Return to The Gospel Of Luke.
Important: This is not a translation or paraphrase, but a story based on Luke 3.
[Note: In the word pronunciations I have made the vowels with a Long Sound bold while the vowels with a short sound are in normal print. Academic Associate students know that the "u" has 3 long sounds. These sounds are separated from each other with a 1, 2 or 3. Sometimes a vowel does not have a sound in a syllable. In dictionaries this is usually shown with a "ə" but I have chosen simply not to show it since it has no sound. Also, when the "r" says it name instead of its normal sound, I have put it in bold. Academic Associate students, of course, know why and when it says its name instead of its sound.]
In the fifteenth year of the reign [ran] of Tiberius [Ti bir e us] Caesar, when Pontius [Pon chus] Pilate was governor of Judea [Ju2 de u] and Herod the Great's son Herod Antipas [An ti pas] was ruler in Galilee, God spoke to John, the son of Zechariah [Zek u ri u], in the desert. John then went into all the country around the Jordan River preaching that people should be baptized to show their sorrow for their sin and to receive forgiveness from God.
This is what Isaiah the prophet meant when he wrote these words hundreds of years before John was born:
"There is heard the voice of one calling in the desert,
'Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for Him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made level.
The crooked roads will become straight,
the rough paths will be made smooth.
And all mankind will see God's salvation.'"
John sternly warned the crowds that were coming out to be baptized by him saying, "You poisonous nest of snakes! Who warned you to run from God's coming anger? If you are really sorry for your wrongdoing you should prove it by your actions! Do not say in your hearts that 'We are God's covenant children because of His promise to Abraham.' You are only deceiving yourselves. I tell you that God could make covenant children of Abraham out of stones you are standing on if He wanted to. You are like an orchard. God is coming into it with His ax. Any tree that does not bear good fruit is about to be cut down and thrown into the fire. Beware!"
"What should we do?" asked the gathered crowd.
John answered firmly, "The person with two coats should give one to the person who has no coat. The person with extra food should help feed a hungry person."
Government agents also came to be baptized. They asked, "Teacher, what should we do?"
John replied, "Do not collect any more money than you have to. Do not use your job to oppress people and enrich yourselves."
There were some law enforcement officers who came to John and asked him, "What about us? What should we do?"
John answered them with his piercing honesty, "Be fair and honest. Do not extort money and accuse people falsely of crimes. Also, be content with your wages. Do not always be grumbling for more or stealing from the people."
John sounded like one of the prophets of old and all the people watched him carefully wondering if he might possibly be the coming Saviour.
John denied that he was the Saviour by replying, "I baptize you with water. But One more powerful than I am is coming. I am not worthy to even untie His shoelaces, He will baptize you will the Holy Spirit and fire. Just like the farmer separates the good wheat from the useless husks, placing the good wheat in barns and burning the husks, so He will separate the true believers from the fake believers."
John used many examples to encourage the people and share the good news that the Saviour had almost arrived.
Now the ruler Herod Antipas was an evil man. When he married his brother's wife, Herodias [Hi ro de us], John boldly told him this was wrong so Herod threw John into prison.
When all the people were being baptized, Jesus came to be baptized as well. While Jesus was praying at His baptism the sky seemed to part and the Holy Spirit, looking like a dove, came out and landed on Him. Then a voice came from the sky saying to Jesus, "You are My Son. I love You and I am very happy with You."
Jesus was now about thirty years old and He began His ministry. Most people thought He was the Son of Joseph, who had adopted Him, not remembering or knowing about His miracle birth. Joseph was able to trace his ancestors through King David all the way back to Adam who was personally created by God.
Return to The Gospel Of Luke.