The Gospel of Luke tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.
Luke chapter 3
There are 24 chapters in this book
They bring us through the story of Jesus - the reason for this season.
I also include in the bottom or comments some “extras” like short videos and songs that you may have never heard (or artists you may not know) that resonate with me during this holiday time.
Each post will start with who is who so that you can get a solid understanding of what this chapter is about. I encourage you to read the chapter in your own Bible after you read this. If you don’t have a Bible there are lots of free apps. I use several versions in my studying to ensure I have a full understanding of what I’ve read.
This is my commentary.
Who was Luke?
A physician, a researcher, a traveling friend of Paul (mentioned in Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24), perhaps someone researching facts to help the legal case for Paul while in prison in Rome, a non-Jew, the only Gentile author of a book in the New Testament. He penned not only Luke, but also Acts.
New characters continue to be introduced - new in this chapter:
- John The Baptizer (now as an adult - you met him as a baby already previously)
- Tiberius - ruler of the entire Roman world and Caesar for the past 15 yrs
- Pontius Pilate - ruler of the country of Judea
- Herod - ruler of the land of Galilee
- Philip - Herod’s brother and ruler of the countries of Iturea and Trachonitis
- Lysanias - ruler of Abilene
- Annas (the first high priest of Judea who later appointed 5 sons as priests)
- Caiaphas - head of all priests and son-in-law to Annas (as well as the chief priest to plot the death of Jesus)
Yesterday we ended with John living in the desert wilderness. Now we pick up in chapter 3 with God speaking to him. He preached God’s message all along the Jordan River.
His life was simple and message was simple - turn away from wrong and change your life, anything and everything you have ever done would be forgiven, and salvation would be yours. This holds true today.
Plain and simple. You were one way. Be another. No matter what you once were or did that needs changing- is erased. Entirely. It’s the way to get the key to unlocking the door to eternal life reunited with God. The KEY? Jesus. The key is available to everyone. Every-one-of-us.
This message may even be for one of you reading this. Salvation is available to everyone. You are not exempt from this gift. No matter what. You just have to accept it to have it.
In the Old Testament, Isaiah prophesied about John in 40:3-5 saying: “somebody’s voice is shouting like thunder in the desert wilderness, ‘the Lord will come soon, so prepare a way for Him to follow. Make the path straight and smooth for Him. This is how everyone then can see Him clearly.’”
The path actually is very straight and smooth in this country (USA) where we are free to read the Bible, assemble (church has been made even easier to attend online as a result of the pandemic), and we are not killed or arrested for speaking about Jesus. This is a reality for some places in the world. Can you imagine it is still like this in not just a few but many parts of the world?
Jesus was and is still the most controversial being spoken about across the globe. Why? He’s the key. It is HE who unlocks these mysteries and shepherds us to eternity from whence we came.
But what for the people who had not yet met Him? Back to the chapter...
It was the “in thing” for people to take a day trip out to find John and see him preach and to be baptized in the river. Crowds of people would show up each weekend. This made John angry actually and he didn’t bite his tongue. He called these types of spectators snakes and gave them some guidance.
One person shouted from the crowd “what should we do to be saved?”
5 statements from John:
1. If you have 2 shirts give one to a person who has none (simple).
2. If you have enough food give some to someone who has none (simple).
3. If you collect taxes only collect the amount owed and stop the extortion of people (simple).
4. If you’re a soldier (or police) no more shakedowns or blackmail, don’t blame someone of wrongdoing if he did nothing wrong - and stop the blackmail (SIMPLE but one of the biggest controversies plaguing our country still).
5. Be happy with how much money you make at work (SIMPLE but how easy is this to do? I posted about this situation on my LinkedIn recently with some quotes from Steve Jobs).
John knew that people thought HE was the Messiah (person who the people thought would overthrow Rome) so he also made it very clear that he was not. He said he wasn’t even fit to tie the sandals of the One coming and that although he baptized with water - the Savior would baptize with the Holy Spirit and Fire so that we could be changed from the inside out.
The change happens on our insides first. This is a heart matter.
Inside Out. (By the way Inside Out is a great movie by Disney Pixar also about changing our minds). Jesus came to change our hearts and minds so that our souls could be released back to the purpose we were put on this earth. Inside out.
SNAKES change from the outside in - by shedding skin. But what is underneath stays the same.
Jesus in a few years would shed blood. WHAT WAS IN HIM WOULD BE POURED OUT. His bloodshed would be the way for US to change from the inside out - everlasting.
