Luke 3:5

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I. HISTORICALLY. Jesus, as his name indicated, came to be a Savior; but he came to bring a very different salvation from that which was expected of him. His contemporaries were not aware that they themselves were in any need of salvation. They supposed it was their political condition which needed to undergo a change. They were full of a fatal self-sufficiency so far as their own character was concerned; they esteemed themselves the prime favorites of Heaven, and thought that, when the great Deliverer appeared, it would be entirely on their behalf, in order that they might be restored to their rightful place and assume the government they believed themselves so worthy to conduct. If they were to receive, with any cordiality of welcome, a Savior who came to save them, to deliver them from guilt, it was necessary that a voice should be heard speaking in plainest tones breaking through the hard crust of complacency and delusion, working conviction of guilt within the soul; it behoved that he should come "preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Thus did John "prepare the way" for Jesus - the apostle of repentance for the Savior of mankind.

II. EXPERIMENTALLY. That which was the historical order is also the order in our heart's experience. We repent of sin before we know the Savior so as to possess his full salvation. It is indeed true that the Words of Jesus Christ, the view of his holy life, the consideration of his dying love - that this is a power working, and working mightily, for repentance on the soul; yet must there be repentance, as an existing condition of mind, for a true and full appreciation of the great service Jesus Christ offers to render to us. We cannot rejoice in him as in our Divine Savior, redeeming us from the penalty and the curse of sin, until we have known and felt our own unworthiness and wrong-doing.

1. This is the scriptural doctrine. Our Lord, before he left his apostles, instructed them to preach "repentance and remission of sins in his:Name among all nations" (Luke 24:47). Peter said, "Repent... for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). Paul testified to Jews and Greeks "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). John wrote, as he doubtless preached," If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves... if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteoushess" (1 John 1:8, 9).

2. This is the obvious spiritual order. For how can we make our appeal to Christ, how can we put our trust in him as in our Divine Redeemer and the Propitiation for our sins, until we have recognized in ourselves the sinners that we are? For this there is necessary;

(1) The idea of sin - in many hearts, in many places, found to be wholly wanting, and having to be planted there.

(2) The sense of sin - absent from a great many more; absent, it may be, because it is forgotten that our guiltiness before God is not only nor chiefly found in doing what he has forbidden, but in withholding what he has desired and required of us, in the non-payment of the "ten thousand talents" of reverence and gratitude and service we owe him.

(3) Shame for sin, and a strong and deep desire to be cleansed from its evil stain. This true penitence brings us in eagerness and hope to the feet and to the cross of the Divine Savior. - C.

Every valley shall be filled.

1. Inattention.

2. Apathy.

3. Despondency.


1. The mountain of pride must be reduced.

(1)The pride that will not make full confession of sin.

(2)The pride that will not receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child.

(3)The pride of reason that will not accept salvation until its mysteries are comprehended.

(4)The pride of worldly professors.

2. The mountain of presumption must be depressed.

(1)Sinners are presumptuous when, without forsaking their sins, they attempt to believe for salvation.

(2)Professors arc presumptuous when they expect the work of God to revive in the Church without exerting themselves to promote a revival.

(3)While we work as though everything depended upon working, we must trust as though everything depended upon trusting.

3. The hills of ingratitude must be brought low.


1. Prejudice.

2. Jealousy.

3. Censoriousness.

4. Covetousness.


1. The ugly rock of Sabbath desecration must be removed.

2. That rut of drunkenness must be filled up.

3. Those sinks of immorality must be filled — lying, cheating, oppression, uncleanness.

4. The rough places of instability must be smoothed.

(Prof. F. W. Macdonald, M. A.)

Before John, the wilderness preacher, the mountains of Pharisaic pride were levelled, the valleys of Sadducean unbelief were filled up, the tortuous vices of the courtly Judean were corrected, and the rude ignorance of the Galilean smoothed and reformed.

(Canon Liddon.)

