The Baptism and the Genealogy of Jesus Christ
- Wednesday, May 23, 2007
21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."
23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
You can learn more from a book if you stop and ask it questions than if you just read it passively. That includes the Bible too. One of the great problems in Bible reading is that we move our eyes over the words and come to the end of a column and don't know what we've read; we don't feel our minds or spirits expanded because we saw nothing fresh. It was purely mechanical. There was no discovery, no life, no breakthroughs to new insight. One of the best ways to change that is to train yourself to ask questions of the text. Often the posing of the question itself will already carry its answer with it and will open your mind to new things. This fairly prosaic, historical text in Luke 3:21–38 gives me an opportunity to show you what I mean. I'll simply take you with me through this text, pointing out the questions I asked and the answers I came up with. My guess is that as you follow me, questions of your own will arise. Good questions usually beget other questions, and that's how insight grows and grows.
Why John's Imprisonment Before Jesus' Baptism?
1) Why does Luke record the imprisonment of John the Baptist (3:20) before he records Jesus' baptism by John? This is such an odd order of events that there must be some point.
The answer would seem to be that Luke wants to emphasize the break between John's ministry and Jesus' ministry. Verse 15 shows that some people thought John might be the Messiah. Others could think that Jesus was one of John's disciples. One way to keep clear in the reader's mind that a tremendous turning point in redemptive history came when Jesus started preaching was to mention John's imprisonment even before Jesus comes on the scene. Luke 16:16 says, "The law and the prophets were until John, since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached." There is a break between the period of the law and prophets and the period of Jesus' preaching of the kingdom. John belonged to the former period, so Luke did not want to stress the slight overlap in Jesus' and John's ministry (John 3:22f.). In Luke 7:26–28 Jesus says John was a prophet and more than a prophet; the preparer of his way. "I tell you among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." John was a great prophet, but now something new has come; the Messiah is here and calling people into his kingdom, and the least person in the Messiah's kingdom has a greater privilege than John. So in Luke's mind there was a great break between John's work and Jesus' work, and the odd order of his narrative stresses this break.
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