The truth of Jesus is life-changing. It is to rock our world, shake our foundations, and cause us to stop in our tracks and evaluate everything about life.
The truth about Jesus is the most important truth. It is said that Jesus brings peace and prosperity to the nations. He offers people comfort, security, and satisfaction. His followers claim there is unspeakable joy in His presence. To all who are sick, hungry, thirsty, and dying, Jesus offers healing, food, living water, and eternal life.
There is no question that the claims of Jesus are astounding. If all that is said about Him is true, every person in the world ought to beg to know more about how they may have access to all that He offers.
Luke sets out to write an account so that his readers will know the exact truth about Jesus. His intention is to offer evidence that we need to change our life and align ourselves with the fact that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Those who repent and change their life will put their faith in Him are forgiven and given life everlasting — those who don’t are cast into eternal condemnation.
We are in the third chapter of Luke. Jesus is just about to embark on His three-year ministry, which leads to His crucifixion and His resurrection from the dead. Before telling us about the ministry of Jesus, Luke puts together a list of events, places, and people of the beginning of Jesus’ life.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the evidence we have seen so far. Do we believe Luke’s account, and put our faith in Jesus, or do we ignore his gospel, and find another way to obtain life everlasting?
If you have put your faith in Jesus, today’s message will give you great assurance.
If you have not put your faith in Jesus, you need to decide if Luke is telling the truth. If he is, you need to act on your decision. Repent and believe!
In the introduction, Luke presents seven witnesses who give testimony about Jesus. Keep in mind that most of the testimony is of Jesus as an infant. His ministry has not yet begun. He’s done no teaching or miracles. We are to ponder what these people say about Him and see how these statements become manifest.
Luke begins with testimony from a highly unusual source. He is an alien from another kingdom. He is from the heavenly kingdom. He is of the spiritual realm; an angel who answers to the name Gabriel. Gabriel’s credentials are that he stands in the presence of God (Luke 1:19).
Gabriel visits a priest and tells him that he will have a son in his old age. The son will be a forerunner who goes before Jesus (Luke 1:17). The prophet Micah writes 400 years earlier that will have a forerunner to prepare the way for His coming. Zacharias’s son, John, is that forerunner. Gabriel’s testimony is Jesus’s prophecy is coming true.
The same Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary to announce to her that she will have a child. Mary is to name her child Jesus (Luke 1:31). The angel who stands in the presence of God tells Mary that the name Jesus comes from God.
Gabriel tells Mary that Jesus will be great (Luke 1:32). It’s no wonder He will be great and that God wants her to name her child. It is because Jesus is the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:32, 35). Jesus is not the son of Mary’s husband, Joseph, but He is the Son of God. The Holy Spirit overshadows Mary and she conceives and brings forth Jesus.
This is an astounding claim! He is the Son of the Creator.
The angel Gabriel tells Mary that her son, Jesus, receives from the Lord God the throne of His ancestral father David (Luke 1:32). The throne of David, empty at the time, will be occupied by Jesus, and He will reign forever. Nobody will ever overthrow His eternal Kingship (Luke 1:33). (Imagine no elections, ever!)
Mary visits her relative, Elizabeth, at the beginning stages of Mary’s pregnancy. Elizabeth is a very godly woman.
Mary is less than a month pregnant and Elizabeth testifies that Mary’s child is her Lord (Luke 1:43). He’s not even born! When is the last time you heard someone call a child in the womb, Lord?
Elizabeth is also pregnant. Elizabeth’s baby in her womb, John the Baptist, leaps for joy at the presence of Jesus (Luke 1:44). Jesus is cause for joy.
The third witness who testifies of Jesus is a man named Zacharias. He is the father of the forerunner, which Gabriel speaks about. Luke tells us that Zacharias is an older man. He, like his wife Elizabeth, is righteous in the sight of God. He walks blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord (Luke 1:6). If Zacharias were alive today, we would consider him a reliable, trustworthy, and credible witness because he is a godly man.
Zacharias testifies that Jesus accomplishes redemption for God’s people (Luke 1:68). Jesus is a great redeemer who purchases people from slavery.