(To children.) In ancient times, especially in Eastern lands, when an emperor or king was travelling through his dominions, men were sent before them to prepare the way. Sometimes they had to make a new road through pathless wildernesses and rocky passes, hewing down trees, cutting a level way along steep or rugged hill-sides, clearing away rocks, and making embankments across valleys, and bridges over streams. Or sometimes the old road was overgrown with bushes and brambles, or washed away by floods, or covered with rubbish which the winter storms and swollen torrents had brought down from the mountains. In some Eastern lands, even at this day, travellers tell us how the roads are often so destroyed in the rainy season, that before a governor or high officer of state makes a journey, the highways must be mended and made ready for him to travel speedily and safely. So when the prophet Isaiah was speaking of the coming of the Lord Jesus, he foretold that some one would be sent by God to "prepare the way," &c. Look at the Gospels and you will see that the messenger whom God sent to prepare the way for His beloved Son was John the Baptist. Now, how did John prepare the way? There were four things which he taught the people, in order to make ready their hearts for the Lord Jesus.




IV. TO HEARKEN TO HIM, AND BELIEVE, LOVE, AND OBEY HIM WHEN HE CAME. NOW, if the Lord Jesus were coming to the place where you live, would you not be glad if you were invited to help to prepare the way for Him? Would you not think it a great honour and happiness to take one stone out of His way? Oh yes! Your heart would dance for joy, and perhaps your feet too. Who would not like to be a pioneer for Jesus, the King of kings? Well, but don't you know that He really wishes to come; not to pass along the streets, but to come into the homes and hearts of all the people, not to pay a visit, but to dwell there? Then what hinders His coming? Only that people arc not ready for Him. Do you know what God calls a heart that does not love and fear Him? He calls it " a stony heart" (Ezekiel 36:26). Well then, if you do not love and trust and try to obey the Lord Jesus as your own Saviour and King, don't you see that there is one stone to be taken out of His way? How? Just by coming to Him in prayer to make you truly His.

(E. R. Conder, D. D.)

Every valley shall be filled; that the people might know what our Lord would do, to exalt the mercy of God to undone sinners, who, like valleys, lay very low under despondency of spirit; John bid them repent, which the law did not admit of. This word repent is a most sweet word, and tends to advance mercy and God's free grace, and so to fill up those valleys, I mean despairing and desponding sinners. When God sends a messenger to rebels, and commands them to repent and believe, a sweet pardon be sure is comprehended therein; and this tends to fill up or exalt two valleys.

1. The lowly and desponding soul.

2. The mercy of God is exalted, which was one grand design of God in sending His Son to satisfy Divine justice; for mercy and Divine goodness could not be raised to run level with justice, until our Saviour had made a complete satisfaction for our sins.

I. But before I proceed, let it be considered (as I conceive) that the grand obstructions or obstacles which lie in the way of God's being reconciled to sinners, and of sinners' reconciliation unto Him, are comprehended by these metaphorical expressions.

1. The haughty Jews and Pharisees, who were swelled with pride; yea, like lifted up high mountains and hills; how did the Pharisee glory, "God, I thank Thee I am not as other men, nor as this publican"?

2. They were like mountains, in respect had to their legal privileges, being God's covenant people, boasting "They had Abraham to their father, and never were in bondage" (John 8:33). John Baptist in his ministry strove to level these mountains, when he saw them coming to his baptism, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"

3. The Jews and Pharisees might be compared to mountains and hills, in that they boasted they had the key of knowledge, and were the only teachers and masters of Israel, and that all besides themselves were ignorant and foolish persons. Do but read what holy Paul speaketh of them, to bring them down level with the ground.

II. Sin (as Mr. Caryl notes, speaking of this very text) may be also meant by these mountains.

III. By mountains here also may be meant, or refer unto those great oppositions our Lord Jesus met withal, in His working out our salvation.

1. From men.

2. From the devil. These stood in His way like mighty mountains, like as Sanballet stood as a mountain in the way of Zerubbabel (a type of Christ): "And who art thou, great mountain? Before Zerubbabel, thou shalt become a plain" (Zechariah 4:7).

IV. As valleys may refer to despairing sinners, so mountains and hills may refer to haughty and presumptuous sinners; I speak not here of self-righteous persons.

V. Valleys may refer to the low estate of mankind, or of God's elect, as considered dead in the first Adam, or as under the law and curse thereof.

(B. Keach.)

1. Crooked may refer to men's crooked opinions; they speak not right of God; they do not judge according to the straight and equal glory of all the perfections of God's holy nature; nor according to the straight rule of His holy law, but magnify the glory of His mercy, to the eclipsing the glory of His justice; and of this crooked opinion are the Socinians, and all that magnify the pardoning grace of God, without having respect to a plenary satisfaction, made to the justice and law of God by Jesus Christ.

