Study Notes For Luke Chapter Three
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,”
- “Tiberius, in full Tiberius Caesar Augustus or Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus, original name Tiberius Claudius Nero, (born November 16, 42 BCE—died March 16, 37 CE, Capreae [Capri], near Naples), second Roman emperor (14–37 CE), the adopted son of Augustus, whose imperial institutions and imperial boundaries he sought to preserve. In his last years he became a tyrannical recluse, inflicting a reign of terror against the major personages of Rome…” (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Tiberius). Jesus recognized this man’s earthly authority (Matthew 22:15-22), but was accused otherwise (John 19:9-16).
- “Pontius Pilate, Latin in full Marcus Pontius Pilatus, (died after 36 CE), Roman prefect (governor) of Judaea (26–36 CE) under the emperor Tiberius who presided at the trial of Jesus and gave the order for his crucifixion…” (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Pontius-Pilate). Pilate was the governor that wanted to free Jesus, but instead gave place to the request of the Jews (Matthew 27:1-26 and Acts 4:24-31).
- The word tetrarch means: “to be a governor of a tetrarchy [fourth part of a province; (Webster)], be tetrarch of a region” (Strong’s # 5075).
- Herod being tetrarch of Galilee. This is not the Herod that terrorized the Jews in attempt to kill Jesus when He was a baby, for that Herod had died in Jesus’ youth (Matthew 2:1-19). This is the Herod that had John beheaded (Mark 6:14-29). This Herod was reportedly banished in 39 AD (Strong’s # 2264).
- Herod’s brother - Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis. Other than the fact that his wife was taken by Herod, we don’t know much about him. Some sources say he died about 34 AD (i.e. https://bible.wikia.org/wiki/Phillip_the_Tetrarch). The word “about” just confirms the little we can know.
- The same is true about Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene. There are no certain references to make about him.
- Putting this in perspective. We are reading the first letter to Theophilus to help him know the certainty of the things he had been instructed of (Luke 1:1-4). The naming of these men gave him information based on what he would have been familiar with.
Luke 3:2 “Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.”
- Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests throughout Jesus’ time teaching and during the work of the Apostles. They were in opposition of Christ and the work of the Apostles (Matthew 26:1-5, Matthew 26:57-68, John 18:12-24, John 19:4-7, and Acts 4:1-22).
- John the son of Zacharias (Luke 1:5-25; 1:57-79).
- He was in the wilderness [isolated area] (Luke 1:80).
- John was a prophet (Luke 7:28). The word of God came unto John (Numbers 12:6).
- We read how the word of the LORD came to other prophets (II Samuel 7:1-7, I Kings 6:11, I Kings 18:1, Jeremiah 1:1-18, Jeremiah 47:1, Jeremiah 49:34, Ezekiel 1:3, Joel 1:1, Micah 1:1, Zechariah 1:1, etc.).
- Prophets of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (II Peter 1:20-21; cf. II Samuel 23:2, Acts 1:16, Acts 28:25, and II Timothy 3:16-17).
- This marks the beginning of the end of the authority of the Law of Moses and the words of the prophets of old (Matthew 11:13 and Luke 16:16).
Luke 3:3 “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;”
- He came into all the country about Jordan (Matthew 3:1-5 and John 3:22-36).
- The baptism of repentance (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:4-5, and Acts 13:24-25).
- John was supposed to preach about the remission of sins (Luke 1:76-77).
- Could it be that someone’s sins could be remitted if they were baptized with John’s baptism and died before Jesus shed His blood for the remission of sins? Yes, is the answer because the blood of Christ covered transgressions under the first testament (Hebrews 9:11-15).
- After the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ; we know that John’s baptism was no longer valid (Acts 19:1-7). By the time we come to the letter to Ephesus, there is only one baptism (Ephesians 4:1-6). That one baptism cannot be anything other than water baptism into Christ (Romans 6:1-6, Galatians 3:24-29, Colossians 2:4-12, and I Peter 3:20-21).
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.”
- Isaiah 40:1-11; cf. Matthew 11:7-10, Mark 1:1-3, and John 1:15-28
- The next verse is about His paths being made straight.
- Consider also: Malachi 3:1-6
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;”
- In reference to the aforementioned words of Isaiah (Isaiah 40:4), the prophet’s words are brought to reality in John.
- The preparation of the way is also likened to what we can read regarding Cyrus bringing Judah out of Babylon (Isaiah 44:24-45:5).
- The point in this was that all hinderances would be removed from their path to the Lord. The path was being made straight (Isaiah 42:10-17). More on this in the next verse.