Zacharias confirms the testimony of Gabriel and says that Jesus is a descendant of the house of David (Luke 1:69). God promises King David that He will send the Messiah through David’s bloodline.
King Jesus is sent to show mercy (Luke 1:72). It is wonderful to learn that Jesus will be a merciful King. Jesus is a fulfillment of God’s covenant promise that He made to Abraham (Luke 1:72).
King Jesus, as Savior, rescues us from the hand of our enemies (Luke 1:74). For those reading Luke’s account for the first time are likely thinking Luke is talking about the Romans or some other enemy. We know today that Luke is talking about all our enemies. Satan, sin, sickness, and death are a few that come to mind. Our enemies are those who try to steal, kill, and destroy. Because we are saved from our enemies, we can serve God without fear (Luke 1:74) of being taken out of His kingdom. Nothing can separate us from our God.
Jesus grants that we are forever holy and righteous before God (Luke 1:75). We know Jesus forgives us for our sin, cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and makes us pure and holy. Jesus makes it so we are joyful standing in the presence of God; without guilt and shame.
This world is full of spiritual darkness, treachery, destruction, and fear. Zacharias gives the good news that Jesus shines a light on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death (Luke 1:79). Even in the darkest times of death, we see the hopeful light of eternity. The light of Jesus guides our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:79). We are led from the storms, violence, and conflict and enter His peaceful, secure, tranquil kingdom.
Another angel appears followed by a multitude of angels. We learn of the testimony of the angel from a group of shepherds who were watching their sheep in the hillsides of Bethlehem. They are common men. We don’t know their names.
The angel appears, and he is surrounded by the glory of God. He angel tells the shepherds that Jesus is born, and the news of His birth is the good news of great joy for all people (Luke 2:10). The shepherds find Jesus just as the angel describes, wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
We learn from their testimony that Jesus is not for a select group of people, but for all people. He is the Christ, born Savior to all nations (Luke 2:10-11).
The next event and witness take place in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Joseph and Mary are walking through the Temple Courtyard, and they encounter a man named Simeon. He is righteous and devout and the Holy Spirit is upon him (Luke 2:25). Like Zacharias and Elizabeth, Simeon is a credible and trustworthy witness.
The amazing testimony of Simeon is that, after seeing Jesus, he believes he may go to his grave as a satisfied man (I see this baby and my life is complete). God’s Holy Spirit tells Simeon that Jesus is the consolation of Israel. That means Jesus is the One who will bring perfect comfort. He is the One who consoles.
Simeon tells Joseph and Mary that their Son is a light of revelation to the Gentiles (Luke 2:32), and the glory of the people of Israel (Luke 2:32). These are good things.
There will be those who oppose Jesus. Because of Him, some will fall, while others will rise (Luke 2:34). We learn more about what this means with the testimony of John the Baptist.
Our next witness is a prophetess; Anna of the tribe of Asher. She is an elderly widow who never leaves the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers (Luke 2:36-37). Again, we have another godly, credible witness. Jerusalem is a city of many travails. Anna prophecies that Jesus is the answer to all those who are looking for the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:38). Jerusalem will rise to be a great, honorable city. God’s people will be redeemed, and God’s holy city Jerusalem will be redeemed.
Around 30 years elapse between Anna’s words, and the next witness, John, the son of Zacharias. He is a man who is great in the sight of the Lord; a man of temperance who drinks no wine or liquor. He is filled with the Holy Spirit while in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). John lives in the wilderness, and is our most credible witness.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit, John says that Jesus is much mightier than he (Luke 3:16). People believe John to be great, but John doesn’t see himself as being worthy to untie the sandals of Jesus.
The reason John sees Jesus a greater is because Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:17-18). John teaches the people that Jesus is the eternal Judge of all people. Every person will stand before Jesus’s judgment throne. Jesus is the decider of who goes to heaven or who is cast into the unquenchable fire of hell.
John the Baptist’s testimony is very sobering. He claims that Jesus holds the keys to the eternal destiny of every human.
Do you hear these claims about Jesus? Is the Bible true? Do you see Jesus as deciding your eternal destiny? These testimonies are nothing short of incredible and worthy of our investigation.
Why would Jesus be baptized?
