The Gospel of Luke ~ Chapter 3:1-2 ~ The Baptism of the Son of Man, John the Baptist Commissioned by God, Pt. 1 ~ Luke’s Historicity.

Vol. 18, No. 15 – April 14, 2019

4 9 19 Study Pictures 1The Gospel of Luke
Chapter 3


I.  Preface: The Method and Purpose of Writing, Luke 1:1-4.

II. The Identification of the Son of Man with Men, Luke 1:5-4:13.

A. The Announcement of the Birth of John the Baptist, Luke 1:5-25.

B. The Announcement of the Birth of the Son of Man, Luke 1:26-56.

C. The Advent of John the Baptist, Luke 1:57-80.

D. The Advent of the Son of Man, Luke 2:1-20.

E. The Adoration of the Baby, Luke 2:21-38.

F. The Advancement of the Boy, Luke 2:39-52.

G. The Baptism of the Son of Man, Luke 3:1-22.

H. The Genealogy of the Son of Man, Luke 3:23-38.

I. The Temptation of the Son of Man, Luke 4:1-13.

In Chapter 3, we have:

G. The Baptism of the Son of Man, Luke 3:1-22.

1. A historical reckoning of both John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ ministry beginning, vs. 1-2.

2. The prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled in John, vs. 3-6.

3. John’s fiery preaching begins, vs. 7-14.

4. John preaches the Gospel and coming of Jesus’s ministry, vs. 15-18.

5. John preaches against Herod and Herod’s retribution toward John, vs. 19-20.

6. Jesus’s Baptism by John, vs. 21-22.

H. The Genealogy of the Son of Man, Luke 3:23-38:

  1. Jesus’ genealogy through His mother Mary’s family tree.

Vs. 1

Note the careful details of Luke the historian. In vs. 1-2a, he makes a seven-fold, (7 is the number of Spiritual Perfection), attempt to indicate the time when John the Baptist began his ministry, and prove the historicity of these events.

“Fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,” uses the Ordinal number PENTE-KAIDEKATOS, πεντεκαιδέκατος meaning, “15,” it is a hapax-legomena, meaning it is only used here in the NT. It is from PENTE, “five,” KAI, “and,” DEKATOS, “tenth.”

1. The Reign of Caesar Tiberius, Emperor of the Roman Empire:

The Reign of Caesar Tiberius, Emperor of the Roman Empire

The Reign of Caesar Tiberius, Emperor of the Roman Empire

Reign” is the Noun HEGEMONIA ἡγεμονία that means, “leadership, government, or rule.” This too is a hapaxlegomena. The typical word for “king or ruler” is BASILEUS that we noted in Luke 1:5, for Herod the Great, which is not used here.

Tiberius,” TIBERIOS, Τιβέριος is also a hapaxlegomena. It is the name of the “Caesar,” KAISAR, Καῖσαρ “Caesar or Emperor,” that was the 2nd 1.

Emperor of Rome from 14-37 AD, succeeding his adoptive father Augustus. He was born November 16, 42 B.C. Tiberius Caesar was ruler in the provinces two years before Augustus Caesar died. His father, of the same name, (Tiberius Claudius Nero), had been an officer under Julius Caesar and had later joined Antony against Octavian (Augustus). His mother was Livia, who after Tiberius’ birth, became the 3rd wife of Augustus. Thus, Tiberius was a stepson of Augustus. He became emperor at age 55, after having distinguished himself as a commander in various wars and having displayed notable talents as an orator and an administrator of civil affairs. Tiberius was thought to be one of the greatest Roman generals; his conquest of Pannonia, Dalmatia, Raetia, and temporarily, parts of Germania, laid the foundations for the northern frontier. Even so, he came to be remembered as a dark, reclusive, and somber ruler who never really desired to be emperor. He had rulership from 11 or 13 AD as co-regent, but became Emperor in 14 AD. His full name was Tiberius Claudius Nero. His official name as emperor was Tiberius Caesar Augustus. He is said to be a well-respected man in his beginning but later fell into debauchery. In 26 A.D., he retired to Capreae, but did not give up the office, where rumor attributed to him every excess of debauchery. On March 16, 37 A.D., he died at Misenum at the age of 78, after a reign of 23 years. When Tiberius died, he was succeeded by his grand-nephew and adopted grandson, Caius Caligula.

