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John’s Ministry. Baptism and Genealogy of Jesus
1-14.. Preliminary Ministry of the Baptist (Matthew 3:1; Mark 1:1). See on Mt.
1. In the fifteenth year] If the years of Tiberius are reckoned from the death of Augustus, who died 14 a.d., the date is 28, 29 a.d. Most authorities, however, suppose that the years of Tiberius are here reckoned from 11 a.d., when he was made the colleague of Augustus in the empire, with equal authority over all the provinces and armies. This gives the date 25, 26 a.d. for the beginning of the ministry of John. Jesus, who appeared soon afterwards, was, therefore, probably baptised 26 a.d., and kept the first Passover of His ministry (John 2:13) 27 a.d. Allowing three Passovers to the ministry, the crucifixion took place in 29 a.d.
Pilate] see on Matthew 27:2.
Herod being tetrarch] see art. ’Dynasty of the Herods.’
Philip] the tetrarch, is to be carefully distinguished from his brother Herod Philip, who was of private station. He was the son of Herod the Great by a woman of Jerusalem named Cleopatra. He ruled for 38 years without reproach, and was favourably distinguished from the other sons of Herod by his gentleness and want of ambition. Josephus says of him: ’He was moderate, and peaceful in his rule, and spent his whole life in his country. He went out with only a small retinue, always taking with him the throne on which he might sit and judge. Whenever he met any one who had need of him, he made no delay, but set down the throne wherever he might be, and heard the case.’ See, further, art. ’Dynasty of the Herods.’
Lysanias] The only Lysanias mentioned in profane history as ruling over Abilene was executed 36 b.c. by the triumvir Mark Antony, at the instigation of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. He governed not only Abilene, but also Ituræa and other extensive districts. The Lysanias of St. Luke is probably his grandson.
Abilene] the territory round Abila, a town of some importance, situated on the River Abana, in a gorge of Mt. Antilibanus, 18 Roman m. from Damascus on the way to Heliopolis or Baalbec. There are still to be seen there an ancient temple, ancient aqueducts, and a Roman road.
2. Annas, etc.] RV ’in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas.’ A peculiar expression to indicate a peculiar state of things. Annas held office from 7-14 a.d., when he was deposed by Pilate’s predecessor, Valerius Gratus. But inasmuch as his successors were either his relations, or entirely devoted to his interests, he retained supreme power, and was probably regarded by orthodox Jews as the rightful high priest. Ex-high priests retained their title, and Annas is called high priest again, John 18:19; Acts 4:6: see on John 18:13 and Matthew 21:12. Caiaphas] see on Matthew 26:3; John 11:49; John 18:13. The word of God came] John received a definite call to his ministry, like Isaiah (Isaiah 6) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1). 4. See on Isaiah 40:3.
5, 6. (Peculiar to Lk.) ’Spiritually interpreted, the valleys would represent unbelief and all sins of omission which must be filled up by the diligent adding of grace to grace (2 Peter 1:5-7). The mountains would mean pride and haughtiness and self-will and obstinacy, which must be humbled and cast down. The crooked places would signify, all sorts of deceit and guile and hypocrisy and untruthfulness. The rough ways would picture anger, strife, envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness.’
10-14. See on Matthew 3.
15-17. John’s witness to Jesus (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:7). See on Mt.
18-20. John is imprisoned by Herod (Matthew 14:3; Mark 6:17). See on Mt.
21, 22. Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13; Mark 1:9). See on Mt.
23-38. Genealogy of Jesus. See on Matthew 1:1.
23. Thirty years] The legal age for the Levites to begin their ministry (Numbers 4:3, Numbers 4:47).
38. Son of Adam] see on Matthew 1:1.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Luke 3". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34