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Luke  ◦   Chapter 3

1It was the fifteenth year of the reign of Caesar Tiberius. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea; Herod Antipas — a son of Herod the Great — was ruler (tetrarch) in Galilee, and his brother Philip ruled in Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias ruled in Abilene;2and Annas was the former high priest and father-in-law of Caiaphas, the current official high priest. It was during this time that John, the son of Zechariah, was in the desert and received a message and mission from God.3He went throughout the country all over the Jordan valley, preaching a message of immersion in truth, a turning away from distortions about God, and a cleansing of hearts from fear and selfishness — 4As God's spokesman Isaiah wrote: "A voice calling in a desolate land, 'Prepare your minds, untwist your hearts, and make ready for the Lord to come with his healing Remedy.5To those who partake of the Remedy, every gutter of sin will be filled, every mountain of pride will be made low, the crooked thoughts and mental paths will be made straight, and rough character will be smoothed.6And all humanity will see God's healing Remedy.'"

7It had become quite popular to be immersed in water by John, so John challenged the crowds: "You children of that poisonous snake! Who told you that you would be safe from destruction by running here?8Rituals change nothing! You must experience a new heart motivated by love, and produce fruits consistent with a heart of love. And don't begin claiming false security by saying, 'We are genetic descendants of Abraham.' God could take these stones and create biological children of Abraham.9The ax is about to fall; the time to choose is now. Every person who does not–like a green tree–produce good fruit, will–like a dead tree–be cut down and thrown into the fire."

10"What do we need to do?" the crowd begged.

11John told them, "Live in harmony with God's design of love — Live to Give. The person with two coats should give one to a person who has none, and those who have food should share with those who are hungry."

12When tax collectors came to be immersed in water, they asked John, "Teacher, what should we do?"

13John told them, "Be honest in all your dealings. Don't collect one cent more than is required."

14Then some soldiers asked, "What are we supposed to do?" John instructed them, "You are in a position of trust and responsibility, so carry out your duties honorably. Don't use your power to exploit, extort, abuse, or accuse people falsely; be honest in all your dealings and be content with your wages."

15The people were anticipating the Messiah and were wondering in their hearts if John might be him.16John didn't let that idea take root. He said to them all, "I immerse you in water, but One more powerful than I is coming. I am not even worthy to untie his shoes. He will immerse your minds and hearts with the Holy Spirit and fill you with the fires of truth and love.17In his hand is the power to dissect evil and selfishness from hearts and minds, remove all defects, and purify the character with the unquenchable fire of truth and love."18John spoke many more words of encouragement and instruction, and taught them about the Remedy.

19But John, motivated by love and a desire to see Herod the tetrarch partake of the Remedy, rebuked him, making it clear that his selfish actions — including the taking of Herodias, his brother's wife — were deadly, destroying his mind and warping his character.20But Herod chose to add another act of selfishness to his long list of evil — he locked John in prison.

21When the crowds were being immersed in water by John, Jesus also was immersed. And while he was talking with his Father, heaven opened up22and the Holy Spirit came down and rested upon him in the physical form of a dove. And a voice was heard from heaven, saying: "You are my Son. I love you, and in you is my complete pleasure."

23Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was commonly believed to be the son of Joseph, who was son of Heli,24son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Melki, son of Jannai, son of Joseph,25son of Mattathias, son of Amos, son of Nahum, son of Esli, son of Naggai,26son of Maath, son of Mattathias, son of Semein, son of Josech, son of Joda,27son of Joanan, son of Rhesa, son of Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, son of Neri,28son of Melki, son of Addi, son of Cosam, son of Elmadam, son of Er,29son of Joshua, son of Eliezer, son of Jorim, son of Matthat, son of Levi,30son of Simeon, son of Judah, son of Joseph, son of Jonam, son of Eliakim,31son of Melea, son of Menna, son of Mattatha, son of Nathan, son of David,32son of Jesse, son of Obed, son of Boaz, son of Salmon, son of Nahshon,33son of Amminadab, son of Ram, son of Hezron, son of Perez, son of Judah,34son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, son of Terah, son of Nahor,35son of Serug, son of Reu, son of Peleg, son of Eber, son of Shelah,36son of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamech,37son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalalel, son of Kenan,38son of Enosh, son of Seth, son of Adam, the son of God.