He was the Caesar during John the Baptist’s ministry, Jesus’ ministry, and during the early Church, as he is the “Caesar” mentioned in the Gospels in connection with Jesus’ public ministry, Mark 12:14; Luke 3:1; 20:22-25; 23:2, that parallels, John 19:12, 15. Herod Antipas, who we will note below, built the city of Tiberias in honor of Tiberius, (Josephus, Antiquities, 18.2.3).

Caesar Tiberius

Caesar Tiberius

Tiberius and his mother Livia

Tiberius and his mother Livia

Denarius coins found with the figure and inscription of Tiberius

Denarius coins found with the figure and inscription of Tiberius






In Luke 3:2-3, John the Baptist’s ministry was in the 15th year of his reign. That would place John’s ministry and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry around 29 A.D.

2. The Reign of Pontius Pilate,Governor of Judea:

The Reign of Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea

The Reign of Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea

At that time, Luke notes that “Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,” PONTIOS PILATOS HEGEMONEUO IOUDAIA.

We noted HEGEMONEUO, “leader, ruler, or govern,” in Luke 2:2, for Quirinius governor of Syria during the birth narrative of Jesus Christ. It is only used in these two places. “Judea,” IOUDAIA was the central province in Palestine ruled by the Roman procurator. The office of the Roman governor in the first century A.D. was the most prominent and distinctive expression of the dominion of Rome over the land and people of the Jews.

Pontius Pilate, PONTIOS, Πόντιος, PILATOS, Πιλάτος was the 5th or 6th Roman procurator of Judea serving under Emperor Tiberius from 26/27-36/37 A.D., succeeding Valerius Gratus as prefect of Judaea in 26 A.D. His appointment was probably sponsored by Tiberius’s anti-Semitic praetorian commander Sejanus, (Philo Leg. Gai. 24).

Among the sources for Pilate’s life are an inscription found in Caesarea in 1961, known as the Pilate Stone, which confirms his historicity and establishes his title as prefect. He is also briefly mentioned by the ancient historians Tacitus, Philo of Alexandria, and Josephus.

The Pilate Stone

Source for Pilate’s life - an inscription found in Caesarea in 1961

Source for Pilate’s life – an inscription found in Caesarea in 1961

Probably connected with the Roman family of the Pontii, his family name Pontius indicates that he was connected, by descent or adoption, with the clan of Pontii, and suggests that Pilatus was from the region of Samnium in central Italy. His name means, “armed with a spear,” which was indicative of his cruel treatment towards the Jews during his rulership.

He is remembered in history as a notorious anti-Semite and in Christian creeds as the magistrate under whom Jesus Christ “suffered,” 1 Tim 6:13; cf. Mat 27:2; John 19:37.

The NT refers to him as “governor,” while other sources call him “procurator” or “prefect,” as the Pilate stone mentioned above notes. Pilate was removed from office as the result of yet another outrage against Jews and Samaritans, when the Samaritans complained to Vitellius, the governor of Syria, about his antagonisms. Pilate was ordered to Rome to account for his actions to the emperor and is not mentioned again in reliable contemporary sources. He was replaced by Marcellus. We will see him again in Luke chapters 13 and 23.

3. The Reign of Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee:

The Reign of Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee

The Reign of Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee

“Tetrarch,” TETRARCHEO, τετραρχέω is used only three times in the NT, all in this passage. It is used for Herod Antipas, then for “his brother Philip II,” and finally for, “Lysanias of Abilene.” This word is not found in the Septuagint, nor does it appear in

Greek literature before Christian times. It comes from TETRA, “four,” and ARCHE, “ruler or authority.” It refers to someone who has been made a tetrarch, a governor, or ruler over a tetrarchy. A tetrarchy was one division of a region that had been divided into four sections, each governed by a tetrarch. Technically, it is a ruler of the fourth of a country or region. The Greeks first used this title upon the breakup of Alexander the Great’s empire into four regions under his four lead generals, and later the Romans adopted the term and applied it to any ruler of a small principality, whether it was one fourth or not varied. The term came to be used for any “petty, dependent prince,” whose rank and authority were below the level of a king.

