In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
7 He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
18 So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. 19 But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, 20 added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.
21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,
24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, 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 Melki, 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 Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, 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 Mahalalel, the son of Kenan,
38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
Abilene, Abilene - prettiest town I've ever seen. Abilene, Texas was named for John the Baptist. John spoke of the earnest desire to set a path straight for God. And the town looked at the pancake straight, flat geography and decided this was pleasing to God. This is a simple, straight to the point, good pneumatic device for memory.
Why remember straight is the path to the Lord God Almighty?
Good reason. All people in all nations, in all cultures from all times will see the Gates of Heaven and meet Jesus the Lord. All knees will bow to Jesus the Lord.
All of God's creation has something in Common - we are all headed in the same direction. David called this, in great calm, saying, "I am going the way of all the earth." This passage agrees Creation waits together - as the people were in expectation
All flesh shall see the salvation of God
This does not suggest that all people will remain in salvation.
Luke did not want to isolate the People of God - the Jews - Luke is bringing people to peace by including the genealogy of Jesus.
People will line up to tell you, sometimes without a lot of thought, that they only follow the Gospel. Or they only follow the New Testament. And the largest part of this dialog will tell you the Old Testament must be a different God.
Now if we, and we do, believe Ephesians 4 is correct and the actual size of the Lord God Almighty's Holy Spirit is actually the size of the Universe - then in actuality and probability - after God wrote so many Letters and Books of the Bible why should HE explain again? God, is after all - God.
I've never confused myself as being God, so let's, for good measure, - let's throw this into the conversation again. The Canaanites and the Assyrians and some in the Babylonian Empire worshiped Baal. Recall with me, Elijah mocked Baal saying Baal was rather pointless because Baal falls way down on the realm of gods, powers and principalities and probably was using the bathroom or napping instead of answering prayers. Is Baal real? Probably as an entity. Baal will bail you out of financial distress - for a cost. Baal asks infant infanticide - the sprinkling of blood on the fields and amazingly, the fact is, blood is a good fertilizer.
The God, our Father God Almighty, said do not be part of these people. Do not allow yourselves to go into a town take their cattle, goats, sheep and get comfortable. God had no desire for His people to look like pirates. God of our Bible has always ABHORRED Human life as a sacrifice to God the Creator. The Tribes of Israel ran into the same difficulty as Solomon - they started marrying into - Jacob marrying Leah - and these little entities hung on. In the Christian world, we say, all this is a jumble and we call this a fallen world that truly needs Jesus and the Father to hold us and say He will absolve of us of the weariness of sorting this out. God is going to cover us with the name of Jesus and say - My Child - This is Forgiven. Taking the summation of all of this and all of that and the human motivations working, working, working and say JESUS IS LORD.
God of the Universe - pretty complicated. And then you get to His Bottom Line
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Father. When my God, and your God, is saying - Mercy Triumphs over sacrifice and this - is what He truly desires. We have indeed found a Father we can always lean upon. John, Jesus' best friend - said - God is Love. God would hold us and say, "Do not be weary of doing Good." God has held this all up for millenniums - with - His Word.
When you think of Jesus telling us in John 17, this is His Joy, we have to also remember that this amazing, incredible, don't - go - oh - no, Jesus took upon His Shoulders for us - we have to remember in profound gratitude -
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
And we see what Our Father God would do for me, and for you, with Great Love.
Father God, We want to be your pasture - where You are pleased to dwell.
How shall we answer the tired and unjoyful same old questions? We endeavor not to be conformed to this world of repetitions, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
We want to live and prove the will of God is for bringing Your Love forth. That which is good and acceptable and perfect. In our part, we must remember How High You are and How Steadfast Your Love has been for Millenniums. For through the grace given to me, I say I will not to think more highly of myself. I will rely upon Your sound judgment as God who knows all hearts. We ask You, Father God to allot me more measure of faith.
Each day, I will rejoice feeling Your mercies renew each day. Knowing You said we walk by faith. And we will increase our Hope, Faith and Love. Knowing the Greatest is Love and You are Love. Open the eyes of all to see You, Lord Jesus and we lift up those we Love to You. In expectation of You. Jesus the Lord. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †