Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider the inauguration of the Man-Savior (3:1-22). First He was introduced by John the Baptist (vv. 1-20), and then He was baptized (v. 21) and anointed (v. 22).
As we shall see, the inauguration of the Man-Savior mainly involves His being baptized by John the Baptist and His being anointed by the Father. Actually, this inauguration is an introduction, but it is more than merely an introduction. To introduce a person does not mean to officially put him into office. But to inaugurate a person means not only to introduce him, but also to usher him officially into his office.
In the foregoing chapters, the Man-Savior was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Through His conception, birth, and youth He was prepared as a complete Person to be our Savior in His humanity with His divinity. Now in chapter three it is necessary for Him to be introduced and ushered into His ministry. Therefore, in 3:1-22 we have a record of the inauguration of the Man-Savior. Regarding this inauguration, both John the Baptist and God the Father played a part. John did something on man’s side, and the Father did something on God’s side.
In 3:3-14 we see that John the Baptist came preaching the baptism of repentance. Verse 3 says that “he came into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins.” Repentance is a matter of changing the mind, of turning the mind to the Man-Savior. Baptism is a matter of burying the repenting people, terminating them so that the Man-Savior may germinate them by regeneration (John 3:3, 5-6).
According to 3:3, the baptism of repentance was for the forgiveness of sins. The Greek word translated “for” also means unto. Repentance with baptism is for, and results in, forgiveness of sins, so that the obstacle of man’s fall may be removed and man may be reconciled to God.
Luke 3:4 through 6 say, “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, A voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight. Every ravine shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked places shall become straight, and the rough places smooth roads; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” In 3:4 to prepare the way of the Lord and to make His paths straight means to change people’s minds, turning their minds toward the Man-Savior. It also means to make their hearts right, to straighten every part of their hearts through repentance, so that the Man-Savior may enter into them to be their life and take possession of them.
In 3:5 ravine, mountain, crooked places, and rough places are figures of speech describing the condition of men’s hearts toward God and toward each other and the relationships among men (1:16-17). Both the condition of men’s hearts and their relationships need to be dealt with for the way to be prepared for the Savior’s coming.
Verse 6 says that all flesh will see the salvation of God. Here “flesh” refers to fallen men, and “salvation” denotes the Savior as the salvation of God.
In 3:7-9 John said to the crowds who came to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who prompted you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce then fruits worthy of your repentance, and do not begin to say among yourselves, We have Abraham for our father, for I tell you that God is able out of these stones to raise up children to Abraham. And already also the axe is laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.” “Brood of vipers” in verse 7 equals “children of the Devil” in 1 John 3:10.
In verse 8 John the Baptist told the people that God was able to raise up children to Abraham out of the stones. Due to the impenitence of the Jews, both this word and the word in verse 9 have been fulfilled. God has cut them off and raised up the believing Gentiles to be children unto Abraham in faith (Rom. 11:15, 19-20, 22; Gal. 3:7, 28-29). This also indicates that the kingdom of God is constituted not of children of Abraham by birth, but of children of Abraham by faith.
In verse 9 John says that every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire. This fire is the fire in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15), where the unbelievers will suffer eternal perdition.
In 3:10-14 we have a record of John’s word to the crowds, to the tax collectors, and to some who were serving in the military. To those of the crowd who asked him what to do, John said, “He who has two tunics, let him share with the one who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise” (v. 11). To the tax collectors who came to be baptized, John said, “Exact no more than what you have been instructed” (v. 13). To those serving in the military he said, “Extort nothing from anyone by force, nor take anything from anyone by false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages” (v. 14). What John says here is related to morality. By this we see that in his Gospel Luke emphasizes morality because his intention is to present the Man-Savior in the highest standard of morality.
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