The title of tetrarch was at this time probably applied to petty tributary princes without any such determinate meaning. But it appears from Josephus that the tetrarchies of Antipas and Philip were regarded as each constituting a fourth part of their father’s kingdom, (Antiquities of the Jews. 17.11.4). From these two cases, it seems the title was used in its strict and literal sense.

Of the three “tetrarchs” noted here, the first was Herod Antipas, Mat 4:1; Luke 3:1, 19; 9:7; Acts 13:1, who is commonly distinguished as “Herod the tetrarch,” although the title of “king” is also assigned to him both by Matthew, Mat 14:9, and by Mark, Mark 6:14, 22-28.

Herod Antipas was born before 20 B.C. died in 44 A.D. He was the son of Herod the Great and Malthace, a Samaritan woman. Half Idumean, half Samaritan, he therefore had not a drop of Jewish blood in his veins. On the death of his father, although he was younger than his brother Archelaus, he contested the will of Herod.

Antipas was not Herod’s first choice of heir. That honor fell to Aristobulus and Alexander, Herod’s sons by the Hasmonean princess Mariamne I. It was only after they were executed, c. 7 B.C., and Herod’s oldest son Antipater was convicted of trying to poison his father, 5 B.C., that the now elderly Herod fell back on his youngest son Antipas, revising his will to make him heir. Because of Judea’s status as a Roman client kingdom, Herod’s plans for the succession had to be ratified by Caesar Augustus. The three heirs, (Archelaus, Antipas, and Philip), travelled to Rome to make their claims. Antipas argued he ought to inherit the whole kingdom and the others maintaining that Herod’s final will, ought to be honored. Despite qualified support for Antipas from Herodian family members in Rome, who favored direct Roman rule of Judea but considered Antipas preferable to his brother, Augustus largely confirmed the division of territory set out by Herod in his final will. Archelaus had, however, to be content with the title of ethnarch rather than king. Therefore, Rome sustained the final will of Herod the Great and assigned to Antipas the “tetrarchy” of Galilee and Peraea, as it had been set apart for him by Herod, (Josephus: Antiquities, 17.9.4f; Wars, 2.2.3).

He ruled from 4 B.C. – 39 A.D., as tetrarch of Galilee and Perea. He was known as “Herod the Tetrarch” or “Herod,” who married his brother’s wife, Mark 6:17, and ordered the death of John the Baptist, Mat 14:1ff., and is the one who mocked Jesus when Pilate sent Jesus to him prior to the crucifixion, Luke 23:6-12.

As we noted above, Herod the Great’s kingdom was bequeathed to three heirs, of which Herod Antipas received both Galilee and Perea. He dedicated the city Livias in the north of the Dead Sea to Tiberius’ mother.

As to his marriages, Antipas divorced his first wife Phasaelis, the daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabatea, Arabia, in favor of Herodius / Herodias, the wife of his half-brother Philip I, Herod Philip I, whom he had met and seduced at Rome. Antipas was Herod the Great’s son by Malthace, while Herod II was his son by Mariamne II. Since Herodius was the daughter of Aristobulus, his half-brother, and therefore his niece, and at the same time the wife of his half-brother Philip I, the union between her and Antipas was sinful, especially according to the Law of Moses. (See chart below.)

The Mosaic Law prohibited a man from marrying a brother’s wife, Lev 18:16; 20:21, except in the case of levirate marriages, Deut 25:5; Mark 12:19. Since Antipas’s brother Herod Philip I had a daughter with Herodius named Salome, (who danced for Antipas for John the Baptist’s head, and later married Philip II), and, more pointedly, his brother was still living, the levirate marriage did not apply.

In 39 A.D., Galilee and Perea were transferred from disfavored Antipas to Agrippa I by Caligula. With his death in 44 A.D., Agrippa’s merged territory was made province again, including Judaea and for the first time, Perea. From that time, Perea was part of the shifting Roman provinces to its west.

Antipas was a frivolous and vain leader, and was chargeable with many infamous crimes, Mark 8:15; Luke 3:19; 13:31-32. He is most famous for the beheading of John the Baptist, Mat 14:1-12, at the instigation of his wife Herodias, the wife of his half-brother Herod-Philip I, and their daughter Salome.

