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Luke 3 is the third chapter of the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It contains an account of John the Baptist as well as a Genealogy of Jesus.

John the Baptist

Luke, as in the first two chapters, provides a chronological guide to the events he describes:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judeamarker, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. ( 1-2)

Tiberius' fifteenth year of rule was AD 29 or 30, so if one believes Luke, one can date the start of John's preaching to then.

Luke, like Mark 1:2-3 Matthew 3:3 and John 1:23 quotes Isiah 40 but quotes it to the greatest length in reference to John. It is possible that he does this to include the message that "...all mankind will see God's salvation" ( 6) to his Gentile audience. (Brown 235) He preaches baptism and repentance, and tells people that their descent from Abraham will not save them from God, that "...out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." ( 8-9)

The people ask what they should do and John says share and that tax collectors and soldiers should not abuse their positions. They ask him if he is the Christ, and he replies "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." ( 16) also found in Matthew 3:11 Mark 1:7-8 and John 1:26-27. John is then locked up by Herod for rebuking him about his wife Herodias and everything else as well.

Jesus's baptism and genealogy

Luke then tells us then Jesus was one of the many that John baptized. The Holy Spirit appears to him as a dove and tells him "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." which happens in all the gospels.

Luke says that "...Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry." ( 23). Luke does not state how many years John baptised for but this is when most date the start of Jesus's ministry, 29 or 30. He had to be more than thirty years old, as he most probably was born in 4 BC.

Luke then gives us, like Matthew 1, a genealogy of Jesus, starting with his legal father Joseph and lists 73 people between Joseph and Adam who Luke says is "...the Son of God" ( 38) thus having 75 people between God and Jesus. It is longer and different from Matthew's list. It lists Joseph's father and thus Jesus's grandfather as Heli where Matthew says his name was Jacob. They then say that Jesus's great grandfather was named Matthat or Matthan, who could be the same person or, as first suggested by Julius Africanus, brothers. The lists then diverge from there, coming together again at David.


  • Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament Doubleday 1997 ISBN 0-385-24767-2

Chapters of the Bible
Preceded by:
Luke 2

Gospel of Luke
Followed by:
Luke 4

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