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Luke Chapter 3:1-38 

Memory verses for this week:  Psa 27:7  Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 

Introduction: We continue our study of the book of Luke as we cover chapter 3.  Last week we studied about Simeon seeing the Lord in person.   He said by seeing the baby Christ, he knew he had seen the Messiah of Israel and was ready to die in peace.   We closed the book finding Jesus as the age of 12 in the temple both asking questions and giving answers to the doctors of the law.  They marvelled at His knowledge.

I.   The Ministry of John the Baptist 

Luke 3:1  Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,

Luke 3:2  Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 

Luke gives us the dates that people living during this time could easily verify.   John the Baptist is person the least understood person in the Word of God.  Jesus said that of those born of a woman, there was no greater than John.  He was chosen by the Spirit of God to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Luke says his ministry began in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar.  It says Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea.  Herod was tetrarch of Galilee.  He was a grandson of the infamous Herod who was responsible for the slaughter of the babies in Bethlehem.   Herodís brother Philip was tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis.  During this time Lysanias was the tetrarch of Abilene.  Annas and Caiaphas were high-priests in Judaea.   According to Old Testament Scriptures, how could there be two High Priests at the same time?  There was to be only one high priest and he was to be succeeded by his son.  At this time, everything was out of order and the high-priesthood was a political position brought and sold by the Roman conquerors who gave the office to the highest bidder.  Annas was retired later on, and his son-in-law, Caiaphas, had the position.  But they were both recognized as high-priests. 

Luke 3:3  And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 

Now at a time when there was great confusion, the Word of God tells us that John the Baptist came on the scene.  It had been 30 years since he was born and there is no record of his childhood.   We donít know how he was trained or how the Lord was know to John the Baptist.  But we know this, John was appointed to prepare a people for the Lord, and he came on the scene doing just that.  It says he came from dwelling in the wilderness.  Many of Godís servants graduated from the wilderness of the wilderness.  (Moses, David, Elijah, and even Christ himself who spent the 40 days in the wilderness.    John preached baptism upon the repentance to those saved who showed remission of sins.  It is important to understand that he never preached that baptism saves nor that it gives remission of sins. 

John 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 

Luke 3:4  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.

Luke 3:5  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;

Luke 3:6  And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.


Verses 4 Ė 6 are from Isaiah 40.  John saw many of his audience as lost sinners.   He declared that there was wrath to come and warned them to flee from that wrath.   He demanded that they bring forth fruits of repentance.   If they claimed to be people of the Lord, they should show evidence of it in their lives. 

Luke 3:7  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?

Luke 3:8  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.

Luke 3:9  And now also the ax 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. 

Many of the Israelites claimed Abraham as their father, but this did not automatically make them a child of God.  All are condemned until they come to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. 

John 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

John 3:21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. 

In the book of John, Jesus told them if they were Abrahamís children, they would do the works of Abraham.   Abraham was a peacemaker who lived by faith.  He was a tither who feared the Lord and commanded his house after God. 

John 8:39  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 

John declared that every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the file.   Jesus told us in John Chapter 15 that branches that do not bear fruit are cut off. 

John 15:1  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

John 15:2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

John 15:3  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

John 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 

Luke 3:10  And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

Luke 3:11  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.

Luke 3:12  Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?

Luke 3:13  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

Luke 3:14  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. 

John gives instructions as to what we are to do.   If we have more than one coat, then give one to someone who does not have a coat.  Also if we have food and others do not, we should share that food.  We are to do no violence or accuse others falsely.    And whatever we are paid, we should be content with that amount.  

Matthew Henry commented this on these verses. 

(1.) He tells the people their duty, and that is to be charitable (v. 11): He that has two coats, and, consequently, one to spare, let him give, or lend at least, to him that has none, to keep him warm. Perhaps he saw among his hearers some that were overloaded with clothes, while others were ready to perish in rags, and he puts those who had superfluities upon contributing to the relief of those that had not necessaries. The gospel requires mercy, and not sacrifice; and the design of it is to engage us to do all the good we can. Food and raiment are the two supports of life; he that hath meat to spare, let him give to him that is destitute of daily food, as well as he that hath clothes to spare: what we have we are but stewards of, and must use it, accordingly, as our Master directs.

