Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, July 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
StudyLight.org has pledged to help build churches in Uganda. Help us with that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Luke 3

The Fourfold GospelFourfold Gospel

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verses 1-18

P A R T S E C O N D.

(In the wilderness of Judæa, and on the banks of the Jordan,
occupying several months, probably A. D. 25 or 26.)
aMATT. III. 1-12; bMARK I. 1-8; cLUKE III. 1-18.

b1 The beginning of the gospel [John begins his Gospel from eternity, where the Word is found coexistent with God. Matthew begins with Jesus, the humanly generated son of Abraham and David, born in the days of Herod the king. Luke begins with the birth of John the Baptist, the Messiah’s herald; and Mark begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. While the three other evangelists take a brief survey of the preparation of the gospel, Mark looks particularly to the period when it began to be preached. Gospel means good news, and news is not news until it is proclaimed. The gospel began to be preached or proclaimed with the ministry of John the Baptist ( Luke 16:16). His ministry was the dawn of that gospel of which Christ’s preaching was the sunrise] of Jesus [Our Lord’s name as a human being; it means "Saviour"] Christ [Though this is also sometimes used as a name, it is in reality our Lord’s title. It means "the Anointed," and is equivalent to saying that Jesus is our Prophet, Priest and King] the Son of God. [This indicates our Lord’s eternal nature; it was divine. Mark’s gospel was written to establish that fact, which is the foundation of the church ( Matthew 16:18). John’s Gospel was written for a like purpose ( John 20:31). John uses the phrase "Son of [62] God" twenty-nine times, and Mark seven times. As these two evangelists wrote chiefly for Gentile readers, they emphasized the divinity of Jesus, and paid less attention to his Jewish ancestry. But Matthew, writing for Hebrews, prefers the title "Son of David," which he applies to Jesus some nine times, that he may identify him as the Messiah promised in the seed of David-- 2 Samuel 7:12, Psalms 72:1-17, Psalms 89:3, Psalms 89:4, Psalms 132:11, Psalms 132:12.] c1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign [Tiberius Cæsar, stepson of and successor to Augustus, began to reign as joint ruler with Augustus in August, A. U. C. 765 (A. D. 11). On Aug. 19, 767, Augustus died and Tiberius became sole ruler. Luke counts from the beginning of the joint rule, and his fifteen years bring us to 779. In August, 779, Tiberius began his fifteenth year, and about December of that year Jesus would have completed his thirtieth year] of Tiberius Cæsar [He was born B. C. 41, died March 16, A. D. 37. As a citizen he distinguished himself as orator, soldier and public official. But as emperor he was slothful, self-indulgent, indescribably licentious, vindictive and cruel. He was a master of dissimulation and cunning, and was a veritable scourge to his people. But he still found flatterers even in Palestine, Cæsarea Philippi, and the town Tiberias being named for him], Pontius Pilate [see mention of him in account of our Lord’s trial] being governor of Judæa [The province of Judæa was subdued by Pompey and brought under Roman control in B. C. 63. Its history from that date till the governorship of Pilate can be found in Josephus], and Herod [Also called Antipas. The ruler who murdered John the Baptist and who assisted at the trial of Jesus] being tetrarch [this word means properly the ruler of a fourth part of a country, but was used loosely for any petty tributary prince] of Galilee [This province lay north of Samaria, and measured about twenty-five miles from north to south, and twenty-seven miles from east to west. It was a rich and fertile country], and his brother [half-brother] Philip [He was distinguished by justice and moderation, the one decent man in the Herodian family. He married Salome, [63] who obtained John the Baptist’s head for a dance. He built Cæsarea Philippi, and transformed Bethsaida Julius from a village to a city, and died there A. D. 44. After his death his domains became part of the Roman province of Syria] tetrarch of the region of Ituræa [A district thirty miles long by twenty-five broad, lying north of Batanæa, east of Mt. Hermon, west of Trachonitis. It received its name from Jetur, son of Ishmael ( Genesis 25:15). Its Ishmaelite inhabitants were conquered by Aristobulus, king of Judæa, B. C. 100, and forced by him to accept the Jewish faith. They were marauders, and famous for the use of the bow] and Trachonitis [A district about twenty-two miles from north to south by fourteen from east to west. Its name means "rough" or "stony," and it amply deserves it. It lies between Ituræa and the desert, and has been infested with robbers from the earliest ages. It is called the Argob in the Old Testament, "an ocean of basaltic rock and boulders, tossed about in the wildest confusion, and intermingled with fissures and crevices in every direction"], and Lysanias [Profane history gives us no account of this man. It tells of a Lysanias, king of Chalcis, under Mt. Lebanon, who was put to death by Mark Antony, B. C. 36, or sixty-odd years before this, and another who was tetrarch of Abilene in the reigns of Caligula and Claudius twenty years after this. He probably was son of the first and father of the second] tetrarch of Abilene [The city of Abila (which comes from the Hebrew word "abel," meaning "meadow") is eighteen miles from Damascus and thirty-eight from Baalbec. The province laying about it is mentioned because it subsequently formed part of the Jewish territory, being given to Herod Agrippa I. by Emperor Claudius about A. D. 41], 2; in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas [Annas had been high priest 7-14 A. D., when he was deposed by the procurator, Gratus. Caiaphas was son-in-law of and successor to Annas. Luke gives both names, one as the rightful and the other as the acting high priest. Compare Acts 4:6. Gentile innovations had made sad havoc with the Jewish law as to this office. In the last one [64] hundred and seven years of the temple’s existence there were no less than twenty-eight high priests. Luke is the only one who fixes the time when Jesus began his ministry. He locates it by emperor and governor, tetrarch and high priest, as an event of world-wide importance, and of concern to all the kingdoms of men. He conceives of it as Paul did-- Acts 26:26], the word of God [The divine commission which bade John enter his career as a prophet ( Jeremiah 1:2, Ezekiel 6:1). Prophets gave temporary and limited manifestations of God’s will ( Hebrews 1:1, Hebrews 1:2). Jesus is the everlasting and unlimited manifestation of the divine purpose and of the very Godhead-- John 14:9, John 12:45, Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3, 2 Corinthians 4:6] came unto John the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. [The wilderness of Judæa is that almost uninhabitable mass of barren ridges extending the whole length of the Dead Sea, and a few miles further north. It is from five to ten miles wide.] a1 And in those days [Some take this expression as referring to the years when Jesus dwelt at Nazareth. But it is better to regard it as a Hebraism equivalent to "that age" or "that era" ( Exodus 2:11). It contrasts the era when the Baptist lived with the era when Matthew wrote his Gospel, just as we say "in these days of enlightenment" when we wish to contrast the present time with the days of the American Revolution] cometh John [he was cousin to Jesus] the Baptist [So called because God first gave through him the ordinance of baptism. It has been erroneously thought by some that John borrowed this ordinance from the Jewish practice of proselyte baptism. This could not be, for John baptized his converts, but Jewish proselytes baptized themselves. The law required such self-baptism of all persons who were unclean ( Leviticus 14:9, Numbers 19:19, Numbers 8:7, Numbers 8:7.). More than twenty distinct cases are specified in which the law required bathing or self-baptism, and it is to these Paul refers when he states that the law consisted in part "of divers baptisms" ( Hebrews 9:10). But the law did not require this of