The Time and The Place
Two years ago a couple of dear friends made it possible for Mary and me to vacation with them in Italy. On the Island of Capri we took a boat ride, lay flat on our backs in the boat, and entered the two-meter wide entrance to the Blue Grotto, a sea cave.
In 28/29 BC Tiberius Caesar used this gorgeous blue water as his private swimming hole and according to the Roman historian, Suetonius, also used it as a place for his lewd sexual behavior. (If you think the Sexual Revolution started in the 60s check out Roman history in the first century.)
Tiberius was in Capri because he had appointed a man named Sejanus as his proxy in Rome. Sejanus is probably the power behind Pontius Pilate’s installation as prefect of Judea in AD26. In 4BC when his father died, Herod Antipas, became the ruler of Galilee and Perea under Augustus’ power. He was still on this throne at the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry. Philip, his brother, ruled over Ituraea and Trachonitus in the northern part of Israel. And a little known Lysanius ruled a territory centered in Abilene even farther north close to Damascus.
Back in Jerusalem Caiaphas was the high priest, but the real power in the priesthood was his father-in-law, Annas. Before letting us listen to John the Baptist’s preaching, Luke sets us firmly in time and place. In his intro he promised he would write an account that we could depend on, so here he positions the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry in world history and in Jewish history.
“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate was governing Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, Philip, his brother, was tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitus, and Lysanius was tetrarch of Abilene. This was also during the time of the high priesthood of Annas and Caiphas. This was the time when the Word of God came upon John, the son of Zechariah, in the wilderness.” - Luke 3:1-2
In their time all of these rulers would have thought themselves more important than any prophet who dressed and acted like Elijah, but more than two thousand years later it’s the prophet, John, who gets a higher billing as the person who introduced the Leader who’s still capturing the hearts of millions today.
LORD, help me not to buy into the false pomp and circumstance of political leaders today who believe they are in control. Help me not to be surprised by the sexual and financial scandals. It’s all been in Your Story long ago. This week as we hear John’s message of repentance, I pray my heart will turn away from sin and turn even more toward the Savior he introduced.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!
You can also listen to weekly messages from Dave on OnePlace.com.