Luke 3:1-2 “Now in the fifteenth year…”
Sets the stage in time. Mentions secular and religious leaders of the day.
3 “…preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins”
Baptism, or immersion, of repentance. The message was that a person needed to recognize their sinful nature and repent of their sins to get rid of them. The immersion in water, or baptism by water, was the outward demonstration of what they were doing on the inside. The water had no effect on the sins. If you have to add the act of baptism to salvation you’ve added works to the grace of God which is heresy. Can’t understand why some people can’t see that.
4-5 “…voice of one crying in the wilderness…Every valley shall be filled And every mountain and hill brought low”
First phrase is standard reference to the forerunner of Christ. But I’ve heard the other phrases referencing the second coming of Christ. Commentaries take the spiritual path. Sinners raised up for mercy, the high and mighty brought low for repentance. Nothing definite. And of course could have parallel meanings depending on the dispensation.
6 “…all flesh shall see the salvation of God”
Arrival of the Messiah. Not a mystery that only some will view, but Jesus was there for all to see. Boggles the mind when you think about it. No other figure in history has been so polarizing to men, whether they believe on Him or not. All others are mentioned then ignored. That fact alone is beyond the realm of coincidence.
7 “…Brood of vipers…”
Called it as he saw it. John didn’t give anyone a false sense of themselves or their condition.
8 “…bear fruits worthy of repentance…”
Show that you actually have had a heart change, that you’re not just going through the motions.
8 “…We have Abraham as our father…”
Their position as Jews or descendants of Abraham was not enough to gain salvation. Repentance and acceptance of the Messiah was what was required, as it still is.
9 “…even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees…”
The time has come. As Hebrews reminds us, God looked over our sins in the past with sacrifices. But now the Messiah, the perfect sacrifice has come. If you don’t accept Him, there is no other means of remission of sins. Those that reject Him are cut down.
13 “…Collect no more than what is appointed…”
Works that a tax collector could do which would show his true repentance and heart change. Zacchaeus will do this automatically when He accepts Christ. It will be the sign that He had truly changed.
16 “…One mightier than I is coming…”
John had the followers. He could have taken it upon himself to be a revolutionary as the Messiah. Others had. But he was true to his calling. He knew his place and who was coming.
17 “…winnowing fan is in His hand…He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor…gather the wheat into His barn…chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire”
All could be said of Jesus on His first arrival. But I wonder how much is better applied to His second coming. Wonder how much John understood of the way in which Christ was coming or if he understood it at all. The doubts he expressed later while in prison indicates he was expecting Jesus to fulfill all prophecies of the Messiah upon His arrival, not a spiritual kingdom first and an earthly one later. But he fulfilled his purpose regardless.
19 “…Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife…”
Wonder exactly how that played out. Luke tells at the beginning of the chapter that Herod and Philip were both tetrarchs. Why would Herodias leave Philip and take up with Herod. A real romantic connection or was Herodias trying to hitch her horse to a better wagon. Political power play. Commentaries only speak of the issue itself, not the reasons for it.
22 “…descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him…”
Had many reasons, but one was to bear witness to John that Jesus was the Messiah. According to John the Apostle, God had told John the Baptist that the Messiah, the one for whom he was a forerunner, would be the one whom the Holy Spirit would descend upon and stay.
23 “…the son of Heli”
Or Eli. From other sources we know that Mary’s father was Eli. Joseph’s father was Jacob by Matthew. Therefore, this must be the genealogy of Christ through Mary showing Jesus’s authority by being a son of David.
31 “…the son of Nathan, the son of David”
Mary’s line goes up through Nathan, another son of David by Bathsheba. David had four or five children by her including Solomon who was given the throne. Story of redemption. Even though Bathsheba was not David’s first wife, and their relationship at first was adulterous, God still chose to use her as part of the line of the Messiah. Forgiveness and redemption.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.