Sunday, February 17, 2013

Luke 3 - Baptism and Genealogy of Jesus

LINK: Luke 3

16. John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus: Matthew 3:1-12, Mark 1:1-8, Luke 3:1-18

It is the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, A.D. 29. Tiberius ruled over the Roman Empire from A.D. 14 to A.D. 37 and Pilate was the governor of Judea from A.D. 26 to A.D. 36. The reigning Jew over Galilee and Tiberius is Herod Antipas who we have already mentioned in a previous post. His brother, Philip, ruled east of the Jordan from 4 B.C. to A.D. 34. Annas was the high priest from A.D. 6 to A.D. 15. Caiaphas was his son-in-law and the Romans would replace him as high priest from A.D. 18 to A.D. 36 even though the Jews continued to recognize Annas.

John has been growing, becoming strong in spirit and living in the desert until his public appearance in Israel (Luke 1:80). This is that public appearance. As a descendant from the priestly line of Aaron, John could have been a priest, but God had for him to be His messenger (Malachi 3:1) preaching a very special message in the Judean desert and the country around the Jordan River. His message was direct and to the point:

"Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

We know from our reading of the Old Testament that the concept of a coming kingdom with a reigning king is huge. The idea of repentance prior to entrance into that kingdom was the new concept for the Jews. They thought that entrance was automatic for them. John said that they needed to "repent." This Greek word metanoéō comes from the base word noéō which means to "perceive, think, know." Repent means to change your opinion, feelings, or purpose from what you thought you always knew! If what you thought you always knew was wrong the word takes on the sense "to regret" (The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by Kittel). They thought they knew the way into heaven, but John had come to tell them about the real way, and it came via a man who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

John exhorts his audience to bear fruit in keeping with righteousness. Just being baptized and being Abraham's descendants would not give them an "in" with God!  The Luke account goes into more detail about what would give evidence of genuine repentance: generosity, honesty, and contentment. It All three are tied to money and material possessions.  It is interesting to note that the Luke account is the only one that proclaims that "all mankind" (not just the Jews) will see God's salvation (Luke 3:6). This is probably because Luke's audience was non-Jewish. 

26. Herod puts John in prison: Luke 3:19-20

Even though this is put before the baptism of Jesus in the gospel of Luke, it is a "flash forward" comment to explain the ministry of John the Baptist since the gospel writer was writing after all of these events. This is the approximate time the actual imprisonment takes place.  Scholars debate its date. It is believed he started his ministry in A.D. 29 and was imprisoned the following year and beheaded no later than A.D. 32. 

"Herod the tetrarch" is Herod Antipas I (son of Herod the Great). He was called "tetrarch" because he was ruler of a fourth part of his father's kingdom. Herodias was Herod's half niece (daughter of his half-brother, Aristobulus) and also his half-brother, Philip's, wife. He divorced his wife (daughter of the Arabian king, Aretas IV) in order to marry Herodias who had divorced Philip. John was in prison for telling Herod it was unlawful to marry his brother's wife (Leviticus 18:16; 20:21; Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9).

17. The baptism of Jesus: Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22

Francesco Albani [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
After the announcement by John the Baptist, Jesus reappears after an 18 years absence from the narrative (Luke 3:23). Jesus came to "fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15) by being baptized; but the Law did not require baptism. What did He mean by this statement? Jesus did not need baptism for repentance, but he needed to identify with sinners.

Only Luke's account (Luke 3:21) states that Jesus was praying at His baptism (one could argue that He was always praying because He was always in connection with the Father). God broke into the course of HIS-story when the heavens were opened with the revelation of His Son! Doesn't it sound like Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1?  WOW!

The Holy Spirit descending like a dove marks a time when all three members of the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are mentioned. 

3. The Record of Jesus' Ancestors: Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38 

Luke traces the physical, or priestly, line of Jesus through Mary, His biological mother and starts with Adam because he wrote primarily for the Gentiles. He wanted them to know they were part of God's wonderful plan because we are all sons of Adam. From Abraham to David, the Matthew and Luke genealogies are identical, but they diverge at two sons of David, Solomon and Nathan. They come back again during the Babylonian Captivity at Shealtiel who was the biological son of Neri but the adopted heir of Jechoniah. Jechoniah had no male heirs because he was cursed by God for his sins (Jeremiah 22:30). 

By comparison, Matthew traces the legal or royal ancestry of the Messiah through Joseph, Jesus' legal (if not biological) father.  Matthew's beginning point is Abraham. 

I color-coded the generations where the two genealogies overlap in bold blue and the person where they diverge in bold red. Luke starts several generations before Matthew, and I color-coded this in non-bold blue. 