Luke 3:6 “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
- In the first century, all flesh was going to be able to see the salvation of God (Matthew 24:14, Mark 16:15-20, Luke 2:25-32, Luke 24:44-47, Acts 8:4, Romans 8:8-18, Ephesians 2:11-17, Colossians 1:6, and Colossians 1:23).
- What John was preparing was the way for all men to eventually be able to see the salvation of God (Luke 1:57-60; 1:76-80).
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?”
- A number of people came to be baptized of John (John 3:23).
- Multitudes came to him, but not all (Mark 11:27-33).
- The generation [offspring; fruit of; Strong’s # 1081] vipers (Matthew 12:33-37 and Matthew 23:29-36).
- This brings to thought how the next generation of sinners can come about (I Kings 15:1-7) and sometimes be even worse (I Kings 14:22, I Kings 16:30, and Ezekiel 16:43-51).
- That is NOT to say the next generation is doomed to repeat or increase the errors of their fathers (Ezekiel 18:14-23).
- There are a lot of thoughts to consider in John’s question “who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” It was not, at this time, possible for them to understand the “wrath to come” as we do and as saints latter in the first century did (cf. Romans 5:8-9, I Thessalonians 1:9-10, and II Thessalonians 1:7-10).
- So, who warned them? Was it that they had considered the words of the prophets and finally have taught them (Zechariah 8:13-17)? Was it the popularity of John spreading around (Matthew 21:26)?
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.”
- Bring forth fruits worthy [comparable or suitable; Strong’s # 514] of repentance (Ezekiel 14:1-6, Ezekiel 18:27-31, Ezekiel 33:14-15, Jonah 3:1-10, Matthew 3:8, Luke 19:1-10, Acts 9:1-22, Acts 26:18-20, Romans 6:12-22, Ephesians 2:1-10, and Revelation 2:1-5).
- They needed to NOT justify themselves by saying they were decedents of Abraham (John 8:31-59).
- That argument doesn’t fly. God could have raised up stones to Abraham. In other words, it doesn’t matter (Philippians 3:1-12). In fact, in Christ even those outside of the bloodline of Abraham are the children of Abraham (Galatians 3:26-29).
Luke 3:9 “And now also the axe 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.”
- “And now” shows that, beginning with John’s preaching, a transition has arose (Matthew 11:13 and Luke 16:16).
- Going forward, the old tree is being cut down, but that point has to be balanced (Romans 11:1-36).
- Going forward, you have to be in Christ rather than physically of Abraham (John 15:1-9).
- Going forward, the unfruitful is to be burned (Hebrews 5:11-6:8; cf. Luke 13:1-9).
Luke 3:10 “And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?”
- When honest people hear that they are not “safe”, the desire to be in such a state should spur this type of question (Acts 2:36-41, Acts 10:25-33, Acts 16:29-30, and Acts 22:10).
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.”
- If you have extra share with those who have none (Matthew 25:31-40, Luke 11:41, II Corinthians 8:1-14, Galatians 2:10, and I Timothy 6:17-18).
- Understand the change this would bring about from what had become the norm in Israel (Isaiah 10:1-2, Jeremiah 5:26-28, Ezekiel 22:29, Amos 5:11-12, and Micah 2:1-2).
- Remember, they were the offspring of vipers (Luke 3:7). It was time to show they were not their forefathers.
- Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to completely change (Luke 20:45-47 and James 5:1-6).
Luke 3:12-13 “Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.”
- The tax collectors were more receptive than the Pharisees and lawyers at this time (Luke 7:29-30) and were looked down upon for their interest in the teachings of God (Luke 15:1-2).
- Think about some of the things we see about the publicans (Matthew 5:46-47, Matthew 9:9-13, Matthew 18:15-17, and Matthew 21:23-32).
- “Master” just means “teacher” (Acts 13:1, Romans 2:20, I Corinthians 12:28-29, etc.).
- “What shall we do…” (see notes on vs. 10).
- As John answers the question of what must we do, he uses a word translated in the KJV “exact” [perform repeatedly or habitually (thus differing from 4160, which properly refers to a single act); by implication, to execute, accomplish, etc.; specially, to collect (dues), fare (personally): — commit, deeds, do, exact, keep, require, use arts… Strong’s # 4238]. Consider the account about Zacchaeus as commentary on this (Luke 19:1-10).
- God’s people know that tax collection and payment is authorized (Luke 20:21-25 and Romans 13:1-7).
