ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bible: What Does Luke 3-4 Teach Us About John the Baptizer and Jesus?

Updated on September 8, 2016

Luke, the Historian


John the Baptizer


The Baptizer's Message

view quiz statistics

Impeccable Historical Account

The historian furnishes the political scenery once again, this time identifying the ruler of the Roman Empire (Tiberius Caesar), the governor of Judea (Pontius Pilate), the mis-managers of other regions of Israel—(Herod [Galilee], his brother Philip [Iturea and Trachonitis], and Lysanias [Abilene]—and the corrupt Jewish high priesthood (Annas and Caiaphas) [vv. 1-2a; cf. 2:1-2].

[Ryrie provides valuable dates and geographical points of interest (New Testament Study Bible, 110).]

Meanwhile, the word of God comes to a lowly preacher in the wilderness: John the son of Zacharias (v. 2b).

Whereas Matthew merely repeats John’s message (“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”) [3:2], Luke and Mark share the distinction of stating that John preached “a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,” i.e., because of the forgiveness of sins (v. 3; cf. Mark 1:4).

As for the OT quotation, whereas Mark conflates Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3, and Matthew pens only Isaiah’s word, Luke, on the other hand, altogether omits the Malachi reference, but quotes more from Isaiah (40:3-5) [vv. 4-6].

Like Simeon, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (v. 6; cf. 2:30; Is. 52:10), but not until the Lord sets up His kingdom.

After brusquely addressing the “multitudes” (and not just the Pharisees and Sadducees, as Matthew notes [3:7]) regarding their need of repentance (vv. 7-8a), and dismissing their appeal to ancestry (v. 8b), John engages in a short Q&A.

He inquires how “the people” in general (vv. 10-11), the tax collectors (vv. 12-13), and the soldiers (v. 14) could “bear fruits worthy of repentance” (v. 8a) and avoid being “cut down and thrown into the fire” (v. 9b).

His responses to their anxious “What shall we do?” queries (vv. 10, 12, 14) reflect their need to correct certain moral deficiencies.

John stresses the following reformations:

(1) The “public” needed to show generosity and eschew greed (v. 11);

(2) The publicans must desist from exacting excess profits (v. 13); and

(3) The soldiers had to discontinue their intimidating “shake downs” for money (v. 14).

Public gossip and whisperings regarding the Baptizer’s identity cause him to announce that he himself awaited the Christ (vv. 15-16).

Luke’s description of Christ’s “baptismal” ministry and fiery judgment does not differ from the other gospels (vv. 16b-17; cf. Matt. 3:11-12; Mark 1:7-8); his reference to Herod’s imprisoning John, however, occurs much sooner in the narrative than it does in either Matthew or Mark (vv. 19-20; cf. Matt. 14:3; Mark 6:17).

The Baptism of Jesus


The account of Jesus’ baptism covers the “essentials” (namely, the heaven opened, the Holy Spirit descending like a dove, the Voice of the Father) [vv. 21-22].

Verses 23-38 apparently list the genealogy of the Lord through Mary (111).

Luke indicates two interesting facts in verse 23:

(1) Jesus began His ministry at thirty years of age; and

(2) Nazarenes supposed Him to be the son of Joseph.

A final observation about this passage finds that whereas Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy to Abraham, Luke takes it all the way back to Adam, the son (original creation) of God Himself (v. 38; cf. Matt. 1:2).

The Temptation of Christ


Luke 4

After His baptism (where the Holy Spirit “descended” upon Him [cf. 3:22]), Jesus, “filled” and directed by this Spirit, journeys into/in the Judean wilderness: a place northwest of the Dead Sea, near Jericho (v. 1; Ryrie, New Testament Study Bible, 112).

[The “encasement” in this chapter is an interesting feature.

Note that after being “filled by the Spirit,” Jesus is “led by the Spirit” to endure His forty days of Satanic temptations (v. 1-2).

Three intense tests exemplify the adversary’s attempts to derail the Lord on His way to the cross (vv. 3-4, 5-8, 9-12).

Then Christ returns to Galilee “in the power of the Holy Spirit,” having successfully overcome the devil’s solicitations to do evil (cf. v. 14).

Two questions:

(1) What kind of “relationship” did Jesus sustain with the Spirit before His baptism?

(2) Did Jesus need less power to lead a holy life as a carpenter?

It appears reasonable that He required the Spirit’s strength in a special way to sustain Him during the forty days of fasting and temptation.

No Scriptural evidence exists to show that Jesus had ever before practiced this type of extreme discipline or faced this intensity of testing.

Therefore, it is apparent the Lord drew upon the Spirit in an extraordinary way (and the Father granted Him this power) when He especially required it.

He would require supernatural strength to perform many miracles in His subsequent ministry.]

Except for a rearrangement of the temptations—Luke places the “temple pinnacle” test third, whereas Matthew puts it second—the two accounts use essentially the same rhetoric.

In addition, Matthew notes that angels ministered to Jesus after the trials ended (4:11); Luke writes nothing about angelic comfort, but does indicate a Satanic return engagement (v. 13).



