LINK: Luke 3
Luke, being the historian that he was, very clearly dates these events at the beginning of the chapter. He also made it clear that John was acting out of obedience to God's call on his life.
John, for his part, clearly recognized those who were showing up but were not truly repentant of heart. He nailed them. On the other hand, many came who had a true change of heart and wanted to know how to live righteous lives.
John made it clear to his audience that he was not the Messiah but the Messiah would arrive on the scene very soon.
Jesus came to John to be baptized. While he was being baptized, the Holy Spirit descended, and the Father spoke from heaven. This is one of the times in scripture where all three persons of the Trinity are clearly present.
The genealogy presented here by Luke is of Mary's family. (The Eli mentioned in verse 23 is Mary's father, Joseph's father-in-law.) Because Luke's audience isn't Jewish, he doesn't stop when he gets to Abraham but traces the genealogy all the way back to God's creation of Adam. Luke will emphasize throughout his book that Jesus is the "Son of Man." The humanness of Jesus will be clearly seen as we read through Luke's account. And the reader will understand that Jesus is the savior of the Gentiles, not just the Jews.
So, what did John mean when he said in verse eight, "bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance"? Repentance means changing one's mind from an old way of thinking to a new way. John was telling them to change what they believed. And when that change really occurred, it would be followed by a change in behavior. The same is true for us. When God convicts me of something in my life, I have to go through a process (sometimes quickly, but sometimes I'm slow) where I change my thinking. My heart changes, and I no longer believe that what I was doing (or not doing) is okay. I begin to see the issue from God's perspective rather than my own old way of thinking. When that happens on the inside of me, the fruit of that repentance is seen by others as a change in my behavior. If there's no fruit, no change, there probably wasn't any real repentance.
Is there something you need to repent of today? Are you stubbornly insisting on doing things your own way? Is God whispering to your heart that you need to change some behavior? Is there something in your life you aren't sure if God approves of? Search the scripture and see what God thinks. Let's align our thinking, our hearts, our behavior with God's way instead of our own.
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me. Then I acknowledged my sin to You, and did not try to hide my iniquity any longer. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord." And You, Lord, did forgive the guilt of my sin. Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found. You, Lord, are my hiding place. You preserve me from trouble. You give me songs of deliverance. (from Psalm 32) Thank you, Lord, for delivering me from the trap of my sin through the blood of Jesus, amen.