John the Baptist Prepares the Way
3 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
Luke 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
400 years of silence had smothered the Israelites. For 400 years God had not spoken one word to His people. When the time came for His voice to proclaim a new era – he used the most unusual individual. There’s no getting around the fact John the Baptist was a unique and odd character of His choosing. He wore strange clothes, ate weird food and preached a most unusual message. Because the power of the Holy Spirit was upon him, people traveled out to the wastelands to see him as their hearts burned within of the Word of God being proclaimed.
John had a very specific role to play in the unfolding of the long-awaited Messiah. In those days, when a king was about to take a trip, he would send out messengers along the highways and byways to announce his planned passing through. It was an announcement for the people to prepare themselves for royalty to pass their way. I love this picture as John’s role was just that – after 400 years of silence, the King was coming.
This wild-looking man had absolutely zero power or authority by the world’s standards, yet his voice carried the ultimate authority from God as he spoke with powerful boldness. People were to repent of their sins, be baptized, and look for the long-awaited King of kings. People flocked by the hundreds. The way was being prepared.
John the Baptist’s role was critical. He was to point people toward Jesus. Really this is our same role. We live in a very upside-down world where there is so much skepticism and animosity to the ways of God. What else inundates people today is complacency. Many hearts who once were tuned into Jesus’ have turned cold.
Oh, people, our mission is critical. We are placed where we are, with the connections we have to point others toward Jesus. God uses every individual who has a heart turned in obedience to Him to make an impact and even prepare a way for an encounter with the King. We are His messengers. May we take seriously this calling; may we open our eyes to the surroundings and those whom God has placed on our path.
Luke 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The way the Holy Spirit moved in order for Jesus Christ to come into this world is really fascinating.
There are so many wonderful stories in Christ’s family tree. The interesting thing is, the process and genealogy which took place in order for our Savior Jesus Christ to be born – these stories of his ancestors were not nice, clean, polished examples of morality and purity. They were messy. And this is such a great aspect of the person of the Holy Spirit who works continually in the mess.
So, when we look at the life of Jesus and examine His story, and how He came to be, we should not feel distant from Him, but rather, very connected to it because we are messy people ourselves. In every aspect of our lives, Christ can relate to us, and we can relate to him. It is a fact the ancestry of Jesus Christ himself is filled with a lot of underdog stories. Therefore, Christ’s genealogy is a testament to the guidance, power and amazing grace of the Holy Spirit.
Here in Luke 3, we read the long list of names that traces the genealogy of Christ. Matthew, in his Gospel, traces the genealogy of Abraham down to Joseph (Jesus’ father), while Luke’s account here traces the genealogy from Jesus’ mother Mary all the way back to Adam. Matthew’s text was written for the Jews while Luke’s was written to the Greeks, or, Gentiles, so there is a different audience they are writing to. There is a lot of debate among scholars because the genealogies take different paths but here is what you need to know; through both of these accounts, Jesus is most definitely a descendant of Abraham and a descendant of David.
Why is this important? Because it fulfills two very important prophecies concerning the Messiah. Scripture predicted long ago that the Messiah would be a son of David and a son of Abraham. The Jews who read Matthew’s account would have been concerned with the royal or legal line. They would have wanted to know if Jesus legally came down from the true Jewish lineage of Abraham. That’s exactly where Matthew starts, and he ends with Joseph.
Luke, on the other hand, being the detailed-minded individual that he was, traces the lineage from Mary all the way back to Adam. He was concerned with communicating the complete bloodline of Christ and how He relates to all of humanity.
Both accounts go through David, however, they go through different sons of David. Joseph came through the line of David’s son Solomon, and Mary came through the line of David’s son Nathan.
Who knew genealogy could be so exciting, right? Seriously though, the facts are there. The lineage proves it. Jesus was not just some man claiming to be God’s son. He was the true Messiah with a history of perfectly fulfilled prophecies since the creation of man. That thought alone should bring us to a place of awesome worship.