John said “it’s your life that must change, not your skin”.
What counts is your life and how you live it.
Please friends - read those 10 words again. I did even as I wrote this. Francisca Battistelli has a wonderful song with lyrics that say “it’s your life whatcha gonna do - the world is watching you - every day the choices you make say who you are and Who your heart beats for”.
You can “go to church” or “call yourself a Christian” - that is on the OUTSIDE and if you are not right on the INSIDE - those titles mean NOTHING. What counts is your LIFE.
Is it green and blossoming? Or is it dead wood fit only for fire.
We have seen this on stage with the antics of our government officials over the past too-many-years. Words matter. Actions matter. Integrity matters. Serving one another matters.
THIS is what John was teaching. Reread his 5 statements once again. Simple. Not always easy. It’s where we start.
I do encourage you to find a church you can learn from - you can say you believe in Santa or believe in God and still not experience or know them.
If you truly want to learn about Jesus - find a bible-based church and if you simply don’t know where to start or are afraid to go - you can even watch online.
My church is the one where I grow the most and the teaching is so easy to understand and apply. It’s called Northland - and I can give you links to watch church on demand or live and if you live in central Florida you can go in person.
If you had a best friend - would you not want to spend time with him or her?
When you’re in love with someone do you not want to know everything you can about the person?
Church and reading and praying are the ways to learn more about God who loves you unconditionally and fully.
This is the greatest gift. But you have to ACCEPT the gift of His love and His Son to experience the love that brings peace beyond our understanding and a life that will never end.
This Christmas when you have gifts under your tree - how would Christmas Day be if they sat there unopened. The purpose of a gift is to give something away that is supposed to be opened and enjoyed.
Back to Luke...
Here’s how John described Jesus (simple):
- like a farmer bringing home wheat from the field
- who uses a special tool to separate the wheat seeds from the chaff (or leftover parts of the plant)
- he stores the seeds to keep them safe
- but he burns the pieces that are left in a fire that nobody can put out
The Bible then says that John actually taught many more things about how God could change their lives. Luke keeps it simple. Start simple.
John was bold. He didn’t bite his tongue and spoke the truth even when it stung. He called out Herod in public for sinning by marrying his sister-in-law Herodias, and told Herod he had done many other bad things. So - Herod threw him in jail.
Before that though - Jesus arrived to be baptized. He prayed as He was being baptized and the heavens opened up. The Holy Spirit came down like a dove and landed on Him and then a voice was heard from above saying “this is my beloved and cherished Son, Chosen and marked by My love. I love You and am well pleased with You. You make Me so happy and bring Me so much joy.”
How beautiful from the Father to His Son for all to hear that day.
This is how I feel about my kids.
I love them. They bring me joy and happiness.
* Do I get angry when they are naughty? Yes.
* Do I want the best for them always? Yes.
God loved His one and only Son so much. He sent this Son to the earth because He loves us too.
His Son was unblemished and without sin. Because none of us can say the same - God chose to sacrifice this Perfect lamb for us. This was how He chose for us to be able to come back to Him from whence we came.
Jesus was 30 when He started His public ministry which only lasted 3 years before He was brutally beaten, tortured, and crucified. His life didn’t end with His death. In the coming chapters we will learn more of what happened and how He rose after 3 days and will be coming back for all of us again.
The end of chapter 3 goes through the entire family tree lineage of more than 75 generations from Joseph to Adam (the first human created by God and loved by Him in the creation timeline).
Tomorrow - chapter 4
Lord - thank You for Your word, for loving us, sending messengers who help clear the winding pathways for us to see Your Son. Help us to make the simple easy. May we not be afraid to speak about You, to continue to change from the inside out, so that You will be well pleased. Thank You for being with me and help me to be more faithful. Amen
MUSIC - the universal language
Here’s a song to welcome us to this day:
This is a song about the contrast of the lies we believe about ourselves and what that simple gift can do to change the way we see things. https://youtu.be/ZyfUdwGBjtk
This is an absolutely beautiful clip from The Chosen. The most successful crowd funded TV show in history. In this clip - you see Mary who was not unlike us. She was one way - and then met Jesus. #iwillknowhimfortherestofmylife
She accepted a simple gift and her life changed. Yours can too.
Check out this very short clip from one of the episodes. If you like it - the entire TV show is online FREE. It is hands down one of the best produced shows on TV right now.