November 4 (Year 2)
And then He turned His attention from the religious scholars to some wealthy people who were depositing their donations in the offering boxes. A widow, obviously poor, came up and dropped two copper coins in one of the boxes.
Jesus: I’m telling you the truth, this poor widow has made a bigger contribution than all of those rich fellows. They’re just giving from their surplus, but she is giving from her poverty—she’s giving all she has to give.
Some people were impressed with the temple’s opulence—the precious stones and expensive decorations—but Jesus countered their observations.
Jesus: Go ahead, look around, and be impressed; but days are coming when one stone will not be left standing on another. Everything here will be demolished.
Crowd: When will this happen, Teacher? What signs will tell us this is about to occur?
Jesus: Be careful. It’s easy to be deceived. Many people will come claiming to have My authority. They’ll shout, “I’m the One!” or “The time is now!” Don’t take a step in their direction. You’ll hear about wars and conflicts, but don’t be frightened at all because these things must surely come, although they don’t signify the immediate coming of the end. You can count on this: nation will attack nation, and kingdom will make war on kingdom. There will be disturbances around the world—from great earthquakes to famines to epidemics. Terrifying things will happen, and there will be shocking signs from heaven. But before any of this happens, they will capture you and persecute you. They’ll send you to synagogues for trial and to prisons for punishment; you’ll stand before kings and government officials for the sake of My name. This will be your opportunity—your opportunity to tell your story. Make up your mind in advance not to plan your strategy for answering their questions, for when the time comes, I will give you the words to say—wise words—which none of your adversaries will be able to answer or argue against. Your own parents, brothers, relatives, and friends will turn on you and turn you in. Some of you will be killed, and all of you will be hated by everyone for the sake of My name.
But whatever happens, not a single hair of your heads will be harmed. By enduring all of these things, you will find not loss but gain—not death but authentic life.
Here’s how you will know that the destruction of Jerusalem and her temple is imminent: Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies. When that happens, there’s only one thing to do: if you’re in Judea, flee to the mountains; and if you’re inside the city, escape; and if you’re outside the city, stay there—don’t enter— because the time has come for the promised judgment to fall. How sad it will be for all the pregnant women, for all the nursing mothers in those days! All the land of Israel and all her people will feel the distress, the anger, falling on them like rain. The sword will cut some down, the outsider nations will take others captive, and this holy city, this Jerusalem, will be trampled upon by the outsiders until their times are fulfilled.
There will be earth-shattering events—the heavens themselves will seem to be shaken with signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars. And across the earth the outsider nations will feel powerless and terrified in the face of a roaring flood of fear and foreboding, crashing like tidal waves upon them. “What’s happening to the world?” people will wonder. The cosmic order will be destabilized. And then, at that point, they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and blazing glory. So when the troubles begin, don’t be afraid. Look up—raise your head high, because the truth is that your liberation is fast approaching.
(continuing with a parable) Look over there at that fig tree—and all the trees surrounding it. When the leaves break out of their buds, nobody has to tell you that summer is approaching; it’s obvious to you. It’s the same in the larger scheme of things. When you see all these things happening, you can be confident that the kingdom of God is approaching. I’m telling you the truth: this generation will not pass from the scene before everything I’m telling you has occurred. Heaven and earth will cease to exist before My words ever fail.
So be careful. Guard your hearts. They can be made heavy with moral laxity, with drunkenness, with the hassles of daily life. Then the day I’ve been telling you about might catch you unaware and trap you. Because it’s coming—nobody on earth will escape it. So you have to stay alert, praying that you’ll be able to escape the coming trials so you can stand tall in the presence of the Son of Man.
Through this whole period of time, He taught in the temple each day. People would arrive at the temple early in the morning to listen. Then, at day’s end, He would leave the city and sleep on Mount Olivet.