proselytes, and proselyte baptism was a human appendage to the divinely given Jewish [65] ritual, just as infant baptism is to the true Christian ritual. Proselyte baptism is not mentioned in history till the third century of the Christian era. Neither Josephus, nor Philo, nor the Apocrypha, nor the Targums say anything about it, though they all mention proselytes. In fact, the oldest mention of it in Jewish writings is in the Babylonian Gemara, which was completed about five hundred years years after Christ. The New Testament implies the non-existence of proselyte baptism ( Matthew 21:25, John 1:25, John 1:33). John could hardly have been called the Baptist, had he used an old-time rite in the accustomed manner. The Baptist was a link between the Old and New Testament. Belonging to the Old, he announced the New], preaching [Not sermonizing, but crying out a message as a king’s herald making a proclamation, or a policeman crying "Fire!" in a slumbering town. His discourse was brief and unembellished. Its force lay in the importance of the truth announced. It promised to the Hebrew the fulfillment of two thousand years of longing. It demanded repentance, but for a new reason. The old call to repentance had wooed with the promise of earthly blessings, and warned with the threat of earthly judgments; but John’s repentance had to do with the kingdom of heaven and things eternal. It suggested the Holy Spirit as a reward, and unquenchable fire as the punishment] in the wilderness of Judæa [that part of the wilderness which John chose for the scene of his ministry is a desert plain, lying along the western bank of the Jordan, between Jericho and the Dead Sea], saying, 2 Repent ye [to repent is to change the will in reference to sin, resolving to sin no more] for [John sets forth the motive for repentance. Repentance is the duty, and the approach of the kingdom is the motive inciting to it. Only by repentance could the people be prepared for the kingdom. Those who are indifferent to the obligations of an old revelation would be ill-prepared to receive a new one] the kingdom of heaven is at hand [ Daniel 2:44. "Kingdom of heaven" is peculiar to Matthew, who uses it thirty-one times. He also joins with the other evangelists in calling it the kingdom of God. We know not why [66] he preferred the expression, "kingdom of heaven."] 3 For this is he that was spoken of through Isaiah the prophet, c3 And he came [he made his public appearance, and, like that of Elijah, it was a sudden one-- 1 Kings 17:1] into all the region about the Jordan [The Jordan valley is called in the old Testament the Arabah, and by the modern Arabs the Ghor. It is the deepest valley in the world, its lowest part being about thirteen hundred feet below the level of the ocean] preaching the baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins [as a change leading to remission or forgiveness of sins] beven c4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet [Isaiah flourished from about 759 to 699 B. C.], asaying, bBehold [The clause beginning with "Behold," and ending with "way," is taken from Malachi 3:1. The Revised Version makes Mark quote this passage as if it were from Isaiah, the reading being "written in Isaiah the prophet," but the King James’ version gives the reading "written in the prophets." Following the reasoning of Canon Cook, we hold that the latter was the original reading--see Speaker’s Commentary, note at the end of Mark i.] I send my messenger [John the Baptist was that messenger] before thy face [Malachi says, "my face." "Thy" and "my" are used interchangeably, because of the unity of the Deity-- John 10:30], who shall prepare thy way [Mark says little about the prophets, but at the outset of his Gospel he calls attention to the fact that the entire pathway of Jesus was the subject of prophetical prediction]; cThe voice [ Isaiah 40:3, Isaiah 40:4, quoted from the LXX. The words were God’s, the voice was John’s. So Paul also spake ( 1 Thessalonians 2:1-13). It was prophesied before he was born that John should be a preparing messenger for Christ-- Luke 1:17] of one crying in the wilderness [This prophecy of Isaiah’s could relate to none but John, for no other prophet ever made the wilderness the scene of his preaching. But John always preached there, and instead of going to the people, he compelled the people to come out to him. John was the second Elijah. The claims of all who in these days profess to be reincarnations of Elijah [67] may be tested and condemned by this prophecy, for none of them frequent the wilderness], Make ye ready the way [See also Isaiah 35:8-10. Isaiah’s language is highly figurative. It represents a band of engineers and workmen preparing the road for their king through a rough, mountainous district. The figure was familiar to the people of the East, and nearly every generation there witnessed such road-making. The haughty Seriramis leveled the mountains before her. Josephus, describing the march of Vespasian, says that there went before him such as were to make the road even and straight, and if it were anywhere rough and hard, to smooth it over, to plane it, and to cut down woods that hindered the march, that the army might not be tired. Some have thought that Isaiah’s prophecy referred primarily to the return of the Jewish captives from Babylon. But it refers far more directly to the ministry of the Baptist; for it is not said that the way was to be prepared for the people, but for Jehovah himself. It is a beautiful figure, but the real preparation was the more beautiful transformation of repentance. By inducing repentance, John was to prepare the people to receive Jesus and his apostles, and to hearken to their preaching] 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 become straight, And the rough way smooth [The literal meaning of this passage is expressed at Isaiah 2:12-17. See also Zechariah 4:7. Commentators give detailed application of this prophecy, and, following their example, we may regard the Pharisees and Sadducees as mountains of self-righteousness, needing to be thrown down, and thereby brought to meekness and humility; the outcasts and harlots as valleys of humiliation, needing to be exalted and filled with hope; and the publicans and soldiers as crooked and rough byways, needing to be straightened and smoothed with proper details of righteousness. But the application is general, and not to be limited to such details. However, civil tyranny, and ecclesiastical pride must be leveled, and the rights of the common people must be exalted before for kingdom of God can [68] enter in]; 6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God [This last clause of the prophecy is added by Luke alone. He loves to dwell upon the universality of Christ’s gospel.] b4 John came, who baptized in the wilderness and preached the baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins. [Pardoning mercy was to be found in Christ, and all rites then looked forward to the cleansing effected by the shedding of his blood, as all rites now look back to it. But in popular estimation John’s baptism was no doubt regarded as consummating an immediate forgiveness] a4 Now John himself [Himself indicates that John’s manner of life differed from that of his disciples. He did not oblige them to practice the full measure of his abstinence] had his raiment of [John’s dress and food preached in harmony with his voice. His clothing and fare rendered him independent of the rich and great, so that he could more freely and plainly rebuke their sins. Calling others to repentance, he himself set an example of austere self-denial. So much so that the Pharisees said he had a demon-- Matthew 11:18] b6 And was clothed with acamel’s hair [Camels were plentiful in the East. Their finer hair was woven into elegant cloths; but that which was coarser and shaggier was made into a fabric like our druggets, and used for the coats of shepherds and camel-drivers, and for the covering of tents. Prophets often wore such cloth ( Zechariah 13:4), and no doubt it was the habitual garb of John’s prototype ( Malachi 4:5), the prophet Elijah ( 2 Kings 1:8). In Elijah’s day there was demand for protest against the sad havoc which Phoenician luxury and licentiousness were making with the purer morals of Israel; and in John’s day a like protest was needed against a like contamination wrought