21:1 As he [Jesus was in area of temple called the Court of the Women] looked up, Jesus saw the rich [probably easy to spot because of what they wore] putting their gifts [“large amounts” according to Mk. 12:41] into the temple treasury [thirteen trumpet shaped receptacles in the Court of the Women in the temple].
Note: Have you ever given a gift just to impress others? How much satisfaction did it give you?
21:2 He also saw a poor [very poor; probably obvious by her apparel] widow [had few resources for generating income] put in two very small copper coins [mites: the coins of smallest value; probably amounted to one-eighth of a penny].
21:3 “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others [the others had plenty left over after they gave].
21:4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth [indicates they had plenty left over after they gave]; but she out of her poverty put in all [she did not hold back one coin; she had nothing left after she gave] she had [her means of living] to live on.”
Note: “God judges what we give by what we keep.” (George Mueller)
21:5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple [covered one-sixth of land area of Jerusalem] was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said,
Note: About the Temple…
• Solomon’s temple destroyed by Babylonians in 7th century BC
• Ezra built temple after return from exile in 6th century BC
• Temple desecrated by the Seleucids in 2nd century BC
• Temple reconstructed by Maccabees
• Temple expanded by Herod the Great over 46 year period
• Temple destroyed by Titus in AD 70
21:6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down [this prophecy fulfilled in AD 70 when Emperor Titus destroyed temple].”
21:7 “Teacher,” they asked [note two concerns],  “when will these things [destruction of the temple] happen?  And what will be the sign [indicator; visible revelation of something to follow] that they [cf. Matt. 24:3] are about to take place?”
21:8 He replied: [First] “Watch out [Greek = blepo which means beware] that you are not deceived. For many [false prophets and teachers; imposters who claim to represent God but not live according to His Word] will [speaks of certainty] come in my name [claiming His authority], claiming, ‘I am he [a messiah or his representative; see Acts 5:36],’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them [sound doctrine is the best antidote for false doctrine].
21:9 [Second] When you hear of [political developments and unrest] wars and revolutions, do not be frightened [do not allow these events/rumors to divert you from your task of following Jesus and spreading the gospel]. These things [which are part of natural human existence or normal aspects of history in an unsettled world] must happen first, but the end will not come right away [do not confuse historical events of your day with eschatological events].”
21:10 Then he said to them: [causes of war] “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
21:11 [Third] There will be [natural disasters…] great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
21:12 “But before all this, they will [speaks of certainty] lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to [expect official persecution] synagogues [see Acts 6:9; 26:11] and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name [religious persecution; see Acts 8:1-3].
21:13 This will result in your being witnesses [turn sufferings into opportunities to witness] to them [magistrates and kings].
21:14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves [see Acts 4:1-13].
21:15 For I will give you words and wisdom [to turn situation into an opportunity to witness for Christ] that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict [see Acts 6:8 — 7:60 re: Stephen].
21:16 You will be betrayed [as Judas betrayed Christ; personal persecution] even by [unbelieving] parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.
21:17 All [refers to universal scope of opposition] men will hate you because of me [indication of the world’s attitude toward Jesus and His followers].
21:18 But not a hair of your head will perish.
21:19 By standing firm [bear up under difficulties; endure in commitment to Jesus without wavering; demonstrate the reality of their conversion; the result of a right relationship with God] you will gain life.
21:20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation [“the abomination that causes desolation” (Mk. 13:14); Dan. 9:27; 11:31; wicked defilement of a holy place] is near [some believe this was fulfilled when the Roman army stood in the temple where it did not belong and destroyed it].
21:21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains [when Romans invaded in AD 66 many fled to the mountains], let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city [protection would not be found in the city].
21:22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.
21:23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers [running away to safety would be most difficult for these]! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.
21:24 They will fall by the sword [Josephus recorded that over one million people were killed] and will be taken as prisoners [Josephus recorded that 97,000 taken prisoner] to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles [this happened in AD 70] until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
21:25 “There will be signs in the sun [“will be darkened” (Matt. 24:29)], moon [“will not give its light” (Matt. 24:29)] and stars [“will fall from the sky” (Matt. 24:29)]. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea [cf. Rev. 6:12-14].
21:26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
21:27 At that time [cf. Mk. 13:24-25] they will see [the second coming of Christ will be a visible experience for all to see; cf. 1 Thess. 4:16] the Son of Man coming in [or “on”] a cloud [a sign of His deity] with power and great glory.
21:28 When these things [persecutions; natural disasters; cf. Lk. 21:25-26] begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption [deliverance] is drawing near [indication that the return of the Messiah is near].”
21:29 He told them this parable [re: when the events would occur (cf. 21:7)]: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees.
21:30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near [people can know what season it is by looking at trees or signs in nature].
21:31 Even so, when you see these things [described in preceding verses] happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near [the second coming of Jesus].
21:32 “I tell you the truth, this generation [refers to those living as well as to race or lineage (in this case the Jewish race)] will certainly not pass away until all these things [the destruction of Jerusalem and the end times] have happened.
21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away [what Jesus said will be fulfilled].
21:34 “Be careful [do not allow yourself to be distracted from watching and waiting for His return], or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.
21:35 For it will come upon all [no exceptions] those who live on the face of the whole earth.
21:36 Be always on the watch [shun evil; live holy], and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
21:37 Each day [during His final week on earth] Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives [probably in the city of Bethany (cf. Matt. 21:17)],
21:38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.