Coins of Herod Antipas

Coins of Herod Antipas

Sepphoris and Tiberias

Sepphoris and Tiberias


He was a great builder of cities and built both Sepphoris and Tiberias, the latter named after the Emperor of Rome.


4. The Reign of Herod Philip II, Tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitis:

This Herod was also known as Philip, or Herod Philip II, who Luke says was the, “tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis.

Herod Philip II coins

Herod Philip II coins

Herod Philip II was the son of Herod the Great and his 5th wife Cleopatra of Jerusalem, (see chart above). She was called Cleopatra of Jerusalem, to distinguish her from the Ptolemaic Greek Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, (Josephus Antiquities 17.1.3; and Wars 1.28.4). He was born around 22/21 B.C. As a result of the debate over Herod’s will, Augustus made him tetrarch over the northeastern part of Herod the Great’s domain, Gaulanitis, Auranitis, Batanea, Trachonitis, Paneas and Iturea, (Josephus Antiquities 17.9.4; Wars 2.6.3). His subjects were mainly Syrian and Greek, (i.e., non-Jewish), and he was the first and only Herodian to have the emperor’s, as well as his own image on his coins.

The Reign of Herod Philip II

The Reign of Herod Philip II

At the death of his father he inherited region Gaulonitis, made up of Traehonitis and Ituraea, and Paneas (renamed to Caesarea Philippi), (Antiquities, 17.8.1).

Philip built two cities, (Josephus Antiquities 18.2.1; Wars 2.9.1). The first city was a rebuilding and enlarging of Paneas (near the source of the Jordan), which he renamed Caesarea Philippi in honor of the Roman emperor and to distinguish it from the coastal Caesarea. It was there that Peter made his confession of faith to Jesus, Mat 16:13–20; Mark 8:27–30. The second city was the rebuilding and enlarging of the fishing village of Bethsaida, where the Jordan flows into the Sea of Galilee. Philip gave it the status of a Greek polis and renamed it Julias in honor of Augustus’ daughter Julia. There Jesus would heal the blind man, Mark 8:22–26, and in a nearby desert place Jesus would feed the five thousand, Luke 9:10. Also, it may have been in the southern portion of Philip’s territory that Jesus fed the four thousand.

Philip did not possess the ambitious and scheming character of his brothers. He ruled his domain with moderation and tranquility and was well liked by his subjects, (Josephus Antiquities. 18.4.6). He married Herodias’s daughter Salome, whose dance led to the beheading of John the Baptist, Mat 14:3-12; Mark 6:17-29; Luke 3:19-20; Josephus Ant. 18.5.2). They had no children, (Antiquities 18.5.4). When Philip died in 34 A.D. the emperor Tiberius annexed his territory to Syria, and when Caligula became emperor in 37 A.D., Philip’s territory was given to Herod Agrippa I, brother of Herodias.

There are 8 Herod’s known to us and five are mentioned in the NT, (#’s 1, 3, 4, 6, 8).

1. Herod the Great, born c. 74 B.C., ruled 37 – 4 B.C., client king of Judea who built the Second Temple in Jerusalem. He ruled in Judea when Jesus was born, Mat 2:1, and ordered the death of the children in Bethlehem, Mat 2:16ff.

2. Herod Archelaus, (born 23 B.C., ruled 4 B.C. – 6 A.D., died c. 18 A.D.), Ethnarch of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea. He is not mentioned in the Bible.

3. Herod Antipas, born before 20 B.C., ruled 4 B.C. – 39 A.D., tetrarch of Perea and Galilee, known as “Herod the Tetrarch” or “Herod,” who married his brother’s wife, Mark 6:17, and ordered the death of John the Baptist, Mat 14:1ff., and is the one who mocked Jesus when Pilate sent Jesus to him prior to the crucifixion, Luke 23:6-12. This is the Herod mentioned in our verse.

4. Philip the Tetrarch or Herod Philip II, born c. 20 B.C., ruled 4 B.C. – 34 A.D., tetrarch of Iturea, Trachonitis, and Batanaea, Luke 3:1.

