“…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” – John the Baptist (3:16)
Luke quickly moves forward about 18 years in his narrative to disclose what became of the two children discussed in his first two chapters. As 30 year olds they began their public ministries –John the “voice” baptizing with water (v. 4) and Jesus the beloved Son, baptizing with the Holy Spirit (v. 16, 22).
Interestingly, Luke used over 110 verses to provide background for the miraculous births of these two men, but only 23 verses to introduce their adult ministries. Within those two dozen verses John went from baptizing and preaching to the dungeon of Herod. Thankfully, the other gospels expand John’s ministry – consider reading Matthew 3 and John 1:19-51 for more information.
John’s message was repentance and he spoke plainly and specifically to those about what needed to change in their lives. He instructed tax collectors and soldiers, each despised professions at that time. He did not command them to leave their infamous jobs, but rather dealt with heart issues and actions that contributed to the bad reputations (v. 12-14).
The chapter concludes with a genealogy of Jesus (23-38). Scholars have debated the comparison of this list to that of Matthew’s (Matthew 1), with a common conclusion that Luke is emphasizing the lineage of Mary that tracks through King David and Judah.
It seems that John the Baptist’s public ministry was relatively short. Yet he used it to direct people toward Jesus.
A repentant heart is critical to grasping the fullness of who Jesus is.
The Father emphasized that He was pleased with His Son (v. 22). Consider the focus of being pleased with your children rather than proud of them.