Shane L. Bishop
Google every name and place in the first two verses of Luke 3. They are all important historical markers. Note the word of God “came” and John “went.” His presence is fulfilled prophecy. He seems very Old Testament. John sounds very much like an Essene (another Google) in his preaching style. Note John has clear answers for what people should do in response to his message. What would John say to you in response to what do I do? There is a clear sense of public wondering if John is the messiah. John is most clear that he is not. Clearly John is a transitional figure for the Gentile writer Luke. He gets about half a chapter, baptizes Jesus and hands off the baton. With his baptism, Luke parts from John and focuses on the life of Jesus. Do you have trouble keeping focus on Jesus? Why or why not? Genealogies were vital to a wandering and often displaced people like the Jews. You were not a Jew because of where you lived (aka Americans); you were a Jew through racial lines regardless of where you lived. On the Joseph side, Jesus has many of the OT big hitters in his line. David. Abraham. Adam. You can’t do any better. The term Jew seems to come from Judah who was one of the sons of Jacob. “Lion of the tribe of Judah.” Jesus begins his ministry at 30. That was adult age in his culture and in some ways, it is arguably again in our culture. At 30 you were expected to be on your own, have a trade and be able to support a wife and eventually a family. We really have nothing on Jesus between 12 and 30. We can assume that Joseph died (disappears from text) and Jesus took over the family “tekton” (Carpenter) business.
John the Baptist had a powerful message for the people who were listening. Simply being descendants of Abraham was not enough to bring them salvation. (Luke 3:8-9) We might not relate to being a descendant of Abraham, but is it really that uncommon to hear someone say, “My parents and my grandparents are Christian, so I’m Christian too.” Our salvation is has nothing to do with our lineage, but instead has everything to do with accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord.
*Adapted from the Life Application Bible Commentary of Luke