Participating in a Start Up

Luke 3 SCC 2/28/16



Jesus ministry in world history 1-2a

Luke names seven rulers working from the most comprehensive political ruler down to regional spiritual leaders. Tiberius ruled from a distance through Pontius Pilate who was on the ground in Jerusalem. The region was governed by tetrarchs responsible to Pontius Pilate like Herod Antipas of Galilee, his brother Philip and Lysanias. Annas and Caiaphas were key Jewish religious authorities. Johnís ministry stepped into this complex political and religious situation.

Gods revelation to John 2b-6

Luke wrote three things about the beginning of Johnís ministry. (1) The word of God [the call to prophetic ministry] came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness [where he was living (1:80)]. (2) And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (3) His ministry was a fulfillment of the words of Isaiah the prophet v 4-6. Although Isaiah was writing about the return of the exiles from Babylon, all three Synoptic Gospel writers applied Isaiahís words to John the Baptist. The point is Johnís calling clears the way and heralds the ministry of Jesus Christ coming as the deliverer from God. John is connecting the dots with Old Testament prophecy after 500 years of silence. So the biblical authors, in this case Isaiah and Luke, had different meanings in mind for this statement, but the Holy Spirit had both meanings in mind.



First, John has harsh words for everyone who is opposed to God if they do not prepare for his coming v 7. Second, John told those who came out to be baptized, to repent and not depend upon being descendants of Abraham. Third, he said, Indeed the axe [the judgment of God] is already laid at the root of the trees [the nation of Israel]; so every tree [every Israelite] that does not bear good fruit [the evidence of repentance] is cut down [individually judged] and thrown into the fire. Godís decisive judgment is nearer than they realize. Fourth, then John gave five examples of repentance: give clothing and give food v 10-11, donít swindle v 13, donít steal v 14, and be content with your wages v 14. This applied to the multitudes, and the tax-gatherers and soldiers they hated. This repentance is a concern for God, that he is present and coming, expressed through just treatment of fellow human beings. This is a basic human rights concern of God. Israelites were nasty to each other throughout their history. God demanded basic human justice in his theocracy. He asks for the same from His household today.

NB: There is going to be a judgment. One for unbelievers here with eternal consequences.



Verse 15: The people had a high level of expectancy now. John had created hope in the people. Speculation about John increased. All were fully reflecting upon the matter. Was John the Messiah? Johnís humility when he is being mistaken for Messiah is telling.

Verse 16: So inferior is John that he is not worthy to preform the most menial task for his master. One baptism is then offered to the world but it has two consequences. Those who accept it by accepting the one who brings it are purged and taken in baptized by the Holy Spiritóthe purpose of Jesus first coming. Those who do not are baptized by fireóthe purpose of Jesus second coming. Jesus, the Mightier One, will test all people and divide them. His ministry divided people.

Verse 17: The chaff tossed to the wind, gathered, and burned illustrates the fate of those who refuse him. That separation is perilous bringing decisive judgment. Jesus separates between peopleóall people. Luke wraps up this overview the message of good news v 18. John is a part of the movement toward salvation and sets the table for it.

NB: Jesusí ministry is in a different class than Johnís. Johnís teaching prepares for rather than parallels Jesusí teaching. God calls for people to humble themselves by repenting of any attempts to secure oneís salvation, and receive Jesus Christ becoming children of God. There is no other way. There is no other name. Attempts to unite under a Jesus is contrary to his ministry and message. The Pope uses Jesus as a means of social gospel to unite people under a Jesus that does not exist in the Bible.



A message about sin will not be welcomed 19-20

First, John moves from exhorting the crowdsí v 18, to rebuking a leader v 19. The rebuke was on two grounds: (1) Herod Antipas marries the wife of a near blood relative, his brotheróa violation of Lev 18:16. (2) His rebuke included all the evil that Herod had done. Second, Luke includes the worst crime of all. Herod silenced the criticism of his lack of morals by locking John up v 20. Herodís decision to suppress John indicated his rejection of Johnís critique with the power od the law for this tyranny.

