November 16th, 2006
How are you likely to react if you spot a strange hairy man wearing clothes made out of camel’s hair, and who is reported to subsist on a diet of locusts and honey, starts making announcements on behalf of God? Are you likely to think he is a credible person? Are you going to let him dunk you in the river as a symbol to show that you are sorry for the wrong things you have done? Probably not. But what if everyone else was taking him seriously and really getting into it? That might make you change your mind. What if the words he was saying somehow seemed to make sense, in spite of his apparent eccentricity?
Luke’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 3
3:1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip was tetrarch of the districts of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, 3:2 and Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests, when the word of God came to John, the son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. 3:3 He travelled throughout the region around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. 3:4 As Isaiah the prophet predicted, “The voice of someone calling out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight roads for him. 3:5 Every valley will be filled in. Every mountain and hill will be levelled off. The crooked will be straightened, and the rough roads made smooth. 3:6 All people will see God’s salvation.'”
3:7 He said to the crowds who went to be baptized by him, “You spawn of snakes, who warned you to run away from the coming anger? 3:8 Produce fruit which is worthy of repentance, and don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our forefather,’ because I tell you that God can raise up children of Abraham from these stones! 3:9 The axe is already aimed at the root of the trees. Every tree that fails to produce good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.”
3:10 The crowd asked him, “What then must we do?” 3:11 He answered, “Someone who has two coats should give to someone who has none. Someone who has food should do the same thing.” 3:12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked, “Teacher, what must we do?” 3:13 He said, “Collect no more than the amount which you are commanded to collect.” 3:14 Soldiers also asked him, “What about us? What must we do?” He said to them, “Do not intimidate or wrongly accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”
3:15 The people were waiting expectantly for the messiah, and everyone was wondering whether John might be the one. 3:16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but someone mightier than I is coming. I am not even worthy to untie his sandal strap. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire, 3:17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
3:18 He preached the good news to the people using many other bold statements, 3:19 but Herod the tetrarch, who had been publicly criticised by him for his affair with his brother’s wife Herodias, and for the other evil things which Herod had done, 3:20 compounded his errors by shutting John up in prison.
3:21 When all the people were baptized, Jesus was baptized also, and he was praying when the heavens opened 3:22 and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form like a dove on him. A voice called out from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son. I am very pleased with you.”
3:23 Jesus was about thirty years old at the beginning of this account. He was the son (so it was thought) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 3:24 son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Melchi, son of Jannai, son of Joseph, 3:25 son of Mattathias, son of Amos, son of Nahum, son of Esli, son of Naggai, 3:26 son of Maath, son of Mattathias, son of Semein, son of Josech, son of Joda, 3:27 son of Joanan, son of Rhesa, son of Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, son of Neri, 3:28 the son of Melchi, son of Addi, son of Cosam, son of Elmodam, son of Er, 3:29 son of Joshua, son of Eliezer, son of Jorim, son of Matthat, son of Levi, 3:30 son of Simeon, son of Judah, son of Joseph, son of Jonan, son of Eliakim, 3:31 son of Melea, son of Menna, son of Mattatha, son of Nathan, son of David, 3:32 son of Jesse, son of Obed, son of Boaz, son of Salmon, son of Nahshon, 3:33 son of Amminadab, son of Aram, son of Hezron, son of Perez, son of Judah, 3:34 son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, son of Terah, son of Nahor, 3:35 son of Serug, son of Reu, son of Peleg, son of Eber, son of Shelah, 3:36 son of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamech, 3:37 son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalaleel, son of Kenan, 3:38 son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.
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