However, Jesus said that no one who is persecuted will perish, not one hair on their head (verse 18).

The martyrs might have lost their heads or tortured alive in many other horrific ways, but the Triune God knows who has suffered, and they will be saved.

Henry says:

First, “I will take cognizance of it.” To this end he had said (Matt 10 30), The hairs of your head are all numbered; and an account is kept of them, so that none of them shall perish but he will miss it. Secondly, “It shall be upon a valuable consideration. We do not reckon that lost or perishing which is laid out for good purposes, and will turn to a good account. If we drop the body itself for Christ’s name’s sake, it does not perish, but is well bestowed. Thirdly, “It shall be abundantly recompensed; when you come to balance profit and loss, you will find that nothing has perished, but, on the contrary, that you have great gain in present comforts, especially in the joys of a life eternal”; so that though we may be losers for Christ we shall not, we cannot, be losers by him in the end.

Jesus ended this part of His discourse saying that endurance will gain us our souls (verse 19).

‘Endurance’: that word of which Paul was so fond, using it several times in his letters.

Henry interprets the verse as follows:

“It is therefore your duty and interest, in the midst of your own sufferings and those of the nation, to maintain a holy sincerity and serenity of mind, which will keep you always easy (v. 19): In your patience possess ye your souls; get and keep possession of your souls.” Some read it as a promise, “You may or shall possess your souls.” It comes all to one. Note, First, It is our duty and interest at all times, especially in perilous trying times, to secure the possession of our own souls; not only that they be not destroyed and lost for ever, but that they be not distempered now, nor our possession of them disturbed and interrupted. “Possess your souls, be your own men, keep up the authority and dominion of reason, and keep under the tumults of passion, that neither grief nor fear may tyrannize over you, nor turn you out of the possession and enjoyment of yourselves.” In difficult times, when we can keep possession of nothing else, then let us make that sure which may be made sure, and keep possession of our souls. Secondly, It is by patience, Christian patience, that we keep possession of our own souls. “In suffering times, set patience upon the guard for the preserving of your souls; by it keep your souls composed and in a good frame, and keep out all those impressions which would ruffle you and put you out of temper.”

The rest of Luke 21 is about the destruction of the temple and our Lord’s Second Coming in His own words. They are two different events.

I do not believe the following passages are in the Lectionary, and they are important to understand:

Luke 21:20-24 – Jesus, destruction of Jerusalem

Luke 21:32-38 – Jesus, Second Coming, be on guard, no excesses, no drunkenness

May all who persevered in reading this post enjoy a blessed Sunday.

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