5. Herod II or Herod Philip I, c. 27 B.C. – 33 A.D., the father of the Salome in Mark 6:21-29; did not rule over any territory, and is not mentioned in Scripture.

6. Herod Agrippa I, 10 – 11 B.C., ruled 41 – 44 A.D., the grandson of Herod the Great, client king of Judaea, called “King Herod” or “Herod” in Acts 12, who killed the apostle James and imprisoned Peter, Acts 12:1ff.

7. Herod of Chalcis, died 48 A.D., also known as Herod V and listed by the Jewish Encyclopedia as Herod II. He was the son of Aristobulus IV and grandson of Herod the Great. King of Chalcis, that was made up of Iturea, Trachonitis, Gaulantis, Batanaea and Auranitis. He ruled 41 – 48 A.D. He is not mentioned in Scripture. Around 41 AD, at the request of his brother, Herod Agrippa, emperor Claudius granted him the rule of Chalcis, a territory north of Judaea, with the title of king. Three years later, after the death of his brother, he was also given responsibility for the Temple in Jerusalem, as well as the appointment of the Temple’s High Priest. During the four years in which he exercised this right he appointed two high priests, Joseph, son of Camydus, 44 – 46 A.D., and Ananias, son of Nedebeus, ca. 47 – 52 A.D. He died in 48 AD. After his death the kingdom was given to Herod Agrippa II. 4 14 19 The Word Pic Coin of Herod of Chalcis

Coin of Herod of Chalcis, showing Herod of Chalcis with brother Agrippa of Judaea crowning Roman Emperor Claudius I.

8. Herod Agrippa II, born 27 A.D., ruled 48 – 93 A.D., his official name was Marcus Julius Agrippa. He was the son of Agrippa 1. He was the eighth and last ruler from the Herodian dynasty. He was the fifth member of this dynasty to bear the title of king, but he reigned over territories outside of Judea only as a Roman client.

Herod Agrippa II Coin

Herod Agrippa II Coin

On the death of king Herod of Chalcis in 48 A.D., his small Syrian kingdom of Chalcis was given to Agrippa, with the right of superintending the Temple in Jerusalem and appointing its high priest, but only as a tetrarchy. In 53 A.D., Agrippa was forced to give up the tetrarchy of Chalcis but in exchange Claudius made him ruler with the title of king over the territories previously governed by Philip, namely, Batanea, Trachonitis and Gaulonitis, and the kingdom of Lysanias in Abila. In 55 A.D., the Emperor Nero added to Agrippa’s realm the cities of Tiberias and Taricheae in Galilee, and Livias (Iulias), with fourteen villages near it, in Peraea. The tetrarchy of Chalcis was subsequently in 57 A.D., given to his cousin, Aristobulus.

Paul Before Herod Agrippa

Paul Before Herod Agrippa

He is the Agrippa who was involved in Paul’s trial, Acts 25:13ff, as he is described in the apocryphal book, “Acts of the Apostles,” as “King Agrippa” before whom Paul the Apostle defended himself, possibly 59 A.D.

He was overthrown by his Jewish subjects in 66 A.D. and supported the Roman side in the First Jewish–Roman War. Agrippa had a great intimacy with the historian Josephus, having supplied him with information for his history, Antiquities of the Jews. Josephus preserved two of the letters he received from him. According to Photius, Agrippa died, childless, at the age of seventy, in the third year of the reign of Trajan, that is, 100, but statements of historian Josephus, in addition to the contemporary epigraphy from his kingdom, cast this date into serious doubt. The modern scholarly consensus holds that he died before 93/94. He was the last prince from the House of Herod.

Five Herods Mentioned in the NT.

Herod and his descendants

Now back in Luke 3:1,

5. The Reign of LysaniasTetrarch of Abilene:

The Reign of Lysanias, Tetrarch of Abilene

The Reign of Lysanias, Tetrarch of Abilene

Lysanias, Λυσανίας whose name means, “that drives away sorrow,” is said in Luke 3:1, to have been “tetrarch of Abilene,” a small district of Palestine on the eastern slopes of Anti-Libanus, of which Abila on the river Darada was thecapital. His rulership is dated to be 25-30 A.D. Not much is known about this individual. Abilene is a small mountainous region. It was located about 18 miles northwest of Damascus in the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its capital was Abila.