by Greek manners and customs. Both prophets, by their austerity, rebuked such apostasy, and Jezebel answered the rebuke by attempting Elijah’s life, while Herodias actually took the life of John. As a herald, John was suited to the King whose appearing he was to announce, for Jesus was meek and lowly ( Zechariah 9:9), and had no form nor comeliness that he should be desired-- Isaiah 53:2], [69] and a leathern girdle about his loins [The loose skirts worn in the East required a girdle to bind them to the body. This was usually made of linen or silk, but was frequently more costly, being wrought with silver and gold. John’s girdle was plain, undressed leather]; And his food was {band did eat} alocusts [Locusts, like Western grasshoppers, were extremely plentiful ( Joel 1:4, Isaiah 33:4, Isaiah 33:5). The law declared them clean, and thus permitted the people to eat them for food ( Leviticus 11:22). Arabs still eat them, and in some Oriental cities they are found for sale in the market. But they are regarded as fit only for the poor. They are frequently seasoned with camel’s milk and honey] and wild honey. [Canaan was promised as a land flowing with milk and honey ( Exodus 2:8-17, Exodus 13:15, 1 Samuel 14:26). Many of the trees in the plains of Jericho, such as the palm, fig, manna, ash and tamarisk, exuded sweet gums, which went by the name of tree honey, but there is no need to suppose, as some do, that this was what John ate. The country once abounded in wild bees, and their honey was very plentiful. We have on the record an instance of the speed with which they could fill the place which they selected for their hives ( Judges 14:5-9). The diet of the Baptist was very light, and Jesus so speaks of it ( Matthew 11:18). He probably had no set time for his meals, and all days were more or less fast-days. Thus John gave himself wholly to his ministry, and became a voice--all voice. John took the wilderness for a church, and filled it. He courted no honors, but no Jew of his time received more of them, and by some he was even regarded as Messiah-- Luke 3:15.] b5 And there a5 Then went out unto him ball [A hyperbole common with Hebrew writers and such as we use when we say, "the whole town turned out," "everybody was there," etc. Both Matthew and Luke show that some did not accept John’s baptism ( Matthew 21:23-25, Luke 7:30). But from the language of the evangelist we might infer that, first and last, something like a million people may have attended John’s ministry] the country of Judæa, and all they of Jerusalem; aall [70] the region round about the Jordan [The last phrase includes the entire river valley. On both sides of the river between the lake of Galilee and Jericho, there were many important cities, any one of which would be more apt to send its citizens to John’s baptism than the proud capital of Jerusalem]; 6 and they were baptized of him [Literally, immersed by him. In every stage of the Greek language this has been the unquestioned meaning of the verb baptizo, and it still retains this meaning in modern Greek. In accordance with this meaning, the Greek Church, in all its branches, has uniformly practiced immersion from the earliest period to the present time. Greek Christians never speak of other denominations as "baptizing by sprinkling," but they say, "they baptize instead of baptizing." John’s baptism was instituted of God ( John 1:33), just as Christian baptism was instituted by Christ ( Matthew 28:19). The Pharisees recognized John’s rite as so important as to require divine authority, and even then they underestimated it, regarding it as a mere purification--Josephus Ant. xviii. 5, 2] in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. [As John’s baptism was for the remission of sins, it was very proper that it should be preceded by a confession. The context indicates that the confession was public and general. There is no hint of such auricular confession as is practiced by the Catholics. See also Acts 19:18. John, writing to baptized Christians, bids them to confess their sins, that Jesus may forgive them ( 1 John 1:9). Christian baptism is also for the remission of sins ( Acts 2:38), the ordinance itself a very potent confession that the one baptized has sins to be remitted, and it seems to be a sufficient pubic expression of confession as to sins; for while John’s baptism called for a confession sins, Christian baptism calls only for a confession of faith in Christ-- Acts 22:16, Romans 10:9, Romans 10:10, Mark 16:16.] 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees [Josephus tells us that these two leading sects of the Jews started about the same time in the days of Jonathan, the high priest, or B. C. 159-144. But the sentiments which at that time divided the [71] people into two rival parties entered the minds and hearts of the Jews immediately after the return from the Babylonian captivity. These returned Jews differed as to the attitude and policy which Israel should manifest toward the neighboring heathen. Some contended for a strict separation between the Jews and all pagan peoples. These eventually formed the Pharisee party, and the name Pharisee means "the separate." Originally these men were genuine patriots and reformers, but afterwards the majority of them became mere formalists. As theologians the Pharisees represented the orthodox party, and were followed by the vast majority of the people. They believed (1) in the resurrection of the dead; (2) a future state with rewards and punishments; (3) angels and spirits; and (4) a special providence of God carried out by angels and spirits. As a sect they are said to have numbered six thousand at the time of Herod’s death. They were the patriotic party, and the zealots were their extreme section. They covered an extremely selfish spirit with a pious formalism, and by parading their virtues they obtained an almost unbounded influence over the people. By exposing their hypocrisy, Jesus sought to destroy their power over the multitude, and incurred that bitter enmity with which they pursued him to his death. But certain other of the captives who returned from Babylon desired a freer intercourse with the pagans, and sought to break away from every restraint which debarred therefrom. These became Sadducees. They consented to no other restraint than the Scriptures themselves imposed, and they interpreted these as laxly as possible. Some take their name to means "the party of ’righteousness,’" but more think it comes from their founder, Zadok, and is a corruption of the word Zadokite. Zadok flourished 260 B. C. His teacher, Antigonus Sochæus, taught him to serve God disinterestedly--that is, without hope of reward or punishment. From his teaching Zadok inferred that there was no future state of rewards or punishment, and on this belief founded his sect. From this fundamental doctrine sprang the other tenets of the Sadducees. They denied all the four points held by the Pharisees, [72] asserting that there was no resurrection; no rewards and punishments hereafter; no angels, no spirits. They believed there was a God, but denied that he had any special supervision of human affairs ( Matthew 22:23, Acts 23:8). They were the materialists of that day. Considering all God’s promises as referring to this world, they looked upon poverty and distress as evidence of God’s curse. Hence to relieve the poor was to sin against God in interfering with his mode of government. Far fewer than the Pharisees, they were their rivals in power; for they were the aristocratic party, and held the high-priesthood, with all its glories. Their high political position, their great wealth, and the Roman favor which they courted by consenting to foreign rule and pagan customs, made them a body to be respected and feared] coming to his baptism, he said {ctherefore to the multitudes that went out to be baptized on him} aunto them [John spoke principally to the leaders, but his denunciation indirectly included the multitude who followed their leadership], Ye offspring of vipers [A metaphor for their likeness to vipers--as like them as if they had been begotten of them. The viper was a species of serpent from two to five feet in length, and about one inch thick. Its head is flat, and its body a yellowish color, speckled with long brown spots. It is extremely poisonous ( Acts 28:6). John here uses the word figuratively, and