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Welcome back to the Bible Study, remember to stay in prayer when reading the Bible and to give praise to God for providing his word and his son. Alright let us begin.
1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,Luke 3:1 KJV
We are immediately given a time table to look at. At the time of these letters everyone would have known when this time period was. Kind of like if you were to say today during the time of Bill Clinton as president or the time of Trump as President. So, this is for context to put it into a more concrete date it was 29 AD, once again don’t let that bother you. The dates set BC and AD while meaning before Christ and after death, are not exact dates. He was not born and died in the same day. So obviously as a system there is going to be an overlap of dates.
This would make Jesus roughly about 30 years old give or take a few years. Once again we do not have the privileges of the exact dates of his birth.
2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.Luke 3:2 KJV
We need to stop here. The Temple has only one high priest. We have a real issue with this line. It is saying that there is two. First is Annas who was deposed of his position by the Roman empire. They installed Caiaphas, in doing so the Jewish people did not accept him as their high priest. This was a point of contention between the Jewish people and the Roman empire.
Now John instead of spending his formative years at the Temple like most priests he spent it out in the wilderness once again mirroring the prophet Elijah.
3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;Luke 3:3 KJV
Notice that he spent his time in the countryside, not inside the cities. I believe his message was utterly hated by the Temple priests. The concept of a Jew needing to repent of sins was anathema to their sensibilities. After all, all Jews are good regardless of what they do. After all they are God’s chosen people. This was the view of the time by many of the Jewish leaders. It is this attitude that kept them in captivity and outside of God’s favor. However, God in his mercy sent them prophets like John in order to bring them back to him.
I want you to be sensitive to an idea. This location also had significance to Elijah.
1 When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.
2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.2nd Kings 2:1-2 KJV
Bethel is located in the southern countryside of the Jordan. John in a way is picking up where Elijah left off his ministry. He partook in the same experiences as Elijah in preparation for his message. I am not suggesting that John is an incarnation of Elijah.
We have the advantage of hearing baptism as a standard term however, this was not a thing during those times and times previous to this. So let’s look at what this ritual looks like.
So we have submersion in water, a confession of sins and a ritual cleansing of sin, generally Christian’s today do this to represent their “born again” status. So, what historic rituals were similar in the Jewish tradition.
We come upon the Tvilah (טְבִילָה). Now there is two forms of this. One is to wash the hands with a cup. However, the other form is the one that is more interesting to our topic. It is immersion in the Mikveh, which is like a tub of water. This ritual is done for a number of different reasons. The main theme of this however is to make one ritually clean. This is most often observed before Yom Kippur (The Day Of Atonement).
So what we have here in baptism is something similar pointing to a confession of sin being part of the ritual cleansing making the Mikveh less dominant and the confession of sin the more important place. The water being an icon of cleaning.
4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.Luke 3:4-5 KJV
This is a quoted prophecy from Isaiah.
3 A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”Isaiah 40:3-5 KJV
You might notice that there is a slight difference here. This is because Luke was quoting these verses from the Greek Septuagint translation. He most likely did not know Hebrew fluently, however he would have certainly known Greek. This being far more of a familiar language would explain his choice.
Now something to understand is when kings used to travel they would have people go ahead of them and clear the path. It was dangerous for a king to travel hindered due to threat of being harmed or captured and also his time is important. John is preparing the way for the coming King. This would be a familiar concept to the people of this time.
However, John is not talking about a physical path in a physical desert. He is talking about a spiritual path in a spiritual desert. He was preparing people for the message of the Lord. So that they could receive it. An inspiration of self reflection among any that would receive the message.
7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?Luke 3:7 KJV
This statement is very harsh. Vipers is a reference to Genesis actually.
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.Genesis 3:14-15 KJV
What John is preaching is these people are sons of Satan, not sons of God. Notice that the seeds mentioned are the seed of the woman (Jesus) and the seed of the serpent (Nimrod?). There are two religious systems. The mystery religion which was established at Babylon when they were building the tower of Babel. Which is salvation achieved by one self, and Jesus’s system salvation achieved through God’s mercy alone. You can choose one or the two, you can follow the law and never sin in your entire life. Sure, you can attempt that but I am sure most everyone reading this has sinned at least once in their life up unto this point. You are screwed because the punishment of sin is death.
An impossible standard, one that God recognizes. This is why he sent Christ to the world in the first place. To remove us of our sins so that we can be claimed by God. I am going for that route. It is the only option I have left, and I am sure it is the only option you too have left. Not a single person can claim righteousness. We are all selfish by nature.