- It was wrong for those collecting taxes to steal or extort that which was not appointed to them (Exodus 20:15, Ezekiel 22:12-13, I Corinthians 5:11, I Corinthians 6:9-11, and Ephesians 4:28).
- Publicans had a reputation for extortion (Luke 18:11-14).
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.”
- Like the publicans, the soldiers wanted to know what they needed to do. We discussed the principle on this in verse 10.
- In another thought though, notice how that they inferred that they might be different than the publicans. Isn’t there something to consider in that? A solider had different ways to err than a publican even when the two could both be crooks. Additionally, most Christians have things that apply directly to he or she that may not equally or at all apply to another brother or sister (Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 12:41-48, Galatians 6:4-5, I Corinthians 3:8, I Corinthians 7:32-34, I Timothy 6:17-19, Titus 2:1-10, Hebrews 13:17, James 3:1, etc.)?
- The word translated “violence” [διασείω] means: “shake thoroughly, i.e. (figuratively) to intimidate…. To terrify… To extort from one by intimidation money or other property” (Strong’s # 1286). See: Psalms 62:10 and I Thessalonians 4:11 as well as the notes on this point in verse 13.
- They were not to make false accusations (Exodus 20:16, Exodus 23:1, Exodus 23:7, Psalms 31:18, Proverbs 14:5, Proverbs 19:9, and Ephesians 4:25).
- Some soldiers were able to be bribed (Matthew 28:11-15).
- Think about how the above were clear, separate instructions; but also could have been taught in other ways (Luke 6:27-36, Romans 13:9-10, Philippians 2:3-7, James 2:8-10, etc.).
- They were instructed to be content with their wages (Philippians 4:10-18 and I Timothy 6:6-10). That ties to not seeking to take money that belonged to others - using their office to do so.
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;”
- The people were in expectation. Meaning: “(to watch); to anticipate (in thought, hope or fear); by implication, to await: — (be in) expect(-ation), look (for), when looked, tarry, wait for. To expect (whether in thought, in hope, or in fear) to look for, wait for” (Strong’s # 4328). The verse reveals that what they were awaiting is to see whether or not he was the Christ (cf. John 1:19-23, John 3:27-29, and Acts 13:25). The same was asked of Jesus with an obviously different response (John 10:22-42).
- They “mused” [reasoned] in their hearts (cf. Mark 2:1-12).
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:”
- John pointed out that he baptized with water (John 1:26 and Acts 13:24; cf. Acts 19:1-7), but there is another whose shoes he was not worthy to unloose (Mark 1:7).
- Jesus baptizing with the Holy Ghost (Mark 13:10-11, John 7:37-39, Luke 11:1-13, Acts 1:1-8, Acts 2:1-41, Acts 8:5-24, Acts 10:1-11:18, etc.).
- Jesus baptizing with fire could be the tongues they spoke with at the first (Acts 2:1-13) which were different than tongues that required an interpreter in I Corinthians 14:1-23. It could not be tongues in general, because they continued beyond Ephesians 4:4-6, even though they were temporary as all other spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12:3-13:13).
- Here is the thing with the baptism of fire. You could read texts such as Luke 12:49-53 and maybe come to some conclusions. However, there is now only one baptism (Ephesians 4:4-6). That one baptism is and only can be that which saves (I Peter 3:20-21; cf. Acts 8:25-39). Therefore, it cannot be something to come, such as fiery judgment (II Thessalonians 1:7-9).
- These are first principles (Hebrews 5:11-6:4).
Luke 3:17 “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”
- Contextually, John is pointing to Jesus (vs. 16). Therefore, it is Jesus whose fan [a winnowing-fan - a winnowing shovel or something similar to a pitchfork] is in His hand (cf. Isaiah 30:24).
- The floor, is a threshing-floor. Meaning: “a ground plot or threshing floor, i.e. a place in the field made hard after the harvest by a roller, where grain was threshed out” (Strong’s # 257).
- The garner is: “a store house” (Strong’s # 596).
- Chaff is: “a stalk of grain from which the kernels have been beaten out” (Strong’s # 892).
- This is farming language (Ruth 3:1-2). God has done such at various times to sinners among His people (Psalms 1:1-6, Isaiah 5:24, Isaiah 41:14-16, and Jeremiah 15:1-7).
- Matthew records his too (Matthew 3:12).
- Unquenchable fire, fire that cannot be extinguished (Matthew 13:47-50, Matthew 25:31-46, Mark 9:42-48, II Thessalonians 1:7-9, and Revelation 21:8).
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