Do you see what Luke does again at the beginning of this chapter? Just like in chapter 1 and 2 he grounds the story that he is about to tell in history. This time he gives two complete verses of historical figures to allow us to catch up to him as to when all of this took place. I also like how at vs. 23 he states that: “Jesus was about thirty years old…” As we begin this Gospel we can never lose sight of the fact that Jesus worked and lived and was our Savior in the midst of history. It didn’t take place in a make believe time, but rather in a time in history to which it is attested that these events actually happened. Faith is not in need of proof, but it sure doesn’t hurt to hear about the historicity of what we believe.
Like the previous two Gospels John the Baptist introduces Jesus’ ministry to the world. Luke doesn’t care about what John wears or what he eats. He does care about what he says. Notice from vs.10 and following how he addresses the crowds, the tax collectors, and the soldiers. He gives each of them a charge to live their lives generously by giving away what you have in excess, being fair, and not using violence and your power to get what you want…in that order. That sounds like a great rule of thumb for any of us. But apparently each of those groups of people needed that message at exactly that time. The moral axioms of give away your excess, be fair, and don’t use violence is something by which we can all live.
Jesus, as he is in all the other Gospels, is called the Son of God, the beloved. Upon his baptism he is introduced to the world by the voice from heaven who guides and directs him throughout his life. Luke then contains a genealogy at this point. It is important to note that the genealogies in Matthew and Luke are different. They split off after King David, in Luke it is found in vs.31. I have heard theories, and some may call this a bit of a harmonization but I like it, that Luke follows the line to Mary’s descendants and Matthew follows them to Joseph’s. In either case we find that in Luke we have a much more traditional genealogy where only the men are mentioned, as opposed to Matthew which contains the women, even some of ill repute, that make up Jesus’ ancestry. You also notice what Adam is called in the end of the genealogy here in Luke. Adam is called the “son of God”. Matthew doesn’t go that far down the line and begins his with Abraham, but we have to admit that it is a bit unusual, but very fitting, that Adam is called the son of God. He was, after all, created by God. Just as we are sons and daughters of God because we were, after all, created in the image of God.