Did You Know? — The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 9, Gospel of Luke

  • “Luke’s infancy narrative is distinctive in that it constructs parallels and contrasts between the births and roles of John the Baptist and Jesus.”
  • “Luke is the only Gospel to report any event from Jesus’ boyhood– Jesus in the Temple at the age of twelve (2:41-52).”
  • “The infancy narrative has no parallel in the other Gospels and is quite different from the birth account in Matthew 1-2. Whereas Matthew features Joseph’s role in the birth of Jesus, Luke’s accounts highlights Mary’s role.”

The Gospel of Luke 3:1-6 (New Revised Standard Version)

1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”


Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading Rev. Pam Brokaw, Rochester UMC

Gospel of Luke 3: 1-6 (New Revised Standard Version)

As Paula Gooder, the author of “Journey to the Manger” points out, there is much announcement and preparation for the birth of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. During this Season of Advent our Bible Study group is reading the Gooder text and considering four distinct themes around the birth of Jesus:  Origins, Announcements, Arrivals and Aftermaths. Our sermon series follows each, too.

Last week, the worship message titled “Hope and Family,” looked at the genealogies of Jesus described in Matthew, Luke and John. This Sunday we are considering prophecy specific to the birth of John the Baptist (whose ministry urges the people to prepare for the coming of God) and God in the flesh among us: Jesus. The message today is called “Love and Prophecy.” We’ll look at the foreshadowing that went on preparing key individuals for the birth of Jesus. The parents of John the Baptist and Jesus made their own preparations for parenthood. We, too, are called to listen, reflect and act on this most amazing story of God’s love for us and prepare for the Lord today.

Luke provides detail of the angel Gabriel visiting the priest Zechariah (husband of Elizabeth) and telling him that he and his wife will have a son who will “turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord, their God.” (Luke 1:16). This son, John the Baptist, will one day prepare the way for the ministry of his soon to be announced relative, Jesus. Gabriel will also visit Mary, engaged to Joseph, and tell her she, too, will have a son. There is great prophecy of preparation and following God’s intent for us all.

In Luke 3: 1-6, we fast forward to the ministry of John the Baptist who fulfills prophecy and prepares the people for the ministry of Jesus. Luke tells us: “He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”

Wandering in our own wildness, can we can hear John’s words of announcement today as we prepare for the coming of the baby in the manger—a child who is most vulnerable and powerful at the same time. He is the Son of God for whom nothing is impossible and who loves us beyond measure. Are we making room for the coming of the Lord in our hearts and lives? How are we preparing the way of the Lord?

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Pam