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John Begins his Ministry

 

3:1-2 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his

brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was 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.

 

Luke is always specific in dating the times of the events he records.  Tiberias Caesar had been Roman Emperor for fifteen years, Pontius Pilate

governor of Judea, Heord Antipas tetrarch of Galilee etc.  This would make it the year A.D. 29. Annas and Caiphas could not have been both High

Priest at the same time.  So Caiphas would have been the High Priest and Annas had been the High Priest although still referred to as High Priest.  

It was in this year that the Word of God came to John the Baptist while he was in the wilderness.

 

3:3 He went into all the region around the Jordan River, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

 

He went into all the region bordering the river Jordan preaching repentance and that the people should be baptised to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God.

 

3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, "The voice of one shouting in the wilderness  'Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight."

 

This he did in fulfilment of the prophesy of Isaiah that someone would come shouting in the wilderness the message to prepare the way for the Lord make a way clear for Him (Isa. 40:3).

 

3:5-6 Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be brought low, and the crooked will be made straight, and the rough ways will be made smooth, and all humanity will see the salvation of God.' "

 

This description is not literal but figuratively means that every obstacle will be removed so that everybody will see the salvation sent from God (John 14:6).

 

His Message of Repentance

 

3:7 So John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, "You offspring of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

 

There were many Scribes and Pharisees that were among the crowd that came to hear John and in Matt. 3:7 it was these that John called "a brood of vipers". He was unveiling their hypocrisy for he knew that they had not come to receive his message of repentance but to spy.

 

3:8 Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, and don't begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones!

 

Nevertheless he calls them to repent and show by their changed lives that they indeed had. He tells them not to think that they are all right before God because they are descendants of Abraham for this accounted for nothing.   God was able to create children for Abraham out of the stones that lay on the ground around them.

 

3:9 Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

 

At that very moment the axe of God's judgement was ready to cut off all those who do not repent and bare the fruits of repentance in their lives. The would be cast into the fire (Rev. 20:15).

 

3:10 So the crowds were asking him, "What then should we do?"

 

The people asks John what it is they had to do, not the Scribes and Pharisees among them because they had hardened their hearts.

 

3:11 John answered them, "The person who has two tunics must share with the person who has none, and the person who has food must do likewise."

 

The first thing that he teaches them is to have a care and concern for one another. If they had enough for themselves and a neighbour was in need then help him out whether it is clothing or food.

 

3:12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, "Teacher, what should we do?"

 

The tax collectors who had come seeking repentance and to be baptised asked him what they should do.

 

3:13 He told them, "Collect no more than you are required to."

 

He tells them to stop cheating and robbing the people and to collect only what was demanded by the government.

 

3:14 Then some soldiers also asked him, "And as for us — what should we do?" He told them, "Take money from no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your pay."

 

The soldiers ask him likewise. He told them to stop enforcing their duty by terrifying the people, making false accusations and extorting protection money. They should be satisfied with the wages they are paid for doing their job.

 

Foretells the Imminence of Christ

 

3:15 While the people were filled with anticipation and they all wondered whether perhaps John could be the Christ.

 

The people were living in expectation of the coming of the Messiah, the Christ, and wondered whether John was the Christ and some must have asked him straight out.

 

3:16 John answered them all, "I baptize you with water, but one more powerful than I am is coming — I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

 

John told them that he was not the Christ for he only baptised them in water but there is one that will soon come who is mightier than him. He, John is not worthy even to be the slave of this one, not even to untie his sandal straps. This great one will baptised with the Holy Spirit and fire.

 

3:17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clean out his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up with inextinguishable fire."

 

The winnowing fan or fork was used to separate the chaff from the grain, that which was of no use from that which was good. So John refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as separate the hypocrite from the real, those who sincerely sought after God and those who made a pretence of doing so. The false would be burned in the fire while the true would be gathered unto Christ.

 

And in this way, with many other exhortations, John proclaimed good news to the people, but John also preached many such warnings as this to the people.

 

3:19-20 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother's wife, and because of all the evil deeds that he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked up John in prison.

 

John had rebuked Herod the tetrarch for taking his brother Philips wife, Herodias, as his wife and also for many other evils he had done. He added to all his other sins by putting John in prison.

 

The Baptism of Jesus

 

3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. And while he was praying, the heavens opened.

 

One day when John has finished baptising all the people Jesus also came to be baptised by him, while Jesus was praying the heaven opened.

 

3:22 And the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my one dear Son; in you I take great delight."

 

The Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove and settled upon Him and the voice of God the Father came from heaven saying "You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased".

 

Who Jesus is

 

3:23-38 So Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years old. He was 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 Mahalalel, the son of Kenan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

 

Jesus began His ministry at the age of thirty and the people took Him to be the son of Joseph.  In the remainder of the chapter Luke lists the family lineage of Joseph but he has already made the point in verse 22 that God had made known that Jesus was His only begotten Son, not Joseph's. That is why in verse 23 he makes the point that the people took Jesus to be Joseph's son because he was marrried to Mary.  

 

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