There is another more known Lysanias, who was the son of Ptolemy of Chalcis, ruler of the same small realm on the western slopes of Mount Hermon, mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus, (Antiquities 14, 7, 4 and 13, 3; 15, 4, 1; b. j., 1, 13, 1, cf. b. j. 1, 9, 2), and in coins from c. 40 B.C. He is also noted by Josephus as having been slain by Mark Antony at the instigation of Cleopatra. As this happened around 34-36 B.C., this could not be the Lysanias of Luke. As a result, Luke has been charged with inaccuracy. Yet, two inscriptions, (Böckh, C.I.G. 4521 and 4523), have been found on the site of Abilene that mentions “Lysanias the tetrarch,” which corroborates the view that the Lysanias of Luke was probably a descendant of the Lysanias mentioned by Josephus, or the Lysanias mentioned in, (Antiquities, 19.5.1), was the same as Luke noted. As A.T. Roberts notes, “so Luke is vindicated again by the rocks.” (Word Pictures in the New Testament.)

We also see that in 37 A.D., the emperor Caligula appointed Herod Agrippa I king of the tetrarchy of Philip, and added the region of Lysanias to the tetrarchy, (Wars of the Jews, 2.12.8). Later, Abilene was part of the kingdom of his son, Agrippa II.

Vs. 2a

6-7. The Reign of Annas and Caiaphas, High Priests of Israel:

Here we have our 6th and 7th historical figures pointed to by Luke for the historicity of his writings. He turns to the religious leaders of that day, and combines these two high priests because both were involved in the ministry of Jesus, especially His trials prior to His crucifixion. As we will see, Annas was the deposed high priest working “behind the scenes,” while his son-in-law Caiaphas held the office at this time.

 6. The Reign of Annas:

Annas” in the Greek is Ἄννας, Westcott and Hort, (The New Testament in Greek) spell it “Hannas,” and Josephus “Ananos.” It is the Greek form of Hebrew ‏חָנָן‎, HANAN meaning, “merciful or gracious.” In Greek it means, “one who answers; humble.”

He was born 23/22 B.C., and the date of his death is unknown, but thought to be around 40 A.D. He was the son of Seth, Josephus uses Sethi, (Antiquities 18.2.1). He was appointed to the high-priesthood by Quirinius, governor of Syria, Luke 2:2, about 6 A.D, as the first High Priest of the newly formed Roman province of Iudaea, just after the Romans had deposed Herod Archelaus, Ethnarch of Judaea, thereby putting Judaea directly under Roman rule. At that time, the office of high priest was filled and vacated at the whim of the Roman procurators, as Annas was deposed at the age of 36 in 15 A.D., by Valerius Gratus, the predecessor to Pontius Pilate. Gentile innovations had made sad havoc with the Jewish law as to this office. In the last 107 years of the temple’s existence, there were no less than 28 high priests.

Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was also an appointed high priest, as we will see below. Annas is mentioned in our verse and John 18:13, 24; Acts 4:6; cf. John 18:19.
Though he was deprived of official status, he remained as one of the nation’s most influential political and social individuals, as he continued to wield great power as the dominant member of the priestly hierarchy, using members of his family as his willing instruments. His five sons and one son-in-law Caiaphas all served as high priests of Israel, (Antiquities, 10.9.1), though he did not survive to see the office filled by his 5th son Annas or Ananus II, who caused James, the Lord’s brother, to be stoned to death, circa 62 A.D. His son Annas the Younger, also known as Ananus (Annas) the son of Ananus (Annas) was assassinated in 66 A.D., for advocating peace with Rome.

Long after he had lost his office, he was still called “high priest,” as it was customary to attribute the title to former living high priests since the high priesthood according to the OT was a “life office,” even though the Romans played havoc with the office. This is similar to the practice for addressing a former president of the United States as “Mr. President.” In addition, his name appears first wherever the names of the chief members of the priestly faction are given, cf. Acts 4:6.

Note especially the phrase in our verse, “in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,” as if they were joint holders of the office. In fact, Caiaphas was the actual high priest at this time, yet Annas was the virtual while Caiaphas the titular high priest.

