1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, God’s word came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight! 5 Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be made low; the crooked will become straight, the rough ways smooth, 6 and everyone will see the salvation of God.”
7 He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones! 9 Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 “What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him. 11 He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.” 14 Some soldiers also questioned him: “What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation; be satisfied with your wages.”
15 Now the people were waiting expectantly, and all of them were debating in their minds whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but One is coming who is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing shovel is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with a fire that never goes out.” 18 Then, along with many other exhortations, he proclaimed good news to the people. 19 But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him about Herodias, his brother’s wife, and about all the evil things Herod had done, 20 added this to everything else—he locked John up in prison.
21 When all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. As He was praying, heaven opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in a physical appearance like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are My beloved Son. I take delight in You!”
23 As He began His ministry, Jesus was about 30 years old and was thought to be the son of Joseph, son of Heli, 24 son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Melchi, son of Jannai, son of Joseph, 25 son of Mattathias, son of Amos, son of Nahum, son of Esli, son of Naggai, 26 son of Maath, son of Mattathias, son of Semein, son of Josech, son of Joda, 27 son of Joanan, son of Rhesa, son of Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, son of Neri, 28 son of Melchi, son of Addi, son of Cosam, son of Elmadam, son of Er, 29 son of Joshua, son of Eliezer, son of Jorim, son of Matthat, son of Levi, 30 son of Simeon, son of Judah, son of Joseph, son of Jonam, son of Eliakim, 31 son of Melea, son of Menna, son of Mattatha, son of Nathan, son of David, 32 son of Jesse, son of Obed, son of Boaz, son of Salmon, son of Nahshon, 33 son of Amminadab, son of Ram, son of Hezron, son of Perez, son of Judah,34 son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, son of Terah, son of Nahor, 35 son of Serug, son of Reu, son of Peleg, son of Eber, son of Shelah, 36 son of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamech, 37 son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalaleel, son of Cainan, 38 son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
“But Herod...added this to everything else—he locked John up in prison.” —Luke 3:19,20
A few years ago, our family visited Yosemite National Park in California. One of the highlights of the trip was to walk out onto Glacier Point and see the massive rock formation called Half Dome.
This granite structure looks formidable even from a distance. It’s not a sight where you briefly glance, then walk on to the next vista. Half Dome is a view to fix your eyes on and wonder at the Creator of this hunk of granite. Massive, fixed, and immovable are some terms I’d use to describe it.
For the past year, we’ve been reading and studying about the person and work of Jesus Christ, laying a rock solid foundation of truth based on God’s Word. We (the writers) have tried to present verifiable proof using the Scriptures to support the life of Christ.
If you look at today’s key verse, we notice John the Baptist is in prison. Although this isn’t in chronological order with the rest of Luke 3, later in Luke 7 we find out about John’s state of mind while imprisoned.
John sends two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the One who is to come or should we look for someone else?” Whether it was doubt or confusion about this person, Jesus, John’s foundation was shifting—it was no longer that rock solid foundation of truth he had been standing on and baptizing in.
We, however, have the benefit of God’s Word—His unshakable truth. Using today’s passage, we can find three more truths that point to Jesus as the One.
“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar…” Luke gives us a time in history and names of key people during this period. History reveals that Jesus lived during this time. We can also know that during this specific period of world history, Jesus began His ministry.
In verses 21-22 we find authentication of Jesus as God’s Son from God Himself, “You are My beloved Son. I take delight in You!” Mark’s Gospel says God “tore open” heaven and spoke these words (Mark 1:10). God validates, announces, and identifies Jesus as His Son by tearing open heaven and breaking into this specific time in history.
Then we come to Jesus’ genealogy and find His lineage going back to Adam, demonstrating His relationship to the human race and showing that He is fully Man.
It should thrill our spirit, strengthen our faith, and embolden our witness each time we find another prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament or another truth brought to light about Jesus. When we look to God’s Word we find rock solid evidence—a Half Dome kind—that backs up the life and work of Jesus Christ.
Well, how did Jesus respond to John the Baptist’s question? He sent back John’s disciples and told them to say, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard.”
Even though John the Baptist’s faith was shaken, the rock solid evidence still pointed to Jesus as the One.
- Skim through Luke 3 again. Can you find other evidence pointing to Jesus as the One?
- Recall a time when your faith was shaken. How did you respond?
- Do you believe the rock solid evidence found in the Scriptures? If not, pray, asking God to reveal Himself to you. If yes, think about all the devotionals you have read this year and write down truths you have learned about Jesus, citing the Scripture reference.