Jesus’ powerful return to Galilee meets with both extensive publicity (v. 14) and popular support for His teaching ministry (v. 15).

This popularity, however, does not extend to His hometown, Nazareth.

Both Matthew and Mark relate the people’s unfavorable reaction to Jesus’ ministry in the synagogue (see Mt. 13:53-58; Mark 6:1-6).

Only Luke, however, records that He stood up to read from their Isaiah scroll a text interpreted as Messianic prophecy and now designated as chapter 61:1-2a (vv. 16-17).

In this Isianic passage, the Speaker (Messiah) acknowledges the necessity of the Spirit's “anointing” so that He could preach the gospel (v. 18a).

[Again, another reference to the Spirit appears.]

Not only did the Spirit “anoint” Him—that is, identify Him as the Prophet/Priest/King and endue Him with authority—but He has also sent Him to audiences—the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives—who all knew they were impotent to meet their own spiritual (and physical) needs (v. 18b).

As the Anointed One, He preaches when God was well-disposed to save souls (v. 19; cf. 49:8; 55:6); as the Master Interpreter, the Reader stops short of announcing His current participation in the day of vengeance, since that day had not yet come (v. 19; cf. Is. 61:2b).

Christ's "exegesis" clearly demonstrates that a parenthesis of time exists between the "acceptable year" and the "day of vengeance."

[If the Jews had received Him as their Messiah, then He would have read the rest of verse two.

Jesus would have immediately put down Gentile rule, set up His earthly kingdom, and reigned for one thousand years.]

When Jesus finishes reading and sits down, having successfully aroused the interest of all (v. 20), He clearly claims to fulfill this prophecy (v. 21).

The crowd’s initial reaction seems positive (“marveled at the gracious words”), but soon they "put two and two together," asking, "Is this not Joseph’s son?”—and begin to question His assertion (v. 22).

Historical Examples

view quiz statistics

Sensing the rising opposition, Jesus anticipates their response with which they would have challenged Him, quoting an enigmatic proverb—“Physician, heal yourself”—linked to a demand for proof of His claim (v. 23).

[To heal Himself, He would need to revive their acceptance of Him in His hometown—something that they were not about to allow.]

Jesus categorically asserts that hometown folks, especially relatives, do not honor familiar ones from their midst who claim to speak for God (v. 24).

[Mark adds, though, that people from other locales do accept prophets (6:4).]

Then He proceeds to support this statement with two historical examples—Elijah (vv. 25-26; cf. 1 Kings 17:8-24) and Elisha (v. 27; cf. 2 Kings 5:1-14)—whom God sent to Gentile foreigners, one to save from starvation during a famine (the Sidonian widow of Zarephath), and the other to heal of leprosy (the Syrian general Naaman). Israel’s unbelief (then as now) prevents the Lord from acting on their behalf.

Unwilling to accept this truth and repent of their faithlessness, synagogue thugs angrily manhandle Jesus and prepare to throw Him off a cliff (vv. 28-29).

Whether by miraculous means or by the majesty of His mere presence—either appears supernatural—Christ passes “through the midst of them” and continues His itinerary (v. 30).



From Nazareth Jesus travels northeast for twenty-five miles to Capernaum, where the people stand amazed at His authoritative teaching (vv. 31-32).

Not only does Christ instruct the Jews with strong words, but He also supports what He says with powerful actions, casting out “an unclean demon” from a man in the synagogue.

Before his expulsion, this fallen angel had been broadcasting Christ’s identity as the “Holy One of God”—a testimony not meeting with Jesus’ approval (vv. 33-35).

Again, the synagogue comments on the exousia and dunamei of the Lord’s word, and news about Him spreads regionally (vv. 36-37).

Dr. Luke’s account of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law (vv. 38-39) differs little from the other Synoptics, though it offers a more precise diagnosis of her malady (“afflicted with a high fever”), and notes that Jesus stood over her.

He makes no mention of touching her hand (cf. Mt. 8:15; Mk. 1:31).

Regarding other ministrations, the physician does not emphasize demon-possession (as do the others), but does record Jesus’ compassionate “pallet-side manner” (“laid His hands on”) [v. 40].

He also makes much of the demons’ theological testimony, a witness that the Lord again rebukes (v. 41; cf. 4:35).

[Matthew omits the demons’ confession, but adds that the healings fulfilled prophecy (8:17); Mark notes Jesus’ rebuke of the demons for their words of recognition, but does not specify who they knew Him to be.]

This chapter’s final scene finds Jesus addressing a crowd that fears His leaving them (v. 42).

Whereas Mark records that He invited Peter and his companions to join Him as He fulfills His kingdom preaching in other cities (1:38), Luke indicates that Jesus spoke to the crowd directly, informing them that He had to leave in order to fulfill His apostleship elsewhere (v. 43).

[Of course, Jesus instructed both groups about His intentions; Mark emphasized His word to Peter, and Luke did so to the crowd.

Interestingly, Matthew merely mentions that Jesus commanded that they “depart to the other side” (8:18).

See this latter gospel for other variations.]

© 2013 glynch1


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)