NB: Some cannot stomach Godís message confronting their approach to life. Sin is ugly and some cannot stand to have it exposed. This is the tragedy of Herodís response. Jesus says His message will divide people who are provoked by a message of repentance for forgiveness of sins.

Jesus message forces people to choose 21-22

First, John notes that all the people were getting baptized underscoring his popularity v 21. Jesus choice to participate in Johns baptism: (1) represents an endorsement of Johnís ministry and message. (2) indicates how Jesus identified himself with people as he began his ministry. (3) Jesus emerges with the spirit descending as the coming one John had referred to.

Second, heavens opening is a common idea for Godís dramatic action like Stephen in Acts 7:56. God is entering into the everyday world. Clearly God is taking initiative to show humanity the way to him. Luke portrays a heavenly endorsement of the arrival of the Coming One v 22. The manner of the Spirits descent was like the way a dove floats gracefully through the airóit was dove like but not a dove image.

Third, Godís voice at this moment consists of three parts: 1. A reference to the Son; 2. A reference to the beloved; 3. A reference to pleasure in his son. Here is the idea of Jesusí intimate and chosen position specifically in relation to His fatherís calling upon Him. Psalm 2:7 is an OT messianic element behind the voiceís endorsement.

NB: So this is the first testimony to Jesus from heaven as Gods special agent as he prepares to embark on his mission. The baptism is an inauguration to begin the mission for which Jesus was always headed. Now with Godís confirmation having come to Jesus, John who was an introductory figure passes off of Lukeís stage. It is time for the main character to step forward.



This genealogy connects Jesusí relationship to all humankind as their representative all the way back to Adam and not just Abraham.

First, beginnings are important to Luke and he highlights them frequently. The age of thirty is an important marker for the beginning of service. This would be the age for priesthood (Num 4:3); the age of Joseph entering Pharaohís service (Gen 41:46); age of Ezekiel when called to ministry (Eze 1:1); and David when he started reigning (2 Sam 5:4). The age of thirty connects Jesus with these OT notables.

Second, Jesus sonship to Joseph comes with a remark showing that his sonship is strictly a legal one Ďsupposedí possibly alluding to the virgin birth. So the legal status of Jesus right to reign and claim of messiahship is his relationship to Joseph.

Third, most of the people mentioned are unknown until Nathan v 31. Nathan was Davidís third son, born to him in Jerusalem. God promised David Your house and Ö your throne shall be established forever (2 Samuel 7:16). This meant the king must have two things #1 a blood connection to David and #2 a throne connection to David.

Fourth, the Solomon line had those two rights to reign after David chose Solomon as his successor. But in Jeremiah 22:30 God said of Coniah, the would-be king of Solomonís line, write this man down childless [even though he had children] Ö For no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David. So Coniahís descendants had #2 the throne connection but lost #1 the blood connection to David. Joseph was a descendent of Coniah so he had #2 the throne connection to David but if his seed entered into a child, that child suffered the curse of Coniah and could not be king over Israel. Mary was also a descendent of David and Bathsheba (1 Chronicles 3:5). [Bathsheba bore David four children after the first one died.] through a different son, Nathan. So she had #1 the blood connection to David, but not #2 the throne connection. The marriage of Joseph and Mary, with the virgin birth of Jesus made Jesus the only legitimate descendent of David with both the throne connection and blood connection to David.



1. The only message that has an understanding of a biblical view of reality is repentance for forgiveness of sins. Our message for instance, is not a social gospel or global mending.

2. Repentance for forgiveness of sins is the ONLY way to avoid Gods decisive judgment to come.

3. This message will bring division with some believing and many denying the need for repentance.

4. Expect his message to be refused categorically by those unwilling to hear Jesus message.

5. Jesus message is genuine, authentic, and Gods view of reality though rejected.