Don’t get me wrong, Christianity is not a license to sin. I am going to stress though, it is not about adapting to be like Jesus, it is about allowing Jesus to form it within us. Our very nature will change, we will become a new creature in him. This is what baptism is. This is the message the vipers reject. They claim their righteousness through merit. Prideful, just like their father, Satan.
8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.Luke 3:8-9 KJV
Another strange statement from John. He is telling these people they are imposters and they are not children of Abraham and that their blood line means nothing to God.
Now it would be easy to just assume the stones mentioned are just river stones or whatever rocks were on the ground at this riverbank. Some people suggest that the stones may be the stone monuments mentioned in Joshua.
2 Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,
3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.
4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:
5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:Joshua 4:2-5 KJV
So they set up monuments to commemorate the crossing of the Jordan with the arc of the Covenant. It seems a little bit like a stretch right.
6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.Joshua 4:6-7 KJV
The lack of context anticipates you asking the question. What are these stones John mentions. These are a testament to the sons of Israel. How fitting for them to be pointed out to display these are no longer the true sons of Israel but of Satan instead.
10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.Luke 3:10-11 KJV
I want to stop here and point out a heresy that is becoming common with this verse. This is not a support of Socialism. This is a person as an individual seeing a need and filling it with what they are abundant in. John is saying if you have enough for yourself and you see someone in need of what you have enough of, you are to share it. He is not suggesting you go without for someone, nor is he suggesting the government force you to either. He is suggesting it is good to help others. This is attesting to your character as a person. Not the deed in itself. The deed is worthless if it is not self inspired. God wants you to WANT TO do these things, not FORCE you to do them.
12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.Luke 3:12-13 KJV
This likewise is saying that politicians and public servants are worthy of their work. God is not anti-government. John is saying that they are to collect and to carry out their duties in accordance to the law appointed to them. However, he is saying don’t go beyond your duties, don’t over tax someone and pocket it. Don’t be corrupt. Be upright and serve your office in a goodly fashion.
14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.Luke 3:14 KJV
Once again God is not anti-soldier or police officer. John is not suggesting to the soldier he should repent of his profession. He is saying not to harm anyone outside of what must be done to serve (in cases of war and defending the land obviously you must fight.), don’t make a false report to solve an issue or crime, and to be content with your wages. Don’t start a rebellion or refuse to do your duty as a soldier due to wanting an increase in the wage you agreed upon when enlisting.
Moreover, all these things apply to every one of us in some form or another. The point is once again, to not adapt to form but to allow these things to form within us.
15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;Luke 3:15 KJV
Last chapter I pointed out how the people were naturally spreading rumors. Apparently one of the common rumors was that John was the Christ. This misconception could be forgiven since Jesus had not begun his ministry. However, John being a righteous servant of God, did not allow it to tempt him. He carried out his duties properly without taking a mantel that was not his. His was the mantel of Elijah.
16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.Luke 3:16-18 KJV
Now John makes a distinction between his WATER baptism, being a lesser baptism than the baptism of Christ. Christ will come and baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. This is the Christian baptism, the sprinkling or submersion in water is not a true baptism. John who performed it even tells us that.
19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,
20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.Luke 3:19-20 KJV
John was ultimately imprisoned. These verses are out of order for some reason or another. John never left prison, he was beheaded. Luke for some reason decided to add this detail here before the next portion.
21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.Luke 3:21-22 KJV
So when Jesus is baptized. “THE HEAVEN” is opened up, this is the third heaven, the dwelling place of God. This was a visible thing, the people here apparently saw all this. Maybe it was just John and Jesus. Out of this opening, the Holy Spirit visibly descends in the form of a dove upon Jesus. A dove is a symbol of peace. A voice came from the opening saying that Jesus was his Son, no doubt God’s voice, and that he was very pleased with him.
23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,Luke 3:23 KJV
Now we are given the genealogy of Jesus.
24 Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph,
25 Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge,
26 Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda,
27 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri,
28 Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er,
29 Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi,
30 Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim,
31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David,
32 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson,
33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda,
34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor,
35 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala,
36 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,
37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,
38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.Luke 3:24-38 KJV
Adam is referred to as the son of God because he is a direct creation of God to father. We are all offspring of Adam. So don’t let that confuse you at all.
Well with that, another study finished. We are well on our way into the book of Luke. I hope you all have been enjoying this as much as I have. Have a great day and a better tomorrow.
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