Introduction to Christianity with Luke
- The ministry of John the Baptist
- The Trinity
- Jesus’ ancestry
Luke 3:1-20: John prepares the way
Emperor Tiberius reigned around 14-37AD, so this happened around 29AD.
Galilee, Iturea, Trachonitis, and Abilene were all regions around the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.
John was in the desert in southern Israel, possibly around the north-west of the dead sea, where the Essenes preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Jordan River is particularly significant between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.
17. Winnowing is a process by which chaff or husks are separated from grain. It can also be used to remove pests from stored grain. Winnowing usually follows threshing in grain preparation, which is when the grain is beaten from the stalks they grow on.
Luke 3:21-23: Jesus’ baptism
Here, we see a picture of the Trinity. As Jesus is baptized, the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove and the Father speaks from Heaven of his delight in his son. These are three separate individuals.
Matthew 28:19 Wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
2 Chronicles 20:6 He said, “Lord God of our ancestors, aren’t you the God in heaven? …
But at creation we see the Spirit of God hovering over the waters:
Genesis 1:2 … The Spirit of God was hovering over the water.
Jesus visited Abraham, appearing as one of three men, who turned out to be angels.
Genesis 18:22 From there the men turned and went on toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing in front of the Lord.
Jesus referred to this event in
John 8:57 The Jews said to Jesus, “You’re not even fifty years old. How could you have seen Abraham?”
Speaking of David’s descendant, he’ll call God his Father, but will be God himself.
Psalm 89:26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 27Yes, I will make him the firstborn. He will be the Most High to the kings of the earth.
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
I found this best explained by King David’s friend Gad the Seer:
The Book of Gad the Seer 12:11 Your name is to be one, as our fathers and mothers are one. 12For that, hear O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one.
God is one - just as our mother and father are one.
Genesis 1:27 So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female.
Genesis 2:24 That is why a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and they will become one flesh.
And a family becomes complete when they have a child.
Me and my wife are so intimate, that it doesn’t matter who you ask something of us – you’ll get the same answer, which is representative of us. In a similar way, it doesn’t matter whether you pray to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. They’re so infinitely more intimate, that they’re typically indistinguishable.
God is described as all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present. It seems that the three individuals of the Trinity focus on one of these areas.
- The Holy Spirit is everywhere, but the Father and Son are observed in distinct locations.
- Through Jesus, at creation all things were created – like he’s the powerhouse of the Trinity, yet Jesus isn’t everywhere, and doesn’t know everything.
- The Father knows all things, but appears in Heaven, and delegates power to his Son.
So, to me, it seems that the Father is all-knowing, the Son is all-powerful, and the Holy Spirit is all-present. These three individuals contribute their strengths and characteristics to a complementary unity. Our marriage is a crude image of this where we bring our strengths to cover each other’s weaknesses.
It’s often said that to deny the Trinity is heresy but so is trying to explain it. God is just too infinitely complex for humans to comprehend and therefore explain. However, I pray that my crude attempt is helpful.
Luke 3:23-38: Jesus’ ancestry through Mary to Adam
Jesus was the 77th generation from Adam. We’re about 200 generations since Adam. Most people skip over these names because they can’t relate to them and are scared of the embarrassment of struggling to pronounce them. In our culture we don’t appreciate genealogies. However, I’ve heard stories of missionaries who translated these boring bits last, only to encounter their tribe’s utter astonishment that Jesus isn’t just a powerful god but is a person with ancestry just like us.
In Luke’s genealogy, the names become familiar with King David – the kid that killed the giant Goliath. Then there’s Boaz from the book of Ruth. Then Judah, Jacob (Israel), Isaac, Abraham from Genesis. Then skip a few to Noah – the flood guy, who is ten generations from Adam.
The genealogy in Matthew 1 is very different, tracing through the kings of Judah.
Luke traces Jesus’ bloodline through Mary with Joseph being adopted by her father, Eli. Matthew traces Jesus’ kingly heritage through his adoptive father, Joseph, “son” of Jacob.
My 7,000-year Bible timeline maps out these genealogies.
It looks like Matthew skips some names, but Luke has a consistent flow of generations with his attention to academic details. Some use Matthew’s license to question Genesis’ timeline with evolutionary thinking. However, those genealogies include the age of the father at the birth of the son, providing a very precise timeline as I’ve reproduced.
So thanks for joining me. I pray that God would richly bless you, and inspire you to seek his word, and to understand what it means for your life. I pray that you’ll be richly blessed, and we'll see you next time.