February 28, 2020

The Opportunity in Opposition

Luke 21:1–24

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The Widow's Offering

Jesus1 looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.2 And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple

And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”

Jesus Foretells Wars and Persecution

10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers3 and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name's sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.

Jesus Foretells Destruction of Jerusalem

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Footnotes

[1] 21:1 Greek He
[2] 21:2 Greek two lepta; a lepton was a Jewish bronze or copper coin worth about 1/128 of a denarius (which was a day's wage for a laborer)
[3] 21:16 Or parents and brothers and sisters

The Opportunity in Opposition



Key Verse | Luke 21:12-13

But before all this they will lay hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness.

Bio | Madison Manning

Hi, y'all! My name is Madison, and I have the joy of serving with the community team and with Starting Blocks on Saturdays. Although I grew up in small-town East Texas, I craved the city life, and when given the chance to move, I went big and headed straight for the Big Apple. After five years of northern life, I decided I might have overshot and headed back south to Dallas, (my perfect in-between). God was so great to quickly bring me into an amazing community of fellow believers that challenge and encourage me in my faith each day.

Central Truth

Instead of reacting to opposition with fear or a "Why me?" mentality, we should look at how we can use the circumstances to share Christ.

Devotional | Luke 21:1–24

God has told us that we will have troubles in this world. In fact, He promises it! And still my first reaction is one of complaint, anger, frustration, and/or sadness. Never have I thought that whatever hardship...

God has told us that we will have troubles in this world. In fact, He promises it! And still my first reaction is one of complaint, anger, frustration, and/or sadness. Never have I thought that whatever hardship I was going through was an opportunity to share the gospel, and yet that is exactly what this passage tells us.

In Luke 21, Jesus is at the temple speaking to a mixed audience of religious leaders, temple-goers and followers, and he begins telling of future destruction and war. Not the most uplifting speech, but Jesus is honest with those listening. He tells them that to follow Him does not mean a life of ease and glory, but one of sacrifice and persecution. He warns us to not be swayed by false prophets and a false sense of security to escape our fear, but to take courage in knowing that hardships must come before Jesus returns.

But Jesus also promises to be with us in whatever trouble that comes our way and to even give us a platform to stand on to share His truth in word and action. Sometimes, I can take this gift to share Christ and make it about me, how I will be perceived, or if my words will be the right ones. And yet Jesus promises something even greater in assuring us that we do not need to worry about how we will defend Him, as He will give us the words and wisdom for what to say. Passages like this one remind me of what God has called us to do on this earth in the good times and the bad: to know Him and make Him known.

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Discussion Questions

1. In times of opposition or hardship, how do you first react?

2. Did you use these circumstances as a chance to share the gospel?

3. How can you remind yourself of what is true about God in times of trouble?

4. How can you use difficult circumstances to point others to Christ?

2 Comments available

Hugh Stephenson about 1 hour ago

200 years of an aberration. A great teaching in Summit this week pointed out that throughout most of the last 2,000 years believers almost always suffered all manner of persecutions, abuse, discriminations, executions and every other kind of injustice. It’s only in America in the last 200 years or so that we could worship openly and in freedom.

NFL – Not For Long.

My faith conversation on issues like Biblical truth, gender issues & abortion have cost me many friendships.

My faith walk has brought me the peace that passes all understanding. More than I could ever have believing as the world believes, (1 John 2:15-17).

My troubles, (alcoholism, porn addiction, materialism, unsaved prodigal children and many dysfunctions), led me to re:gen, Prodigal and Forgotten Fathers, (abortion recovery).

God is redeeming my rebellion by using my testimony to show others the truth that surrender is victory and obedience is freedom.

Hope Harris about 1 hour ago

GM JTJ peeps,

The widow who gave all that she had inspires me this morning. it reminds me to give my all. In his book the “Last Arrow”, author/ pastor Erwin McManus. Encourages me to “save nothing for eternity.” To give all that I have for the sake of the gospel.

The theme “Don’t stop, be strong and courageous” is coursing through my heart and mind of late and challenging me to move forward in what God has called me to do.

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