probably borrows the figure from Isaiah 59:5. It means that the Jewish rulers were full of guile and malice, cunning and venom. With these words John gave them a vigorous shaking, for only thus could he hope to waken their slumbering consciences. But only one who has had a vision of "the King in his beauty," should presume thus to address his fellow-men. The serpent is an emblem of the devil ( Genesis 3:1, Revelation 12:9, Revelation 12:14, Revelation 12:15), and Jesus not only repeated John’s words ( Matthew 12:35, Matthew 23:23, Matthew 23:33), but he interpreted the words, and told them plainly that they were "the children of the devil" ( John 8:44). The Jewish rulers well deserved this name, for they poisoned the religious principles of the nation, and accomplished the crucifixion of the Son of God], who warned [73] you to flee [John’s baptism, like that of Moses at the Red Sea ( 1 Corinthians 10:2), was a way of escape from destruction, of rightly used. Christian baptism is also such a way, and whosoever will may enter thereby into the safety of the kingdom of Christ, but baptism can not be used as an easy bit of ritual to charm away evil. It must be accompanied by all the spiritual changes which the ordinance implies] from the wrath to come? [Prophecy foretold that Messiah’s times would be accompanied with wrath ( Isaiah 63:3-6, Daniel 7:10-26); but the Jews were all of the opinion that this wrath would be meted out upon the Gentiles and were not prepared to hear John apply the prophecy to themselves. To all his hearers John preached the coming kingdom; to the impenitent, he preached the coming wrath. Thus he prepared the way for the first coming of the Messiah, and those who would prepare the people for his second coming would do well to follow his example. The Bible has a voice of warning and denunciation, as well as words of invitation and love. Whosoever omits the warning of the judgment, speaks but half the message which God would have him deliver. God’s wrath is his resentment against sin-- Matthew 18:34, Matthew 22:7, Mark 3:5.] 8 Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance [John had demanded repentance, he now demands the fruits of it. By "fruit" or "fruits," as Luke has it, he means the manner of life which shows a real repentance]: 9 and think not {cbegin not} [John nips their self-excuse in the bud] ato say within yourselves [speaking to your conscience to quiet it], We have Abraham to our father [The Jews thought that Messiah would rule over them as a nation, and that all Jews would, therefore, be by birthright citizens of his kingdom. They thought that descent from Abraham was all that would be necessary to bring them into that kingdom. John’s words must have been very surprising to them. The Talmud is full of expressions showing the extravagant value which Jews of a later age attached to Abrahamic descent. "Abraham," it says, "sits next the gates of hell, and doth not permit any wicked Israelite to go [74] down into it." Again, it represents God as saying to Abraham, "If thy children were like dead bodies without sinews or bones, thy merit would avail for them." Again, "A single Israelite is worth more before God than all the people who have been or shall be." Again, "The world was made for their [Israel’s] sake." This pride was the more inexcusable because the Jews were clearly warned by their prophets that their privileges were not exclusive, and that they would by no means escape just punishment for their sins ( Jeremiah 7:3, Jeremiah 7:4, Micah 3:11, Isaiah 48:2). John repeated this message, and Jesus reiterated it ( Matthew 8:11, Matthew 8:12, Luke 16:23). We should note that in this preparation for the gospel a blow was struck at confidence and trust in carnal descent. Birth gives no man any privileges in the kingdom of God, for all are born outside of it, and all must be born again into it ( John 1:13, John 3:3); yet many still claim peculiar rights from Christian parentage, and infant baptism rests on this false conception. The New Testament teaches us that we are children of Abraham by faith, and not by blood; by spiritual and not carnal descent ( Romans 4:12-16, Galatians 3:26, Galatians 6:15, John 8:39). It had been better for the Jews never to have heard of Abraham, than to have thus falsely viewed the rights which they inherited from him]: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham [John meant that their being children of Abraham by natural descent gave them no more merit than children of Abraham made out of stone would have. He pointed to the stones along the bank of Jordan as he spoke.] 10 And even now the axe calso alieth at the root of the trees: every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down [The threatened cutting down means the end of the probation of each hearer, when, if found fruitless, he would be cast into the fire mentioned below], and cast into the fire. [Used as fuel.] c10 And the multitudes asked him, saying, What then must we do? [This is the cry of the awakened conscience ( Acts 2:37, Acts 16:30, Acts 22:10). John answered it by recommending them to do the very reverse of what they [75] were doing, which, in their case, was true fruit of repentance.] 11 And he answered and said unto them, He that hath two coats [By coat is meant the tunic, or inner garment, worn next to the skin. It reached to the knees, and sometimes to the ankles, and generally had sleeves. Two tunics were a luxury in a land where thousands were too poor to own even one. Wrath was coming, and he that would obtain mercy from it must show mercy-- Matthew 5:7], let him impart to him that hath none [For a like precept given to Christians, see 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, James 2:15-17, 1 John 3:17]; and he that hath food, let him do likewise. 12 And there came also publicans [The Roman Government did not collect its own taxes. Instead of doing so, it divided the empire into districts, and sold the privilege of collecting the taxes in these districts to certain capitalists and men of rank. The capitalists employed agents to do the actual collecting. These agents were usually natives of the districts in which they lived, and those in Palestine were called publicans. Their masters urged and encouraged them to make the most fraudulent and vexatious exactions. They systematically overcharged the people and often brought false accusation to obtain money by blackmail. These publicans were justly regarded by the Jews as apostates and traitors, and were classed with the lowest and most abandoned characters. The system was bad, but its practitioners were worse. The Greeks regarded the word "publican" as synonymous with "plunderer." Suidas pictures the life of a publican as "unrestrained plunder, unblushing greed, unreasonable pettifogging, shameless business." The Turks to-day collect by this Roman method. Being publicly condemned, and therefore continually kept conscious of their sin, the publicans repented more readily than the self-righteous Pharisees. Conscience is one of God’s greatest gifts, and he that destroys it must answer for it] to be baptized, and they said unto him, Teacher [The publicans, though lowest down, gave John the highest title. Self-abnegation is full of the virtue of reverence, but self-righteousness utterly lacks it], what must we do? 13 And he [76] said unto them, Extort no more than that which is appointed you. [Such was their habitual, universal sin. No man should make his calling an excuse for evil-doing.] 14 And soldiers [These soldiers were probably Jewish troops in the employ of Herod. Had they been Romans, John would doubtless have told them to worship God] also asked him, saying, And we, what must we do? And he said unto them, Extort from no man by violence [The soldiers, poorly paid, often found it convenient to extort money by intimidation. Strong in their organization, they terrified the weak and enforced gratuities by acts of violence], neither accuse any one wrongfully [John here condemns the custom of blackmailing the rich by acting as informers and false accusers against them]; and be content with your wages. [The term wages included rations and money. The soldiers were not to add to their receipts by pillage or extortion. Soldiers’ wages were about three cents a day, so they were exposed to strong temptation. Yet John did not bid them abandon their profession, and become ascetics like himself. His teachings was practical. He allowed war as an act of government. Whether Christianity sanctions it or not, is another question.] 