Genealogy of Jesus according to Luke through Mary's Line
  1. God
  2. Adam
  3. Seth
  4. Enosh
  5. Kenan
  6. Mahalalel
  7. Jared
  8. Enoch
  9. Methuselah
  10. Lamech
  11. Noah
  12. Shem
  13. Arphaxad
  1. Cainan
  2. Shelah
  3. Eber
  4. Peleg
  5. Reu
  6. Serug
  7. Nahor
  8. Terah
  9. Abraham
  10. Isaac
  11. Jacob
  12. Judah
  13. Pharez
  1. Hezron
  2. Ram
  3. Amminadab
  4. Nahshon
  5. Salmon
  6. Boaz
  7. Obed
  8. Jesse
  9. David
  10. Nathan
  11. Mattatha
  12. Menna
  13. Melea
  1. Eliakim
  2. Jonam
  3. Joseph
  4. Judah
  5. Simeon
  6. Levi
  7. Matthat
  8. Jorim
  9. Eliezer
  10. Joshua
  11. Er
  12. Elmadam
  13. Cosam
  1. Addi
  2. Melchi
  3. Neri - CAPTIVITY
  4. Shealtiel
  5. Zerubbabel
  6. Rhesa
  7. Joanan
  8. Joda
  9. Josech
  10. Semein
  11. Mattathias
  12. Mahath
  13. Naggai
  1. Hesli
  2. Nahum
  3. Amos
  4. Mattathias
  5. Joseph
  6. Jannai
  7. Melchi
  8. Levi
  9. Matthat
  10. Heli
  11. Mary[5] & Joseph*
  12. Jesus
from "Genealogy of Jesus" at

To see the two genealogical charts on top of one another for comparison, go to the Gospel Harmony Book Club: HERE.


If you did not try this meditation method when you read the account of the baptism of Jesus in Matthew, maybe you should try it now. If you already did, why don’t you put yourself in the shoes of different person in the scene?

It would have been amazing to be there when Jesus was baptized and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were all present as One. Put yourself in this scene by trying the Loyola Method of meditation below.

There is also an entire handout on many methods of meditation for download HERE

Get Totally Involved -The Loyola Method

(Adapted from the “Spiritual Exercises” of Ignatius Loyola. He was a spiritual director in the 16th century. The Loyola Method works better when you have a passage that involves a narrative story.)

PART ONE (Preparation)

a. In prayer, ask God for grace to direct your thoughts, words, and actions to service and praise of his Divine Majesty.

b. Read the passage upon which you intend to meditate. Read unhurriedly, but without attempting yet to meditate on the passage. Your goal now is simply to familiarize yourself with the passage.

c. Determine an objective for your meditation time and ask God to help you accomplish it. If the passage you choose, for example, is the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2:1–7, your objective may be a sense of awe and humility as you contemplate the mystery of-your Savior’s entry into the world.

Usually this preliminary request is formulated in terms of some emotion you wish God to give you as a result of your meditation. Ignatius Loyola believed that the ultimate purpose of meditation is application (that is, an act of the will), and that the will is motivated primarily by emotion rather than reason.

PART TWO (Meditation)

a. Visualize the scene. In the case of Luke 2:1–7, see in your mind the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Is it level, or does it wind through valleys and around hillsides? See Mary, in her ninth month of pregnancy, riding on a donkey, accompanied by Joseph who is perhaps leading an ox. They are going to Bethlehem to pay a tax. What kind of people are they passing on the way? Soldiers? Peasants? Merchants? Other families?
Study in your imagination the place of the Nativity. Is it spacious or cramped? Clean or dirty? Warm or cold? How is it furnished?

b. Assume the role of one of the characters in the passage, or of someone else who might be present. In Luke 2, for example, you could be the hotel’s servant or maid.

c. Now apply your five senses to the scene. Look carefully, watching all the action. Use your ears as you listen in on conversations. Apply your senses of smell and touch. What odors are present? What quality of garments are being worn? Feel the woodwork of the manger. Smell and feel the straw. Apply your sense of taste—is there anything there to eat?

d. Analyze your own feelings as a member of the scene. How do you feel about what is happening? How do you feel about the persons involved? How do you feel about yourself?

PART THREE (Conversation)

Talk to Joseph, or Mary, or someone else in the scene. Talk to them about the thoughts that have come to your mind as you have meditated on this passage. Talk to God or to the Lord Jesus.
          This conversation should in most cases lead to some form of action or personal application. 

Adapted From Discipleship Journal, Issue 6 (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress)


Thank You, Lord Jesus, for coming to fulfill all righteousness and being righteousness on my behalf. We desire to do Your will, God. Amen. 

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