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Bible Commentaries

Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 3

Introduction

  1. Introduction
    READ: Luke 3:1-2
    1. We are transitioning to the ministry beginnings of both John the Baptist and Jesus after last week looking at Jesus when He was 12 years old.
    2. We recall from chapter 1 that John was prophesied to be coming in the spirit and power of Elijah -- and Elijah wasn’t politically correct. >> He killed the 400 prophets of Baal…something that would be frowned upon today.
    3. Jesus will begin His ministry identifying with man – He is completely human yet completely God… something we can’t necessarily understand but surely something we must embrace by faith.

Verses 1-20

  1. John the Baptist
    1. John’s Message
      Luk 3:2-6 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 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.
      1. Look at this… the Word of God came to John after 400 years of silence. It doesn’t come to some famous guy…it comes to a man in the wilderness who desires to speak unashamedly for God! This is a guy who walks in the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit!
      2. Paul said, Rom 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
      3. Notice, however, that John waited for God’s timing for His ministry…and he didn’t move ahead of God – something that is very important!
      4. When we follow our flesh…or our emotions and make assumptions or have expectations – we can get ourselves in trouble or out of God’s perfect will. Just think of Moses…
      5. Moses was called to ministry but when he attempted it in his own timing and in his flesh when he was 40 years old and he ended up herding sheep on the backside of the desert for another 40 years until he had learned humility and the ability of shepherd sheep and a willingness to obey the Lord.
      6. God’s timing…and God’s ways are always perfect and so we see in John 11 that John the Baptist would be called the greatest among the prophets (Mat 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.)
      7. John came preaching the Baptism of Repentance for the remission of sins…these go hand in hand because baptism, in this case, wasn’t the identification with Jesus of the old man dying and the new man coming alive like we find described in Romans 6.
      8. Rather, it was the sins of the flesh being washed away or removed from your life, remission speaks to a release from bondage or a pardon of sins…such as in justification where the guilt of the sins is put away and there are no grounds for guiltiness or condemnation.
      9. John preached as a fulfillment of Isaiah in chapter 40:3-5 – that repentance would open up the way for the Messiah to come.
      10. With the people turning back to God, their Hearts would now be open, sin would be acknowledged and lives would be lived humbly and submissively and be receptive to the coming of the King of Kings!
    2. ​​​​​​​John’s Style
      Luk 3:7-14 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? 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. 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. 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. 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.
      1. John was certainly not politically correct…In Mat 3:7 we see that John was speaking to the Pharisees…the prideful & hard-hearted religious leaders of the day.
      2. John’s message began by called the prideful leaders a family of poisonous snakes! “You brood of vipers”. Religion can be poison – and following religion without a relationship with Jesus and Him being the central point of worship is a poison that is eternally fatal!
      3. Just because you go to church, or you were baptized, or your mom or dad were saved or went to church doesn’t mean you’ll go to Heaven – you must personally have a personal saving relationship with Jesus Christ. This means you must have repented and turned to God and placed YOUR faith in Jesus to forgive you, save you, and take you to Heaven.
      4. The Jews believed that if they were from the lineage of Abraham…it didn’t matter what they did, God would save them.
      5. But John tells us the proof of repentance is fruit – the peaceable fruit of LOVE. Love God with your heart, mind, soul and strength and love you neighbor as yourself.
      6. 1Jn 2:9-11 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
      7. Luke 3:10-14 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. 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. 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.
      8. John tells them what fruit looks like…it is a fruit that gives with generosity and kindness and doesn’t seek it’s own best interest. True fruit will be loving and seeking others’ best interests!
      9. Look at John’s examples…they involved giving to others and self-sacrifice. That is what God calls us to…giving to others and sacrificing our own desires. Jesus said it is more blessed to give than receive – fruit worthy of repentance is self-less, loving, giving and kind!
    3. John’s Hope
      Luk 3:15-20 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 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 thoroughly 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. 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.
      1. John’s expectation – his hope…indeed, his faith, was in the fact that Jesus was coming after Him…and soon!
      2. With Him, Jesus would bring the promise of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of fire meaning the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon the believers to empower them for ministry…
      3. We also see that Jesus would be coming to ultimately separate the wheat from the chaff and purge the threshing floor – purge the church of the false believers. In fact, He told a parable about it in Mat 13…
      4. Mat 13:24-43 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. 31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. 33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. 34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. 36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
      5. And, we see as a bit of an interlude, that John because of his political correctness gets thrown into prison for publically speaking out again Herod and his immoral actions with his brother’s wife.

Verses 21-38

  1. Introduction
    READ: Luke 3:21-22
    1. Today, we see the transition point of Jesus from unknown carpenter’s son to the MESSIAH – the recognized Son of God.
    2. We recall from last week that John the Baptist came to call people to repentance in preparation for the coming Messiah…well, here He is!
    3. Today, we will see Jesus’ baptism, briefly look at the validation of His bloodline, but mostly look at His temptation. In looking at Jesus, we must seek to open our hearts and humbly hear the Word of the Lord so that it may be applied to our lives.
  2. ​​​​​​​Jesus’ Baptism
    1. ​​​​​​Identifying with Sinners
      Luk 3:15-22 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 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.
      1. Mat 3:13-15 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
      2. Jesus had to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness – to lead by example – to identify with sinners. Good leaders lead from the front and never ask anyone to do something they wouldn’t do…Jesus is our Great Shepherd – our King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He is giving us our example.
      3. Do we set the example for those around us? Do we show the world that our priorities are focused on Jesus?
      4. Remember, John’s baptism was that of repentance – the turning away from sin and turning to God and visibly saying to the world that they would live for Jehovah and look to the Messiah!
      5. Although sinless, Jesus had to lead the ministry by example and be baptized first…Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
      6. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Luke 3:21-22 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.
      7. Here we see the Trinity before us…Jesus, the Son of God (the 2nd person in the Trinity), the Holy Ghost descending upon Him (the 3rd person) and the Father in Heaven (the 1st person).
      8. Yet, despite examples like this there are people who deny the trinity both outside the faith (such as Muslims) and inside the faith (who really then exclude themselves from the faith as they have moved outside of the faith through this lack of belief).
      9. This is also a fulfillment of prophesy…Isa 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
    2. Jesus’ Geneology
      Luk 3:23-38 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, (note the “supposed” – this is actually the genealogy through Mary)
      1. ​​​​​​​31b which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David (this is important because the Messiah was supposed to come through David), 32 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Boaz,
      2. 34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham (and this is important because the entire Jewish nation came through Abraham),
      3. 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. (and ends with the first Adam – showing that Christ was fully man as well as fully God)
Copyright Statement
Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Luke 3". "Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnc/luke-3.html. 2017.