I hope you’re still with us! Still following Jesus as he walks the dusty roads, up and down the hills and by the beautiful lake shores of Galilee.
In this chapter, I noticed that Luke, the documentarian, establishes the historical time and setting of his narrative: In the reign of Caesar Tiberius; Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea; Herod was tetrarch of Galilee; and so on. More details, offering more “certainty” for his excellent friend.
At this point in the telling, Jesus and his cousin John are grown men, at about the age of thirty. John is preparing the way for the Messiah, just as Zechariah had prophesied when he was born: “… you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins…”
John preached, “There is one coming whose shoes I am unworthy to untie! He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire!”
Finally, when the time to begin his ministry fully arrives, Jesus was ready to truly be “about his Father’s business”. The voice from Heaven that some hearers thought was thunder declares to the discerning ear, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
At this point, Luke departs from the narrative in order to include the part of this chapter that, oddly, most spoke to me today, the genealogy of Jesus.
I expect that “chapter and verse” notation was not part of the original missive, so there would be no deliberate beginning and ending of this chapter with authenticating information. But I wonder if, perhaps, he wrote the whole letter with deliberate occasional returns, just to keep the certainty uppermost in mind. Something to watch for!
As I read this genealogy, thinking about the stated purpose of Luke’s letter to his friend, I remembered hosting a woman in our home many years ago who was a translator with Wycliff. She lived in Papua New Guinea, and worked with men and women in the villages who assisted her in the translation. She told us of how they seemed disinterested in what the scriptures said until they came to this account of the generations who came before Jesus. With every “…who was the son of…” they became more and more excited. She asked why.
“It’s real! This is true!” Apparently, the long lists of names that I often skip over showed them the certainty of the story!
Well done, Doctor Luke!
I know I seem to be obsessed with certainty this week, but oh, I hope my heart knows and feels it at every reading of the Word of God!
“The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple, (Psalm 19:7)