15 And as the people were in expectation [Expecting the Christ--see John 1:19-28], and all men reasoned in their hearts concerning John, whether haply he were the Christ [Prophecy induced a Messianic expectation. The scepter had departed from Judah, and Cæsar’s deputies ruled. Tetrarchs and procurators held the whole civil government. In their hands lay the power of life and death from which only Roman citizens could appeal ( Acts 25:11). The power of the Jewish courts was limited to excommunication or scourging. The seventy weeks of Daniel were now expiring, and other prophecies indicated the fullness of time. But distress, rather than prophecy, enhanced their expectation. Tiberius, the most infamous of men, governed the world. Pontius Pilate, insolent, cruel, was making life irksome and maddening the people. Herod Antipas, by a course of reckless apostasy and unbridled lust, [77] grieved even the religious sense of the hypocrite. Annas and Caiaphas, impersonators of materialism, sat in the chief seat of spiritual power. Men might well look for a deliverer, and hasten with joy to hear of a coming King. But, nevertheless, we could have no more forceful statement of the deep impression made by John’s ministry than that the people were disposed to take him for the Christ]; 16 John answered, saying unto them all, b7 And he preached, saying, a11 I indeed baptize {bbaptized} ayou in {cwith} water unto repentance [That is, unto the completion of your repentance. Repentance had to begin before the baptism was administered. After the sinner repented, baptism consummated his repentance, being the symbolic washing away of that from which he had repented and the bringing of the candidate into the blessings granted to the repentant-- Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3]: cBut there {ahe that} [John preached repentance because of a coming King; he now announces who the King is. He pictures this King as, first, administering a different baptism from his own; second, as a judge who would separate the righteous from the wicked, just as a husbandman sifts the wheat from the chaff] bcometh after me [Subsequent to me in ministry. But John indicates that the coming of Christ would be closely coupled with his own appearing. One event was to immediately follow the other. So Malachi binds together in one time the appearing of both forerunner and judge-- Malachi 3:1-3] he that is mightier than I [mightier both to save and to punish], awhose shoes [The sandal then worn was a piece of wood or leather bound to the sole of the foot to protect it from the burning sand or the sharp stones. It was the forerunner of our modern shoe] I am not worthy to bear [To untie or carry away the shoe of the master or his guest was the work of the lowest slave of the household. As a figure of speech, the shoe is always associated with subjugation and slavery ( Psalms 60:8). John means, "I am not worthy to be his servant." John was simply the forerunner of Jesus; the higher office and honor of being Jesus’ attendants was reserved for others-- Matthew 11:11]: bthe latchet [the lace or strap] of whose shoes I am [78] not worthy to stoop down and unloose. che shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit [That which is here referred to was foretold by the prophets ( Isaiah 44:3, Joel 2:28). In the early church there was an abundant outpouring of the Spirit of God ( Titus 3:5, Titus 3:6, Acts 2:3, Acts 2:4, Acts 2:17, Acts 10:44). This prophecy began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost ( Acts 1:5, Acts 2:4). In the choice of the word "baptize" God indicated through his prophet how full this flooding of the Spirit would be] and in fire [Many learned commentators regard the expression "in fire" as a mere amplification of the spiritual baptism added to express the purging and purifying effects of that baptism, but the context forbids this, for, in Matthew 3:10, casting the unfruitful trees into the fire represents the punishment of the wicked, and, in Matthew 3:12, the burning of the chaff with fire does the same, and consequently the baptizing in fire of the intervening verse must, according to the force of the context have the same reference. True, the expression "he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and with fire," does not separate the persons addressed into two parties, and, if the context is disregarded, might be understood as meaning that the same persons were to be baptized in both; yet the context must not be disregarded, and it clearly separates them]: 17 whose fan [Winnowing shovel. In the days of John the Baptist, and in that country at the present day, wheat and other grain was not threshed by machinery. It was beaten out by flails, or trodden out by oxen on some smooth, hard plot of ground called the threshing-floor. These threshing-floors were usually on elevations where the wind blew freely. When the grain was trodden out, it was winnowed or separated from the chaff by being tossed into the air with a fan or winnowing shovel. When so tossed, the wind blew the chaff away, and the clean grain fell upon the threshing-floor] is in his hand [Ready for immediate work. Both John and Malachi, who foretold John, are disposed to picture Jesus as the judge ( Malachi 3:2-5). Of all the pictures of God which the Bible gives, that of a judge is the most common and frequent], thoroughly to {aand he will thoroughly} ccleanse his threshing-floor [Removing the [79] chaff is called purging the floor. Humanity is a mixture of good and bad, and to separate this mixture, save the good and destroy the bad, is the work of Christ. He partially purges the floor in this present time by gathering his saints into the church and leaving the unrepentant in the world. But hereafter on the day of judgment he will make a complete and final separation between the just and the unjust by sending the evil from his presence and gathering his own into the garner of heaven ( Matthew 25:32, Matthew 25:33). He shall also winnow our individual characters, and remove all evil from us-- Luke 22:31, Luke 22:32, Romans 7:21-25], and to {aand he will} cgather the {ahis} cwheat into his {athe} cgarner [Eastern garners or granaries were usually subterranean vaults or caves. Garnered grain rested in safety. It was removed from peril of birds, storms, blight and mildew. Christians are now on God’s threshing-floor; hereafter they will be gathered into the security of his garner]; but the chaff [when the Bible wishes to show the worthlessness and the doom of the ungodly, chaff is one of its favorite figures-- Job 21:18, Psalms 1:4, Isaiah 17:13, Jeremiah 15:7, Hosea 13:3, Malachi 4:1] he will burn up [To prevent chaff from being blown back and mixed again with the wheat, it was burned up. All the chaff in the church shall be consumed on the day of judgment ( 1 Corinthians 3:12, 1 Corinthians 3:13), and there shall be no mixing of good and bad after death-- Luke 16:26] with unquenchable fire [In this and in other places ( 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Mark 9:48, Matthew 25:41), the future suffering of the wicked is taught in the Bible. He shows no kindness to his neighbor, no friendship toward mankind, who conceals the terrors of the Lord. These terrors are set forth in no uncertain terms. Many believe that God will restore the wicked and eventually save all the human race. Others hold that God will annihilate the wicked, and thus end their torment. This passage and the one cited in Mark would be hard to reconcile with either of these views; they indicate that there will be no arrest of judgment nor stay of punishment when once God begins to execute his condemnation. God purged the world with water [80] at the time of the flood; he will again purge it with fire on the day of judgment-- 2 Peter 3:7-10.] 18 With many other exhortations [The sermon here given is in the nature of a summary. It embodies the substance of John’s preaching. Afterwards John preached Christ more directly-- John 1:29-36] therefore preached he good tidings unto the people. [but, like the good tidings of the angel at Bethlehem, it was good only to those who, by repentance, made themselves well pleasing to God.] [81]