2. Crooked things may refer to those false and crooked ways of worship which many walk in; ways which Christ never instituted or appointed: the Word of God is the only rule for worship, and administration of ordinances. Now all pretended ordinances and Divine worship, that doth not exactly agree with this rule, but vary in matter or manner from it, are crooked way.

3. Crooked may refer to the lives and conversations of men; the law of God (as it is in the hand of Jesus Christ) and the glorious gospel is the only rule of our lives; and all whose lives and conversations do not agree with that rule, are crooked ways.

4. Crooked may also refer unto men's crooked spirits; how cross and uneven are some men's hearts and spirits to the word and will of God. "The carnal mind is enmity against God, it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7).

(B. Keach.)

Adam, Addi, Aminadab, Amminadab, Amos, Annas, Aram, Arphaxad, Boaz, Booz, Caiaphas, Cainan, Cosam, David, Eber, Eli, Eliakim, Eliezer, Elmodam, Enoch, Enos, Enosh, Er, Esaias, Esli, Esrom, Heber, Heli, Herod, Herodias, Hezron, Isaac, Isaiah, Jacob, Janna, Jared, Jesse, Jesus, Joanna, Johanan, John, Jonan, Jorim, Jose, Joseph, Joses, Joshua, Judas, Kenan, Lamech, Levi, Lysanias, Maath, Mahalaleel, Mahath, Maleleel, Mathusala, Mattatha, Mattathias, Matthat, Melchi, Melea, Menan, Methuselah, Naasson, Nachor, Nagge, Nahor, Nahshon, Nahum, Nathan, Naum, Neri, Noah, Noe, Obed, Peleg, Perez, Phalec, Phares, Pharez, Philip, Pilate, Ragau, Reu, Rhesa, Sala, Salah, Salathiel, Salmon, Saruch, Sem, Semei, Serug, Seth, Shealtiel, Shelah, Shem, Simeon, Terah, Thara, Tiberius, Zacharias, Zechariah, Zerubbabel, Zorobabel
Galilee, Ituraea, Jordan River, Judea, Trachonitis
Crooked, Filled, Gorge, Hill, Hills, Levelled, Lifted, Low, Mountain, Mountains, Path, Places, Ravine, Roads, Rough, Rugged, Smooth, Straight, Straightness, Twisted, Valley
1. The preaching and baptism of John;
15. his testimony of Jesus;
19. Herod imprisons John;
21. Jesus, baptized, receives testimony from heaven.
23. The age and genealogy of Jesus from Joseph upwards.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Luke 3:5

     5505   roads

Luke 3:1-6

     1429   prophecy, OT fulfilment
     6735   repentance, examples

Luke 3:2-6

     5336   highway

Luke 3:3-6

     7757   preaching, effects

Luke 3:3-17

     5098   John the Baptist

Luke 3:4-5

     4290   valleys

Luke 3:4-6

     1320   God, as Saviour

St John the Baptist
Chester Cathedral. 1872. St Luke iii. 2, 3, 7, 9-14. "The Word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. . . . Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance. . . . And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

John the Preacher of Repentance
'Now, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 2. Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. 3. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 4. As it is written
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

John's Witness to Jesus, and God's
'And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 16. John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 17. Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

John's Rebuke of Herod.
Preached May 15, 1853. JOHN'S REBUKE OF HEROD. "But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison,"--Luke iii. 19, 20. The life of John the Baptist divides itself into three distinct periods. Of the first we are told almost nothing, but we may conjecture much. We are told that he was in the deserts till his showing unto Israel. It was a period probably, in which,
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

I. (In the body of a dove, cap. iii. p. 523.) The learned John Scott, in his invaluable work The Christian Life, [7283] identifies the glory shed upon the Saviour at his baptism, with that mentioned by Ezekiel (Cap. xliii. 2) and adds: "In this same glorious splendor was Christ arrayed first at his Baptism and afterward at his Transfiguration....By the Holy Ghost's descending like a Dove, it is not necessary we should understand his descending in the shape or form of a Dove, but that in some glorious
Tertullian— On the Flesh of Christ

