Read the Bible in 2023 ◊ Week 20: Saturday
In Saturday’s Bible reading of Luke 3–4, Luke introduces John the Baptist and Jesus as adults, each at the beginnings of their ministries.
In chapter 3, you can see Luke’s careful hand as he begins with the ministry of John as the herald of the Messiah. He starts by tying it very specifically into dates by giving the names of the political authorities and the spiritual authorities. Howard Marshall writes:
“Like the first Christian preachers, Luke saw the real beginning of the gospel in the appearance of John the Baptist (cf. Acts 10:37). He places this important event in its historical context by giving its date and a brief description of the political situation in Palestine. The ministry of John marked the end of the old era (cf. Lk. 16:16) as well as the beginning of the new. He was not only the fulfiller of prophecy but also the lats of the prophets, and is described as a prophet (cf. vv. 1f. with Je. 1:1f.). His coming was in fulfillment of Is. 40:3–5…and his task was to proclaim a baptism which pledged forgiveness of sins.”1
Luke describes John’s work and preaching, and moves into John’s baptism of Jesus. With Jesus now on the scene, Luke goes back to meticulously trace the genealogy of Jesus, establishing Him in the line of David. Marshall explains:
‘The purpose of the genealogy is to establish that Jesus was legally a descendant of David (cf. 1:27, 32, 69) and to assign Him a place in the Jewish branch of the human race.”2
In chapter 4, Luke records the temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness, and then Jesus’ reading of Isaiah 61 in the synagogue, announcing that today this Scripture is fulfilled in their hearing.
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,
TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”
In Luke 1–2, I mentioned that Luke used a repetitive phrase at the end of each section. In Luke 3–4, look for the word Spirit or Holy Spirit and note when they are used. These chapters close with Jesus beginning His ministry of preaching.
Silvesterzug Laterne: Bk muc. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Jesus Unrolls the Book in the Synagogue: James Tissot. Public Domain.
1,2I. Howard Marshall, “Luke,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, third ed., D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds. (Inter-Varsity Press, London: 1970) 894, 895.
I’m using Michael Coley’s Bible reading plan (one page PDF to print) to read through the Bible in 2023. Each day my posts are on different books because he divides Bible readings into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. There’s more information on his plan and other ones at Read the Bible in 2023.
Copyright ©2011–2023 Iwana Carpenter