[FFG 62-81]

Verses 19-20


Subdivision A.
aMATT. IV. 12; bMARK I. 14; cLUKE III. 19, 20; dJOHN IV. 1-4.

c19 but Herod the tetrarch [son of Herod the Great, and tetrarch, or governor, of Galilee], being reproved by him [that is, by John the Baptist] for Herodias his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things which Herod had done [A full account of the sin of Herod and persecution of John will be found at Matthew 14:1-12, Mark 6:14-29. John had spoken the truth to Herod as fearlessly as to the Pharisees, publicans and soldiers], 20 added this also to them all [the sins of Herod, as a ruler, already outweighed [138] his virtues; (comp. Daniel 5:27); but, with reckless abandon, Herod went on, adding to the weighty reasons which justified his condemnation], that he shut up John in prison. [In the fortress at Machærus, east of the Dead Sea, as we learn from Josephus. The duration of the ministry of John the Baptist is variously estimated at from fourteen to eighteen months.] b14 Now after John was delivered up [either delivered up by the people to Herod ( Matthew 17:12), or delivered up by Herod himself to the warden of the castle of Machærus ( Luke 12:58), or by Providence to Herod himself-- Acts 2:23], awhen he [Jesus] heard [he was in Judæa when he heard it] that John was delivered up [and], d1 When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John [We saw at John 3:26 how the Baptist heard about the number of Jesus’ baptisms, being informed by his jealous friends. Like jealous friends, no doubt, informed the Pharisees. Jesus may have known of this information being given by reason of his supernatural powers, but it is more likely that he heard of it in a natural way] 2 (although Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples) [Jesus, as divine Lawgiver, instituted baptism, and his disciples administered it. We nowhere hear of the disciples of John administering baptism. In fact, the Baptist, like the disciples of Jesus, baptized under a divine commission, and could not delegate the power to others. It was the office of Jesus to commission others to this work, not to perform it himself. Had he done so, those baptized by him might have foolishly claimed for themselves some peculiar honor by reason thereof ( 1 Corinthians 1:14, 1 Corinthians 1:15). Jesus was the spiritual baptizer, in which baptism the efficacy lies in the administrant; but water baptism, the efficacy of which lies rather in the spirit of the one baptized than in the virtues of the administrant, Jesus left to his disciples], 3 he left Judæa, and departed again {awithdrew bcame} dinto Galilee. [We have in these verses two reasons assigned for the withdrawal of Jesus into Galilee, namely: 1. The imprisonment of John the Baptist [139] 2. Knowledge of the Pharisees that Jesus was baptizing more disciples than John. The first gives us the reason why he went to Galilee, the second the reason why he left Judæa. Jesus did not go into Galilee through fear of Herod, for Herod was tetrarch of Galilee. The truth is, the absence of John called for the presence of Jesus. The northern part of Palestine was the most fruitful soil for the gospel. During the last six or eight months of John’s ministry we find him in this northern field, preparing it for Christ’s kingdom. While we can not say definitely that John was in Galilee (Bethabara and Ænon being the only two geographical names given), yet he certainly drew his audiences largely from the towns and cities of Galilee. While John occupied the northern, Jesus worked in the southern district of Palestine; but when John was removed, then Jesus turned northward, that he might sow the seed of the kingdom in its most fruitful soil. But if there was a reason why he should go to Galilee, there was an equal reason why he should depart from Judæa. His popularity, manifesting itself in the number of his baptisms, was exciting that envy and opposition which caused the rulers of Judæa eventually to take the life of Jesus ( Matthew 27:18). The Pharisees loved to make proselytes themselves ( Matthew 23:15). They no doubt envied John’s popularity, and much more, therefore, would they be disposed to envy Christ. The influence of the Pharisees was far greater in Judæa than in Galilee, and the Sanhedrin would readily have arrested Jesus had he remained in Judæa ( John 7:1, John 10:39), and arrest at this time would have marred the work of Jesus. Therefore, since it is neither sinful nor unbecoming to avoid persecution, Jesus retired to Galilee, when he remained until his second passover. By birth a prophet of Judæa, he became, in public estimation, by this retirement, a prophet of Galilee. Though Jesus first taught in Judæa, the ministry in Galilee so far eclipsed the work in Judæa that it was spoken of as the place of beginning ( Luke 23:5, Acts 10:37), and prophetically designated as the scene of the divine manifestation-- Matthew 4:14.] 4 And he must needs pass through Samaria. [The province which [140] took its name from the city of Samaria, and which lay between Judæa and Galilee. Owing to the hatred which existed between Jews and Samaritans, many of the Jews went from Jerusalem to Galilee by turning eastward, crossing the Jordan, and passing northward through Peræa. This journey required about seven days, while the more direct route, through Samaria, only took three days. Galilæans often passed through Samaria on their way to and from the Jerusalem feast (Josephus’ Ant. xx. 6, 1). The arrest of John would scatter his flock of disciples ( Mark 14:27), and Jesus, as chief shepherd ( 1 Peter 5:1-4), hastened to Galilee, to gather together those which might else go astray and be lost.]

[FFG 138-141]

Verses 21-23

P A R T T H I R D.

(Jordan east of Jericho, Spring of A. D. 27.)
aMATT. III. 13-17; bMARK I. 9-11; cLUKE III. 21-23.

b9 And {a13 Then} bit came to pass in those days, that Jesus came {acometh} bfrom Nazareth of Galilee, ato the Jordan [Tradition fixes upon a ford of Jordan east of Jericho as the place where Jesus was baptized. It is the same section of the river which opened for the passage of Israel under Joshua, and later for Elijah and Elisha. This ford is seventy or eighty miles from Nazareth] unto John, to be baptized of him [He set out from Nazareth, intending to be baptized. Such was his intention before he heard John preach, and he was therefore not persuaded to do it by the preaching. His righteousness was not the result of human persuasion.] band was baptized of John in [Greek "into." The body of Jesus was immersed or plunged into the river] 14; aBut John would have hindered him [It seemed to John too great an honor for him to baptize Jesus, and too great a humiliation for Jesus to be baptized. There is some dispute as to how John came to know this righteousness of Christ, which prompted his protest. The one natural explanation is, that the intimacy of the two families indicated at the beginning of Luke’s account had been kept up, and John knew the history of his kinsman], saying, I have need to be baptized of thee [those are most fit to administer an ordinance who have themselves deeply experienced the need [82] of it], and comest thou to me? [John felt that he needed Jesus’ baptism, but could not think that Jesus needed his. The words "I," "thee," "thou," and "me," show that John contrasted the baptizers as well as the baptisms. As a human being he marveled that the Son of God should come to him to be immersed. The comings of Jesus and the purposes for which he comes are still the greatest marvels which confront the minds of men. Moreover, it should be noted that this protest of John’s needed to be made, for it saved Jesus from being baptized without explanation, as if he were a sinner. Baptism without such explanation might have compromised our Lord’s claim as the sinless one.] 15 But Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it now [Permit me for this moment to appear as your inferior. The future will make plain and clear the difference between us, both as to our missions and our natures. The words show a Messianic consciousness on the part of Jesus]: for thus it becometh us [Some take the word "us" as referring to Jesus and John, but the clause "to fulfil all righteousness" shows that "us" refers to Jesus, and he uses the plural to show that it also becometh all of us] to fulfil all righteousness [Jesus came not only to fulfill all the requirements of the law, but also all that wider range of righteousness of which the law was only a part. 1. Though John’s baptism was no part of the Mosaic ritual, it was, nevertheless, a precept of God, given by his prophet ( John 1:33). Had Jesus neglected or refused to obey this precept he would have lacked a portion of the full armor of righteousness, and the Pharisees would have hastened to strike him at this loose joint of his harness ( Matthew 21:23-27). 2. It was the divinely appointed method by which the Messiahship of Jesus was to be revealed to the witness John ( John 1:33, John 1:34). We should note here that those who fail to obey God’s ordinance of baptism fail (1) to follow the example of Jesus in fulfilling the divine will and precepts; (2) to obey one of the positive commands of almighty God spoken by his own Son.] Then he suffereth him. [John’s humility [83] caused him to shrink from this duty, but did not make him willfully persist in declining it. Humility ceases to be a virtue when it keeps us from performing our allotted tasks.] c21 Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized [This may mean that, on the day of his baptism, Jesus was the last candidate, and hence his baptism was the most conspicuous of all; but it more probably means that Jesus was baptized in the midst of John’s work--at the period when his baptism was in greatest favor], that, Jesus also having been {a16 And Jesus, when he was} cbaptized, and praying [All divine ordinances should be accompanied with prayer. Luke frequently notes the times when Jesus prayed. Here, at the entrance of his ministry, he prayed, and at the last moment of it he also prayed ( Luke 23:46). In his highest exultation at the transfiguration ( Luke 9:29), and in the lowest depths of humiliation in Gethsemane ( Luke 22:41), he prayed. He prayed for his apostles whom he chose ( Luke 6:12), and for his murderers by whom he was rejected ( Luke 23:34). He prayed before Peter confessed him ( Luke 9:18), and also before Peter denied him-- Luke 22:32], b10 And straightway coming up out of {awent up straightway from} bthe water [the two prepositions, "out of" and "from," show that Jesus was not yet fully out of the river, and that the vision and the voice were immediately associated with his baptism], aand lo, bhe saw [The statement that he saw the Spirit descending, which is also the language of Matthew, has been taken by some as implying that the Spirit was invisible to the multitude. But we know from John’s narrative that it was also seen by John the Baptist ( John 1:33, John 1:34), and if it was visible to him and to Jesus, and it descended, as Luke affirms, in a bodily shape like a dove ( Luke 3:22), it would have required a miracle to hide it from the multitude. Moreover, the object of the Spirit’s visible appearance was to point Jesus out, not to himself, but to others; and to point him out as the person concerning whom the voice from heaven was uttered. No doubt, then, the Spirit was visible and audible to all who [84] were present Luke 4:14] as a dove [That is, like a dove. All four evangelists are careful to inform us that it was not an actual dove], and coming upon him; c22 and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form [Lightfoot suggests that the Spirit thus descended that he might be revealed to be a personal substance and not merely an operation of the Godhead, and might thus make a sensible demonstration as to his proper place in the Trinity], as a dove [The descent of the Spirit upon Jesus was in accordance with prophecy ( Isaiah 11:2, Isaiah 41:1). The dove shape suggests purity, gentleness, peace, etc. Jesus makes the dove a symbol of harmlessness ( Matthew 10:15). In fact, the nature of this bird makes it a fit emblem of the Spirit, for it comports well with the fruits of the Spirit ( Galatians 5:22, Galatians 5:23). The nations of the earth emblazon eagles upon their banners and lions upon their shields, but He who shall gather all nations into his kingdom, appeared as a Lamb, and his Spirit appeared under the symbol of a dove. Verily his kingdom is not of this world. It [85] is a kingdom of peace and love, not of bloodshed and ambition. Noah’s dove bore the olive branch, the symbol of peace, and the Holy Spirit manifested Jesus, God’s olive branch of peace sent into this world-- Psalms 72:7, Luke 2:14, John 14:27, Ephesians 2:11-18], upon him, a17 and lo, a voice ccame aout of the heavens, {cheaven} [Voices from heaven acknowledged the person of Christ at his birth, his baptism, his transfiguration and during the concluding days of his ministry. At his baptism Jesus was honored by the attestation of both the Spirit and the Father. But the ordinance itself was honored by the sensible manifestation of each several personality of the Deity--that the three into whose name we ourselves are also baptized], asaying, This is {bthou art} [The "this is," etc. of Matthew are probably the words as John the Baptist reported them; the "thou art," etc., of Mark and Luke are the words as Jesus actually heard them. The testimony of the Father is in unreserved support of the fundamental proposition of Christianity on which the church of Christ is founded ( Matthew 16:15-18). On this point no witness in the universe was so well qualified to speak as the Father, and no other fact was so well worthy the honor of being sanctioned by his audible utterance as this. The testimony of Christ’s life, of his works, of the Baptist, and of the Scriptures might have been sufficient; but when the Father himself speaks, who shall doubt the adequacy of the proof?] amy beloved Son [See also Matthew 17:5. The Father himself states that relationship of which the apostle John so often spoke ( John 1:1). Adam was made ( Genesis 1:26), but Jesus was begotten ( Psalms 2:7). Both were sons of God, but in far different senses. The baptism of Jesus bears many marked relationships to our own: 1. At his baptism Jesus was manifested as the Son of God. At our baptism we are likewise manifested as God’s children, for we are baptized into the name of the Father, and are thereby permitted to take upon ourselves his name. 2. At his baptism Jesus was fully commissioned as the Christ. Not anointed with material oil, but divinely consecrated and qualified by the Spirit and accredited by the Father. At baptism we also [86] received the Spirit ( John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Acts 19:1-6), who commissions and empowers us to Christian ministry-- Acts 1:8, 1 John 3:24], in whom {cin thee} [Some make the phrases "in whom" and "in thee" to mean more than simply a declaration that God is pleased with Jesus. They see in it also the statement that the Father will be pleased with all who are "in Christ Jesus"-- Ephesians 1:6] aI am well pleased [It is no slight condemnation to be well pleasing to God ( Job 4:18). It is the Christian’s joy that his Saviour had this commendation of the Father at the entrance upon his ministry.] c23 And Jesus himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years of age. [The age when a Levite entered upon God’s service ( Numbers 4:3, Numbers 4:47); at which Joseph stood before Pharaoh ( Genesis 41:46); at which David began to reign ( 2 Samuel 5:4). Canon Cook fixes the date of Christ’s baptism in the spring A. U. C. 780. Wiseler in the summer of that year, and Ellicott in the winter of that year.]