Genealogy According to Luke.
^C Luke III. 23-38. ^c 23 And Jesus himself [Luke has been speaking about John the Baptist, he now turns to speak of Jesus himself], when he began to teach, was about thirty years of age [the age when a Levite entered upon God's service--Num. iv. 46, 47], being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son [this may mean that Jesus was grandson of Heli, or that Joseph was counted as a son of Heli because he was his son-in-law] of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Appendix vii. On the Date of the Nativity of Our Lord
So much, that is generally accessible, has of late been written on this subject, and such accord exists on the general question, that only the briefest statement seems requisite in this place, the space at our command being necessarily reserved for subjects which have either not been treated of by previous writers, or in a manner or form that seemed to make a fresh investigation desirable. At the outset it must be admitted, that absolute certainty is impossible as to the exact date of Christ's Nativity
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Fate of the Enemies of Jesus.
According to the calculation we adopt, the death of Jesus happened in the year 33 of our era.[1] It could not, at all events, be either before the year 29, the preaching of John and Jesus having commenced in the year 28,[2] or after the year 35, since in the year 36, and probably before the passover, Pilate and Kaiapha both lost their offices.[3] The death of Jesus appears, moreover, to have had no connection whatever with these two removals.[4] In his retirement, Pilate probably never dreamt for
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

Jesus at Capernaum.
Beset by an idea, gradually becoming more and more imperious and exclusive, Jesus proceeds henceforth with a kind of fatal impassibility in the path marked out by his astonishing genius and the extraordinary circumstances in which he lived. Hitherto he had only communicated his thoughts to a few persons secretly attracted to him; henceforward his teaching was sought after by the public. He was about thirty years of age.[1] The little group of hearers who had accompanied him to John the Baptist had,
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

The Distinction of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from his Son, Jesus Christ.
We have seen thus far that the Holy Spirit is a Person and a Divine Person. And now another question arises, Is He as a Person separate and distinct from the Father and from the Son? One who carefully studies the New Testament statements cannot but discover that beyond a question He is. We read in Luke iii. 21, 22, "Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon
R. A. Torrey—The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit

The Doubting Soul More Particularly Assisted in Its Inquiries as to the Sincerity of Its Faith and Repentance.
1. Transient impressions liable to be mistaken for conversion, which would be a fatal error.--2. General scheme for self-examination.--3. Particular inquiries--what views there have been of sin?--4. What views there have been of Christ?--5. As to the need the soul has of him;--6. And its willingness to receive him with a due surrender of heart to his service.--7. Nothing short of this sufficient. The soul submitting to Divine examination the sincerity of its faith and repentance. 1. IN consequence
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

A New Age and New Standards
As the Kingdom Comes Ethical Standards Must Advance Every approximation to the Reign of God in humanity demands an advance in the social relations of men, that is, an advance in ethics. Every really epochal advance must have it or slip back. There must be, first, better obedience to the moral principles already recognized and accepted by society; second, an expansion of the sway of ethical duty to new fields and wider groups of humanity; and third, a recognition of new duties and the assimilation
Walter Rauschenbusch—The Social Principles of Jesus

Lucas, Evangelii el medicinae munera pandens; Artibus hinc, illinc religione, valet: Utilis ille labor, per quem vixere tot aegri; Utilior, per quem tot didicere mori!" Critical and Biographical Schleiermacher: Ueber die Schriften des Lukas. Berlin, 1817. Reprinted in the second vol. of his Sämmtliche Werke, Berlin, 1836 (pp. 1-220). Translated by Bishop Thirlwall, London, 1825. James Smith (of Jordanhill, d. 1867): Dissertation on the Life and Writings of St. Luke, prefixed to his Voyage and
Philip Schaff—History of the Christian Church, Volume I

The First Ministry of the Baptist.
(LUKE III.) "Hark, what a sound, and too divine for hearing, Stirs on the earth and trembles in the air! Is it the thunder of the Lord's appearing? Is it the music of his people's prayer? "Surely He cometh, and a thousand voices Shout to the saints, and to the deaf and dumb; Surely He cometh, and the earth rejoices, Glad in his coming who hath sworn, I come." F. W. H. MYERS. The Preaching of Repentance--His Power as a Preacher--His Message--Warning of Impending Judgment--The Wages of Sin Thirty
F. B. Meyer—John the Baptist