(2.) He tells the publicans their duty, the collectors of the emperorís revenue (v. 13): Exact no more than that which is appointed you. They must do justice between the government and the merchant, and not oppress the people in levying the taxes, nor any way make them heavier or more burdensome than the law had made them. They must not think that because it was their office to take care that the people did not defraud the prince they might therefore, by the power they had, bear hard upon the people; as those that have ever so little a branch of power are apt to abuse it: "No, keep to your book of rates, and reckon it enough that you collect for Caesar the things that are Caesarís, and do not enrich yourselves by taking more.íí The public revenues must be applied to the public service, and not to gratify the avarice of private persons. Observe, He does not direct the publicans to quit their places, and to go no more to the receipt of custom; the employment is in itself lawful and necessary, but let them be just and honest in it.  [i]


Luke 3:15  And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;

Luke 3:16  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:

Luke 3:17  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.

Luke 3:18  And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people. 

John told people who questioned if he might be the Christ, that he was not the Christ, and that he was not even worthy to tie the latches of His shoes.   He declared that he baptized with water, but Jesus would baptize the church with the Holy Ghost at a later date.  (On the day of Pentecost,  Acts Chapter 2.)  The baptism with fire will be at the great White Throne Judgment. 

Rev 20:11  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Rev 20:13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Rev 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Rev 20:15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. 

Luke 3:19  But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,

Luke 3:20  Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison. 

John the Baptist was not afraid to speak the truth, and he spoke out against Herod because he had taken his brother Philipís wife which was unlawful. 

Because of this, he was shut up in prison, and alter lost his life.


II.  The Baptism of Jesus 

Luke 3:21  Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

Luke 3:22  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.

 We have the record of John baptizing Christ in Matthew Chapter 3.   Jesus did this to fulfill all righteousness and set an example that all of us should follow.  God had told John how he would be able to identify Christ. 

Mat 3:13  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

Mat 3:14  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

Mat 3:15  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.

Mat 3:16  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Mat 3:17  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.


John 1:32  And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

John 1:33  And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

John 1:34  And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 

We have a record here that there is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  This is proof of the trinity which is hard to comprehend, but is the makeup of God.


III.  The Genealogy of Mary 

Luke 3:23  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,

Luke 3:24  Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph,

Luke 3:25  Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge,

Luke 3:26  Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda,

Luke 3:27  Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri,

Luke 3:28  Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er,

Luke 3:29  Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi,

Luke 3:30  Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim,

Luke 3:31  Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David,

Luke 3:32  Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson,

Luke 3:33  Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda,

Luke 3:34  Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor,

Luke 3:35  Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala,

Luke 3:36  Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,

Luke 3:37  Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,

Luke 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. 

Sometimes genealogies seem long and somewhat unimportant to the reader.  However, God had a very important reason for recording this one in the Word of God.   

Gen 49:10  The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 

We have this record that God said that the Lord, the Messiah, would come to Israel.   Shiloh is a name for our Lord, Jesus Christ.   He is the Prince of Peace, and Shiloh means Ďpeace.í  God saw that the genealogical tables were preserved from Adam right on down through Abraham and on to David, and then from David to the coming of Jesus Christ.  This proves his rightful title to the throne of David.  When you look at the genealogical record listed in Matthew, it only goes back to Abraham.   From Abraham to Christ there are 42 generations.   This record is the record of Joseph, who was truly not the father of Jesus Christ.  He goes back to Solomon, Davidís son.  In this book, the record goes back all the way to Adam, and this is Maryís descendants.  Notice she came from Davidís other son, Nathan.   There are several women mentioned in this genealogy.  Thamar was the woman (Genesis 38) who put on the attire of a harlot and conceived from the seed of her father in law.  Her sonís name was Pharez, and because of this, he and his descendants were not permitted to enter into the congregation of the Lord until the tenth generation. 

 Deu 23:2  A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD. 

Rachab, the Harlot is mentioned as well as Ruth, a Moabitess outside the covenant of promise is mentioned.   Bathsheba, with whom King David committed adultery, is also mentioned.  These are probably here to prove that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.   Coniah, the man that was barred from sitting on the throne of Israel and prospering is also mentioned. 

Jer 22:24  As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence;

Jer 22:25  And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.

Jer 22:26  And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die.

Jer 22:27  But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return.

Jer 22:28  Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not?


J. Vernon McGee said this about the importance of this record. 

Matthew traces the line of Christ through Davidís son, Solomon. That is the royal line. Luke traces the line of Christ through Davidís son, Nathan. Mary had the blood of David in her veins. Jesus Christ is the Son of David.

Luke reveals Jesus Christ as the Son of Man and the Savior of the world. His line does not stop with Abraham, but goes all the way back to Adam who was the first ďsonĒ of Godóthe created son of God. But he fell from that lofty position when he sinned. Jesus Christ, the last Adam and the Son of God, is come to bring mankind back into that relationship with God which Adam formerly had and lost. This relationship is accomplished through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.   [ii]



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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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[i]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henryís Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

[ii]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.