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Luke 3:21-4:1 (ESV)

Posted on January 03, 2021  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 3:21-4:1 (ESV) - Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness...

Question to consider: Why does Luke’s genealogy go all the way back to Adam?

Sometimes I find chapters, verses, and section headings in my Bible useful and sometimes rather annoying. Because of them, people tend to mentally divide the passages into isolated sections and then miss the intended context. This is why I take all of the headings and verse references out of the passages I post to try and group passages together in their natural setting. Luke had just finished mentioning John the Baptist’s work of baptizing all of the Jews who came out to repent and be cleansed before the coming of their Messiah. After everyone else was baptized, John baptized Jesus and two things happened. The first is that the Holy Spirit descended on Him, and the second is that the Father proclaimed from heaven that Jesus was His beloved Son.

Luke first deals with Jesus being God’s beloved Son in contrast to the son of Joseph. People get hung up on the different genealogy presented by Matthew and fail to see the purpose of this one. Some commentators think this genealogy is through Mary (with Heli being Joseph’s father-in-law) since Luke was interviewing Mary and Matthew’s genealogy was the physical line of Joseph to prove that legally, Jesus was from the line of Kings centered on David. You can tell that David is the center of Matthew’s genealogy because he introduces Jesus as the son of David and then lists 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 generations from David to the Babylonian exile, and 14 generations from the exile to Jesus. Using Hebrew gematria (process of assigning a numeric code to a name or phrase), we see that David in Hebrew is: Dalet (4) Vav (6) Dalet (4) = 14.

The purpose of Luke’s genealogy though is to prove to Theophilus that Jesus is both Son of God and son of man so he traces His literal, physical line through Mary all the way back to Adam. This is significant because just as Adam was tempted in the garden by the devil so Jesus (the second Adam), after the Holy Spirit descends on Him at His baptism, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Jesus would succeed where the first Adam had failed.


Dear heavenly Father, we thank You for sending Jesus to be our second Adam. For just as death entered into the world through the sin of the first Adam, so life came through Christ, the greater Adam. Help us to cling to His perfect righteousness instead of our own failed attempts at righteousness so that we can be with You. Amen.