Pontius Pilate
BY REV. PRINCIPAL WALTER F. ADENEY, D.D. In spite of the fact that he condemned Jesus to death, the Gospels present us a more favourable portrait of Pontius Pilate than that which we derive from secular historians. Josephus relates incidents that reveal him as the most insolent and provoking of governors. For instance, the Jewish historian ascribes to him a gratuitous insult, the story of which shows its perpetrator to have been as weak as he was offensive. It was customary for Roman armies to
George Milligan—Men of the Bible; Some Lesser-Known

LESSON I. 1. In what state was the Earth when first created? 2. To what trial was man subjected? 3. What punishment did the Fall bring on man? 4. How alone could his guilt be atoned for? A. By his punishment being borne by one who was innocent. 5. What was the first promise that there should be such an atonement?--Gen. iii. 15. 6. What were the sacrifices to foreshow? 7. Why was Abel's offering the more acceptable? 8. From which son of Adam was the Seed of the woman to spring? 9. How did Seth's
Charlotte Mary Yonge—The Chosen People

Quirinius the Governor of Syria
WE come now to the last serious difficulty in Luke's account of the "First Enrollment". He says that it occurred while Quirinius was administering Syria. The famous administration of Syria by Quirinius lasted from about AD. 6 to 9; and during that time occurred the" Great Enrollment" and valuation of property in Palestine. [94] Obviously the incidents described by Luke are irreconcilable with that date. There was found near Tibur (Tivoli) in AD. 1764 a fragment of marble with part of an inscription,
Sir William Mitchell Ramsay—Was Christ Born in Bethlehem?

One Argument which Has Been Much Relied Upon but not More than Its Just Weight...
One argument which has been much relied upon (but not more than its just weight deserves) is the conformity of the facts occasionally mentioned or referred to in Scripture with the state of things in those times, as represented by foreign and independent accounts; which conformity proves, that the writers of the New Testament possessed a species of local knowledge which could belong only to an inhabitant of that country and to one living in that age. This argument, if well made out by examples, is
William Paley—Evidences of Christianity

Second Stage of the Roman Trial. Jesus Before Herod Antipas.
(Jerusalem. Early Friday Morning.) ^C Luke XXIII. 6-12. ^c 6 But when Pilate heard it [when he heard that Jesus had begun his operations in Galilee], he asked whether the man were a Galilaean. 7 And when he knew that he was of Herod's jurisdiction [Herod was tetrarch of Galilee--Luke iii. 1], he sent him unto Herod, who himself also ["also" includes both Pilate and Herod, neither of whom lived at Jerusalem] was at Jerusalem in these days. ["These days" refers to the passover season. Pilate had come
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Messianic Call
Matt. iii. 13 TO iv. 11; Mark i. 9-13; Luke iii. 21, 22; iv. 1-13; John i. 30-34 85. In the circle about John all classes of the people were represented: Pharisees and Sadducees, jealous of innovation and apprehensive of popular excitement; publicans and soldiers, interested in the new preacher or touched in conscience; outcasts who came in penitence, and devout souls in consecration. The wonder of the new message was carried throughout the land and brought great multitudes to the Jordan. Jesus
Rush Rhees—The Life of Jesus of Nazareth

Private Property and the Common Good
Private Property Must Serve Social Welfare A glance across history or a simple acquaintance with human life in any community will show us that private property is at the same time a necessary expression of personality and stimulator of character, and, on the other hand, a chief outlet and fortification of selfishness. Every reformatory effort must aim to conserve and spread the blessings of property, and every step toward a better social order will be pugnaciously blocked by its selfish beneficiaries.
Walter Rauschenbusch—The Social Principles of Jesus

Not that Light, but a Witness.
(John I. 8.) "Nothing resting in its own completeness Can have worth or beauty; but alone Because it leads and tends to farther sweetness, Fuller, higher, deeper than its own. "Spring's real glory dwells not in the meaning, Gracious though it be, of her blue hours; But is hidden in her tender leaning To the summer's richer wealth of flowers." A. A. PROCTOR. Resentment of the Sanhedrim--The Baptist's Credentials--Spiritual Vision--"Behold the Lamb of God"--The Baptism of the Spirit The baptism and
F. B. Meyer—John the Baptist

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