* Recognizing the weight of Bro. McGarvey’s argument, I nevertheless contend that the multitude only shared partially in such a vision, if they shared it at all; for 1. There is no Scripture which even hints that the vision was seen by more than the two "inspired" parties, Jesus and John; and, on the contrary, the words of Jesus at John 5:37, though not addressed to the specific audience present at his baptism, were addressed to the Jews generally. 2. Jesus was to be manifested by his character and teaching rather than by heavenly sights and sounds ( Matthew 12:39), and the mysteries of the kingdom ( Matthew 13:11), and the opened heavens ( John 1:50, John 1:51), with many other manifestations, were reserved for believers ( John 12:28-30, Matthew 17:1, Matthew 17:2, Matthew 17:9, Acts 1:9, Acts 7:55, Acts 7:59, Acts 10:40, Acts 10:41), and are still so reserved ( 1 Corinthians 2:14). As to the arguments given above, we suggest that "bodily shape" does not insure universal sight. Baalam did not see what the ass saw ( Numbers 22:21-31). Again, it may be true that Jesus did not need to see the vision to "point him out to himself," but he must have needed it for some purpose, for it is twice asserted that he saw it, and the temptations which immediately follow show that assurances of his divinity at this particular time were by no means misplaced.

[FFG 82-87]

Verses 23-38

cLUKE III. 23-38.

c23 And Jesus himself [Luke has been speaking about John the Baptist, he now turns to speak of Jesus himself], when he began to teach, was about thirty years of age [the age when a Levite entered upon God’s service-- Numbers 4:46, Numbers 4:47], being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son [this may mean that Jesus was grandson of Heli, or that Joseph was counted as a son of Heli because he was his son-in-law] of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri [Matthew calls Shealtiel the son of Jechoniah. [7] Jechoniah may have been the natural, and Neri the legal, father of Shealtiel-- Deuteronomy 25:5-10, Matthew 22:24], 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosan, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Jesus, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Symeon, the son of Judas, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon [he was probably one of the two spies who were sent to Jericho by Joshua-- Joshua 2:1-24], the son of Nahshon [he was prince of the tribe of Judah during the wanderings in the wilderness-- Numbers 1:4-7, Numbers 10:14], 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber [it is thought that the name "Hebrew" comes from this man-- Genesis 10:21, Genesis 40:15, Exodus 2:6], the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah [the hero of the flood], the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah [who lived to be the oldest man on record, dying when 969 years old], the son of Enoch [whom God translated], the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth [the third son of Adam], the son of Adam, the son of God [Adam was the son of God, being not merely a creature, but a creature made in God’s image and likeness-- Genesis 1:26, Genesis 1:27.] [8]

[FFG 7-8]

Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 3". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tfg/luke-3.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.
Ads FreeProfile