The Ministry of John the Baptist
Verse 1 – Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,
Herod the Great left his kingdom to three sons when he died. Herod Antipas was tetrarch of Galilee. He is the one who imprisoned John the Baptist, and to whom our Savior, when arraigned, sent Him to Pilate.
Verse 2 – Annas and Caiaphas being high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
Under Jewish law there was to be only one high priest and they kept that position until death. However, by this time the religious system had become so corrupt that the Roman government were appointing the religious leaders to keep more control over the Jewish people. Annas probably didn’t exactly follow their corrupt ways, so the Romans appointed Caiaphas, Anna’s son-in-law as high priest also.
Verse 3 – And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,
Verse 4 – as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness; ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.
Verse 5 – Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; and the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways made smooth;
Verse 6 – And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”
Luke quoted from Isaiah to show that salvation is open to all, Jew and Gentile.
Verse 7 – Then he said to the multitude that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
That’s a different way to start preaching than what we hear today. Most pastors start with, “Welcome… John didn’t. He knew by the Holy Spirit that some came only to be baptized by him to escape eternal punishment and had no intention of truly changing.
Verse 8 – “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Most of them hearing John, relied on heritage from Abraham, instead of faith in God. For them religion was inherited. A personal relationship is not handed down from parent to child. We don’t rely on someone else’s faith for salvation.
Verse 9 – “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Verse 10 – So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”
Verse 11 – He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”
John tells them to repent and bear fruit. Salvation without either one of these is useless to the kingdom. Repentance is not just saying, “I repent.” True repentance is a changed life put into action, and then good works will follow.
Verse 12 – Then the tax collectors came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
Verse 13 – And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”
Verse 14 – Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” so he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”
To the general population, John answered, be compassionate, sharing with those less fortunate. To the tax collectors, stop taking more than is required by the government. To the soldiers, don’t push your authority on others.
Verse 15 – Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not,
Verse 16 – John answered, saying to them all, “I indeed baptize with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptized you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
John knew a day was coming when people would be baptized with the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit – the Day of Pentecost!
Verse 17 – “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”
The chaff symbolizes the worthless husk that covers the wheat. The outer shell that pretends so often, will be taken away to expose the wheat, the heart. Christ looks on the heart and judges justly. He knows who is truly born-again and who is not. Just as the chaff is thrown into an eternal fire, so will be the outcome of non-believers – unquenchable fire.
Verse 18 – And with many other exhortations he preached to the people.
Verse 19 – But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,
Verse 20 – also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison.
Herod didn’t put John in prison until sometime later though. This was simply showing that no one escaped John’s preaching.
The Baptism of Christ
Verse 21 – Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened.
Jesus was baptized to identify Himself and His ministry with the ministry and message of His forerunner John.
Verse 22 – And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
The Genealogy of Christ Through Mary
The family tree of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke is considerably different from the one in Matthew. Luke traces Jesus’ lineage all the way back to Adam. Matthew started at Abraham, emphasizing the relationship with Israel. Luke emphasizes Jesus relationship with all mankind.
Verse 23 – Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli,
Heli was Joseph’s father-in-law, Matthew 1:6 states that Jacob was Joseph’s father.
Verse 24 – the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son Janna, the son of Joseph,
Verse 25 – the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggi,
Verse 26 – the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah,
Are you catching the more well-known names mentioned on Mary’s side of the family?
Verse 27 – the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,
Verse 28 – the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er,
Verse 29 – the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,
Verse 30 – the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim,
Verse 31 – the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathan, the son of Nathan, the son of David.
Verse 32 – the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
Verse 33 – the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
Verse 34 – the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
There is only one David and only one Abraham, which shows the unique name to easily identify.
Verse 35 – the son of Serug, the son of Rew, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,
Verse 36 – the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Hoah, the son of Lamech,
Verse 37 – the son of Methuselah (Remember him? He lived to the ripe old age of 969 years.), the son of Enoch (Enoch lived 365 years before he was taken by God – no death), the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son Cainan,
Verse 38 – the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
All these men married who they were supposed to in order to have the children that were connected to God’s plan of bringing Christ into this world. We too, have the parents we are supposed to have, in order to fit into the bigger picture of God’s plan. Never, ever, take for granted your marriage vows. They are designed by God!