The baptism of Jesus is a very significant event and it is recorded in all four gospel accounts. (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; John 1:29-34)
The Bible doesn’t give the reason why Jesus gets baptized. We do know that Jesus is without sin. Therefore, Jesus' baptism is not a baptism of repentance.
We can speculate as to why Jesus is baptized. Two reasons seem logical.
The first reason is that Jesus is setting Himself aside for service. He is beginning His ministry. Luke says He is thirty years old. The Law of Moses says that priests are to begin their service at the age of thirty (Numbers 4:23). When priests begin their service in the temple, they perform a ceremonial washing of their body and clothing. They are making themselves clean. It is symbolic of being made holy. Perhaps this is a reason for Jesus’ baptism.
Another reason to be baptized is that Jesus associates Himself with His forerunner, John. Jesus validates the preaching and ministry of John by affirming it is right and good. He is validating John’s message of repentance and forgiveness. Because John is the forerunner, His baptism serves as a symbolic coronation of Jesus’ ministry.
When Jesus is getting baptized, the gospel accounts tell us that there is a crowd of people. Mark says John is attracting large crowds of people, all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem (Mark 1:5). Luke says when the people are baptized, Jesus is also baptized.
Luke gives us the detail that Jesus prays, and as He is praying, heaven is opened. We don’t know what that means; heaven is opened. We can only imagine.
When the heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends. People somehow know it is God’s Holy Spirit. It looks like a dove. It’s not a dove, but it has a bodily form; the Spirit appears in substance. But, for those who are watching, the appearance of a dove is the best way they can describe what they see. The Holy Spirit descends from the opening in heaven and comes upon Jesus.
What people see is remarkable. Imagine standing by the river, and seeing heaven open, the Holy Spirit descends in the bodily form of a dove and remains on Jesus. Jesus is anointed by heaven. Heaven opens and pours out the Holy Spirit upon Jesus. What people see never happened before, nor has it been seen since. (Luke 3:21)
As the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus in bodily form, a voice is heard from heaven:
“You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” (Luke 3:22)
The voice is none other than God the Father. The testimony of God is that Jesus is fully approved by Him. The testimony of Heaven reveals that Jesus is in a special relationship with God. The testimony of Gabriel is confirmed by the voice of God, the Father in Heaven. Jesus is God’s Son.
Over 700 years earlier, the prophet Isaiah wrote this about the Messiah:
Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)
The testimony of heaven, heard by crowds of people, confirmed by prophecy, is that Jesus is the Son of God in human flesh.
Those who are present at the baptism of Jesus witness the presence of all three persons of the Trinity, never seen in the history of the world.
We have one last testimony to review, and that is the testimony of the genealogy of Jesus provided to us by Luke. Luke writes his gospel after Matthew. He chooses to give us a genealogy which is a little different. Luke goes the opposite of Matthew and traces up Jesus’ lineage. He also goes further than Matthew. Matthew’s genealogy ends with Abraham. Luke ends with Adam.
The purpose of Luke’s genealogy is to show both the legal right of Jesus to be the Messiah as well as to connect Jesus to the covenants, which are important to all of us.
Luke’s genealogy connects Jesus to the promises of God, which are made in history. Luke’s list shows the connection to David, Abraham, and Adam.
Because Jesus is a descendant of David, He is a legal heir to David’s throne. God fulfills His promise to David with Jesus.
Jesus is a son of Abraham. God promises Abraham that one of his descendants will be a blessing to all the nations of the earth. God fulfills His promise to Abraham with Jesus.
Like all of us, Jesus is a descendant of Adam. The promise made in the Garden of Eden is that Jesus will crush the serpent’s head, and the serpent will bruise His heel. God fulfills His promise to all people with Jesus.
The Apostle Paul says it like this:
For as many as are the promises of God, in Him (Jesus), they are yes … (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Luke’s portrait of Jesus cannot be ignored. Every promise of God in the Bible only comes through Jesus. God promises peace, satisfaction, joy, fulfillment, comfort, and life everlasting. Jesus is the answer to everything we ever want or need.
If you have put your faith in Jesus, today’s message will give you great assurance. You are not wasting your life following Jesus!