In verses 5-25, Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem. Because of this, some scholars are naturally anxious to place the writing of the gospel after A.D. 70 (as well as Matthew 24:1-2). But there are problems with that (besides the fact that we know these gospels to be inspired), particularly with Matthew.
In verses 10-19, Jesus tells them of wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes which we certainly know did happen in that time period. As for the signs from heaven that verse 11 speaks of, there have been some secular writings of some unusual events that occurred in that time frame. We must be careful about referring to secular writings of such things, and some of those that Josephus reported were quite strange indeed. But at that the same time, we should remember that Josephus was not a Christian and did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God – or even a mere prophet. So he had no vested interest (“Wars of the Jews,” Book VI, Chapter 5, Section 3 (Entire)).
Jesus also tells them that before all of these things happen, people will lay their hands upon them and persecute them, and they will be brought before kings and governors for His name’s sake. But He tells them to “settle it in their minds” not to think too hard about what to say because He will “give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.” But then He tells them that they will be betrayed even by their friends and closest relatives; and some of them will be put to death. He then tells them that “not a hair of your head will perish.“ This is true, of course, in the context of their eternal lives, as Jesus intended it.
This warning from Jesus underscores quite graphically the difference of what being a true follower of Jesus meant in the first century compared to today. Even today, though, Christians all over the world are persecuted to varying degrees. Currently, most people in the Americas do not have to fear for their lives in service of the Lord, however. But will that always be the case? We should not count on it. The USA is a strong world power. But that could be said about the Assyrians, Babylonians, and other empires of the past, who are no more.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.