Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 3:11-38

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Luke 3:11-14

Genuine repentance is seen in changed behavior (see note on 3:3, 8). John gave specific instructions on what the fruit of repentance looked like.

Luke 3:11

True faith is evidenced by a concern for the poor (see Jam. 1:27). This was clear in the Old Testament (Job 31:16-20; Isa. 58:7; Ezek. 18:7) as a theme in Luke's Gospel (6:30; 12:33; 14:12-14; 16:9; 18:22). tunic. Garment worn against the skin under a cloak. One might wear two for extra warmth weather.

Luke 3:12

Tax collectors. Jews who worked for Rome to collect taxes. They were allowed to collect extra money for their own wages, but many collected far more than reasonable. This made them wealthy at the expense of others. Many despised them as thieves and betrayers of their own people, complicit with Roman oppression. They were considered outcasts to Jewish society (5:27-32; 7:34; 15:1; 18:9-14; 19:1-10).

Luke 3:14

soldiers. Probably local police who worked for Herod Antipas rather than Roman soldiers (see note on 3:1). John called them to balance their authority with compassion and not abuse their position.

Luke 3:16

Though some suspected John was the Christ (v. 15), he pointed away from himself to Jesus as the Christ. Specifically, he emphasized the greater ministry Jesus would have (see note on 1:31-33). powerful. An idea rooted in the Old Testament expectations for the Christ. God himself is a powerful redeemer (Deut. 10:17; Jer. 50:34), and he promises to give strength to Jesse's descendent (2 Sam. 22:33; Isa. 11:2). Jesus would be powerful because he was anointed by God's Spirit (vv. 21-22; Acts 10:38). sandals. The disciples of Jewish rabbis would often become like servants to the rabbis. However, those disciples were not expected to untie the rabbi's sandals. That was considered too demeaning even for a Hebrew slave. Such was the glory of Christ, that John considered himself unworthy the lowliest of tasks for him (see Acts 13:25). baptize . . . Holy Spirit and with fire. Not two, but one baptism. The Spirit and fire together are a reference to Isa. 4:4-5 where Israel was purified. Some were judged and others were made holy to be with God. This promised baptism accomplishes something similar. It would divide people into those who receive the Christ and those who reject him (see 12:49-53; 17:29-30). It brings judgment on some and purification for the others (see v. 17; Isa. 66:24; Joel 2:30; Mal. 4:1).

Luke 3:17

winnowing fork. Farm tool used to separate wheat and chaff. The wheat would be collected and stored in the barn while the chaff was gathered up and burned. This imagery of the separation of wheat and chaff pointed to Christ's division of humanity (see note on 2:34-35).

Luke 3:18-20

Luke closed out this scene by summarizing the rest of John's ministry. As he moved from John to Jesus, he explained John's faithfulness to the end. John was bold in his preaching, even before the most powerful political rulers. Specifically, John condemned the marriage of Herod to his half-brother's wife, Herodias. They began a relationship while married to others and divorced in order to marry each other. John condemned the actions, which resulted in his imprisonment and eventual death (see 9:7-9; Matt. 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29).

Confirmation of the Son of God in Baptism - Luke 3:21-38

Through Jesus's baptism (3:21-22), genealogy (3:23-38), and wilderness testing (4:1-13), Jesus is shown to be God's true Son (see 1:31-35). This qualifies him to be the Christ and gives hope for his success in accomplishing salvation for God's people.

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