TruthTexts Luke Study: Chapter 3 Luke Study – Chapter 3

Written and Posted by Timothy Smith

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More Actions that Apply to Any Chapter:

• Choose a verse, phrase, or section from today’s study that spoke to you, and explain what it means, as if you were talking to a friend.

• Now think of any other verses in any other part of the Bible that reinforce what you learned (or teach a similar lesson). You could use an online Bible and do a word or topic search, if your Bible does not have study notes.

• Now apply what you’ve learned today to your own life. What will you do (start doing, keep doing, stop doing, or change) from reading and thinking about our study today?

• Pray, in your own words, asking God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to help you remember what you’ve learned, and ask for the power to live more like Jesus.

Luke Chapter Three:

The Ministry of the Last Prophet

Thinking About Chapter Three:

All of the Gospels cover the ministry of John the Baptist, and all quote the prophecy in Isaiah 40. Only Luke notes the historical details of the beginnings of John’s ministry in 3:1-2, again anchoring his narrative in the political and religious world as he did with the birth of Jesus. In Luke 1:80, we learn where John had been for all those years: out in the desert. But John did not go to the desert as a young child. As the son of a priest, John had access to the Old Testament. John likely went into the desert after his acceptance into manhood, once his training was complete. Notice the second half of chapter 3 verse 2: “At that time God spoke to Zechariah’s son John, who was living in the desert.” John’s ministry immediately begins; “The Messiah is coming!”

• What did John the Baptist know about himself as he began his  ministry? How can we tell that John fully accepted his call?

The Fiery Ministry of the Final Old Testament Prophet

As Jesus mentioned in Luke 16:16, “The Law and the Prophets were until John.” Luke includes more of John the Baptist’s preaching than any other Gospel, and includes dialog between John and the curious onlookers who flocked to see him. In all the accounts, John seems to have been regarded as a sensation, if not a celebrity. But read his interactions with the crowds in 3:7-14 for a sample of how he reacted to his celebrity. The first part of verse 8 says, “Live in a way that shows you have turned away from your sins.” (NIRV)

• What does John say about bearing fruit in verses 8-9? What  does that mean for us as believers today? (see Heb. 6:7-12)

• Choose one of John’s statements in verses 10-14. Does it  apply to us today?

The Purpose of John’s Baptism

The way his listeners could make a public declaration that they had turned from their sins was to let John baptize them in the Jordan River. This baptism indicated a turning from sin to a life of obedience to God. Undoubtedly many people were moved by the experience, and began to ask whether John was the promised Messiah. John replied to this in Luke 3 verses 16-17a: John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire...”

• Our churches baptize people with water (in some form or  another). But how does Jesus himself baptize his followers?  What does that mean for you, both personally and in ministry?

Jesus is Baptized

In verses 21-22, Luke describes that even Jesus came to John to be baptized. We will look also at Matthew and John’s eyewitness Gospel accounts. John the disciple had once been a follower of John the Baptist, and he adds some important details. And Matthew records a conversation between John the Baptist and Jesus.

• See John 1:29-37. Why did the former disciples of John the  Baptist immediately begin to follow Jesus? How should we  respond when we are called?

• See Matthew 3:13-17. Why did Jesus consent to be baptized?  How do you suppose John felt at that moment?

• In Luke 3:21-22 we see Jesus being baptized in the Jordan  River. What is the Holy Spirit doing? What is the Father doing?  What does this tell us about the nature of God?

Dive Deeper: The Complicated Genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:23-38)

Matthew records Joseph’s genealogy (legally a son of David) from Abraham to Joseph. Joseph was related to David through Jeconiah, but no king would arise from that line per Jer. 22:24-30. Luke records the line of prophetic promise through Mary back to Adam in traditional Jewish fashion: Jesus was the “son of Joseph, it was assumed” – meaning Mary. And Mary was descended from David through Nathan. David had other sons, so how do we know which line produces the Messiah? Look back at Luke 1:32: God declared him to be the Messiah from David’s line. See Ps. 2:6-9. But can the Messiah come only from a woman’s line? See Gen. 3:14-15 and Matt.1:23.

• Why can Jesus be called the King of the Jews?

• “Every word of God proves true.” Prov. 30:5 (RSV). How  does Jesus’ genealogy through Mary prove that principle?

• Luke’s genealogy goes back to Adam. Why? (1 Cor. 15:22)