It is thought that both Annas and Caiaphas may have sympathized with the Sadducean aristocracy, a religious movement in Judaea that found most of its members among the wealthy Jewish elite. And, like others of that class, Annas seems to have been arrogant, astute, ambitious, and enormously wealthy. “The chief source of his and his families wealth seems to have been the sale of requisites for the temple sacrifices, such as sheep, doves, wine, and oil, which they carried on in the four famous “booths of the sons of Annas” on the Mount of Olives, with a branch within the precincts of the temple itself. During the great feasts, they were able to extort high monopoly prices for theft goods. Hence, our Lord’s strong denunciation of those who made the house of prayer “a den of robbers” (Mark 11:15-19), and the curse in the Talmud, “Woe to the family of Annas! Woe to the serpent-like hisses” (Pes 57a).” (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia).

Annas appears in the Gospels as a high priest before whom Jesus is brought for judgment, prior to being brought before Pontius Pilate. Although he does not figure very prominently in the gospel narratives, he seems to have been mainly responsible for the course of events. Caiaphas, indeed, as actual high priest, was the nominal head of the Sanhedrin which condemned Jesus, but the aged Annas was the ruling spirit. The officers who arrested Jesus first led Him to Annas according to John 18:12-13. Assuming Annas is the high priest of John 18:19-23, as seems most likely, he questioned Jesus concerning His disciples and teaching. This trial is not mentioned by the synoptic gospels, because it was merely informal and preliminary and of a private nature, meant to gather material for the subsequent trial(s). Failing to gain anything to his purpose from Jesus, “Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest,” John 18:24.

It is highly likely, that Annas was present at the subsequent trials of Jesus, but no further mention is made of him in the NT, except that he was present at the meeting of the Sanhedrin after Pentecost when Peter and John defended themselves for preaching the gospel of the resurrection, Acts 4:6.

Acts 4:6, “And Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent.”

The terms of Annas, Caiaphas, and the five brothers are:

4 14 19 The Word Pic A statue of Annas in the Bom Jesus sanctuary in Braga, Portugal.

Annas, the son of Seth, 6 – 15 A.D.
1. Eleazar, the son of Annas, 16 – 17 A.D.

Caiaphas – properly called Joseph son of Caiaphas, 18 – 36 A.D.

2. Jonathan, the son of Annas, 36 – 37, and 44 A.D.

3. Theophilus, ben Annas, 37 – 41 A.D.

4. Matthias, ben Annas, 43 A.D.

5. Annas, ben Annas, 63 A.D.

A statue of Annas in the Bom Jesus sanctuary in Braga, Portugal.

7. The Reign of Caiaphas:

Caiaphas, Καϊάφας, KAIAPHAS, also Kephas, meaning, “rock or a depression,” was the son-in-law of Annas, John 18:13, and high priest during the ministry of Christ. His full name was Joseph Ben (son of) Caiaphas, yet known simply as Caiaphas. He was born c, 14 B.C. and died c, 46 A.D.

He was high priest from 18 – 36 A.D., and ruled longer than any high priest in NT times. The comparatively long eighteen-year tenure of Caiaphas, suggests he had a good working relationship with the Roman authorities, even though Josephus relates that Caiaphas became a high priest during a turbulent period. Caiaphas was appointed in 18 A.D., by the Roman prefect who preceded Pontius Pilate, Valerius Gratus, and was reappointed by Pontius Pilate and served under him from 27-36 A.D. He was deposed in 36 A.D. by Vitellius, the president of Syria, (Antiquities, 18.2.2; 18.4.3).

Little is known about Caiaphas beyond what can be learned from the NT. He is mentioned in our verse and Mat 26:3, 57; John 11:49; 18:13-14, 24, 28; Acts 4:6.

Caiaphas played a leading role in the trial and condemnation of Jesus. It was in his court or palace that the chief priests (Sadducees) and Pharisees, who together constituted the Sanhedrin, assembled, “and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him,” Mat 26:3-4; John 11:49. In order to expedite the removal of Jesus, he led the plot to capture Him at the appropriate time and in doing so, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, John 11:49ff.; 18:14; cf. Mat 26:5, 57-68. Caiaphas was the one who asked Jesus if He were “the Christ, the Son of God,” Mat 26:63. When our Lord answered in vs. 64, “you have said it yourself,” Caiaphas “tore his robes and said, ‘He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy’,” vs. 65. Upon this charge, Jesus was found to “deserve death,” vs, 66.

Christ before Caiaphas, by Matthias Stom.

4 14 19 The Word Christ before CaiaphasCaiaphas, like Annas above, is also mentioned in Acts 4:6, as being among those who presided over the trial of Peter and John.

Lastly, I found an interesting article on Wikipedia’s page regarding Annas called, “The plot to kill Lazarus of Bethany,” that speaks to Annas, Caiaphas, and Annas five sons, related to Jesus’ parable about the “rich man and Lazarus.”

The involvement of the family of Annas may be implied in the plot to kill Lazarus of Bethany, in John 12:10-11, whom Jesus raised from the dead. Although Annas is not mentioned by name in the plot to kill Lazarus, several 19th-century writers such as Johann Nepomuk Sepp and the Abbé Drioux, considered that there may be a concealed reference to Annas in the parable by Jesus of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-30, which points at a “rich man” with five brothers, Luke:16:28. It is considered that the rich man dressed in purple and fine linen, (as Ex 28:8 indicates was the traditional garment for the high priest), was probably representative of Caiaphas, as figurehead of the Sadducees. As such, Annas is intended by the term “father” in “my father’s house” in Luke 16:27, and the “five brothers” are intended in Luke 16:28, as Annas’ five sons. In support of this is the coincidence that the father and five brothers, who will not be convinced even if the parable Lazarus is raised from the dead, Luke 16:31, predicts that Caiaphas, Annas, and the five unbelieving sons of Annas plot to have the real Lazarus killed when he was raised, John 12:10.

In conclusion, we see that “Luke is the only one who fixes the time when Jesus began his ministry. He locates it by emperor and governor, tetrarch and high priest, as an event of world-wide importance, and of concern to all the kingdoms of men. He conceives of it as Paul did—Acts 26:26.” (The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.)

Vs. 2b

Luke 3:2, “… the word of God came to John, the son of Zachariah, in the wilderness.”

Given the historical statements noted in vs. 1-2a, this is about 18 years after the young Jesus visited the Temple.

This “Zachariah,” John the Baptist’s father, is only mentioned in Luke’s Gospel, and this is the last time John’s father is mentioned in Scripture.

The Word of God came to John,” RHEMA THEOS EPI IOANNES, indicates that John’s Divine commission has begun. God had appointed him to this position and work from eternity past and now it has begun, as he enters his career as a prophet, Jer 1:2; Ezek 6:1; Hosea 1:1; Micah 1:1; Haggai 1:1, and the forerunner to Jesus Christ.

All four gospels give insight into John’s ministry in various fashion, but Luke provides more detail of the type of message he delivered, as we will see, cf. Mat 3:1-17; Mark 1:2-11; John 1:19-34.

Luke sought to portray John the Baptist as a God-sent prophet. Prophets gave temporary and limited manifestations of God’s will, Heb 1:1-2. John’s commission as prophet and forerunner was to prepare the way of the Lord Jesus Christ to enter His public preaching ministry. So, John began preaching in preparation for the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.

As we will see in this chapter, his message included hope for the spiritually hungry, Luke 3:3-6, and a stern warning to the unrepentant, Luke 3:7-18, as the Jews could not consider themselves accepted by God simply because they were Abraham’s children. Good deeds must demonstrate their true repentance, Mat 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; John 1:6-8, 15-34.

We too, must show good works, Divine Good Production, as a demonstration of our repentance to Christ. Yet, Satan has done a great job in lulling the church to sleep regarding their everyday lives and their works towards others. We live in such great times of peace and prosperity that we think we are holy and righteous because of what we have or have been given. That is the lie of Satan, we are holy and righteous when we do good deeds and produce the fruit of the Spirit. So, do not let the great snake charmer lull you to sleep walking in your spiritual life. Live in the light of Jesus Christ and do good works towards others as you “love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Eph 5:14, “For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you’.”

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:

#19-037 & 19-038 & 19-039

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If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.

Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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