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May 28, 2021 12:00 am
That is probably just telling us what the world was like who seems to be ruling the world. This world will disperse to again during this time love this word of the Lord came to John son of Zechariah in the will day to stand for God.
This is the perfect with politics and religion are in the sewer. This is the best time to speak to the world so today we come to Luke three in the beginning of Jesus adult ministry. I'm glad you tuned in because this message sets the stage concerning the political and religious climate that Jesus ministered in despite the hostile political situation and the corrupt religious scene. God knew the time was perfect for a true religious revival keep listing to discover that no matter the earthly circumstances and regardless of who has earthly power are great commission never changes the late 1400s Dominican friar by the name of savanna role would would raise solitary voice in Italy to confront the church of corruption and call the church leaders and congregations alike to genuine spiritual renewal for the most part he would be rejected, ignored, vilified the persecuted, but he persisted in preaching the gospel of repentance and in faith in Christ alone which we say so wonderfully earlier now in his day the offices from Pope to Cardinal.
The bishops were for the most part sold to the highest bidder. Immorality was commonplace among clergy openly flaunted in the congregations of the day community at large.
Samara preached against all of this pleading for return to God and eventually church leaders ordered his arrest.
He was interrupted one morning in his prayers and and imprisoned after a languishing first season in prison when he finally came to trial, the Pope sent a message through his commissioner, which read, and I quote, put savanna role at the death, even if he is another John the Baptist on May 23 1498. He was he was paying his body. Then set on fire and his ashes thrown into the river today is his legacy considers him one of the forerunners of the Reformation in the light of history and now approaching the text that introduces John the Baptist. I don't think savanna role would have minded being in the company and compared to this man struck me that in a similar context. John the Baptist is going to appear is going to step out on the stage of an incredibly complex, divisive, explosive political and religious scene. He will begin preaching. He will introduce what we could call the original Reformation the ultimate Reformation in the introduction of of the Redeemer. If you already take your Bibles and let's go back to where we left off for now.
In chapter 3 and changes the scenery here in chapter 3, instead of diving immediately in the John's message and his manuscript that the content of this preaching Luke.
Luke will give us the names of five Gentile political leaders to Jewish leaders and he will essentially give us a picture of what the world was like when John began his ministry and let me tell you ahead of time. Not sure this will surprise you. The world has not changed one bit is the nature of man as the greater tragedy here, as will see is that all of these men in the world at large will essentially miss the Messiah, they will completely ignore the message of John and the Messiah to come there so much here, by the way, in this political and religious setting that can encourage us send and really instruct us today.
So let's take time to slow down a little bit and do a little digging out the first good look does is reveal the political scenery by giving us the names of five men here who would be consider the powerbrokers of the first century world. These were the movers and shakers. These were the men who made it happen introduces them in verse one. There in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee. His brother Philip tetrarch of the region of is Gloria and Maria and track the needy's and then Licinius, who is tetrarch of Abilene day.
Now let's let's just sort of start at the bottom of the food chain here, politically and and work our way up to the top to work her way backwards. Licinius is mentioned last in this list is called tetrarch that literally means governor on the fourth.
He's going to be a governor over a small portion of the kingdom's biography is for the most part blurred over time.
There is no record of any accomplishment seems to have been somewhat mediocre in his leadership the next two tetrarch's our sons of Herod the great. You may remember that Herod the great was the one who ordered the death of all the little boys in the region of Bethlehem, hoping to kill the baby boy identified to him by the Magi as the king of the Jews. What would Herod the great dies during the child Jesus and by the way, realizes that he wasn't that great after all, Caesar Augustus provided Herod's rule or his little kingdom in the section and some of them were ruled over by Herod's three sons, one of his sons is not mentioned in this list.
More than likely because he was soon fired from his job and exiled by the Emperor for his cruelty to his subject. Nothing more is heard of him after his banishment. Another son is mentioned of Herod the great by Luke here. His name is Philip Mike Stevens Herod Philip.
He rules for nearly 30 years. He is up as a taste for beautiful palaces and entertainment. He built the town of Caesarea Philippi, which he named in honor of himself and all his humility. Another son mentioned here by Luke is simply referred to as Herod's fuller title is parented on the paths, he was a wicked a wicked ruler over Galilee. This is the Herod before whom Jesus will eventually stand trial. So he'll come up later that not one more one more thing to mention is that the stager regarding Herod about the time John the Baptist is beginning his ministry. This particular Herod ought to pass visits his brother Philip is mentioned here at the time. Herod is married to the daughter of an Arabian King, but while visiting Philip Herod begins an affair with Phillips wife eventually banishes his wife, the daughter of his Arabian King and Mary's Phillips wife John the Baptist will publicly condemn Herod as an adulterer, which will, you may know if you're older in the faith land John in jail for two years before Herod's new wife will get her revenge by having John executed all of this sounds like you know assorted soap opera. It is and and and only it only gets worse. Luke mentions next you'll notice Pontius pilot sees a familiar political leader to those of you that have read through the New Testament Pontius pilot becomes the governor of Judea around the time Jesus is in his early 20s is a weak leader is more interested in popularity than character finally listed first in the list and at the top of the food chain here in Luke chapter 3 verse one is is Tiberius sees the Roman Emperor Senokot is rising. He's a young man during Tiberius's reign in an he he writes that there was a frenzy passion for bringing accusation informants were everywhere. Safety was nowhere in the accused Seneca Road most often took their lives rather than await a trial they knew would be meaningless.
So this is this is a terrible political scene into which John the prophet is is about to enter and is frankly easy to forget that John will die in his early to mid 30s. This ministry is only the last 36 months before his death that the one thing to enter that kind of corrupt political world and tell the truth about political leaders to call one of them. An adulterer and it be wonderful if at the same time, he had the comfort of the batching and support of many in the religious world. John is he going to have that either. Luke wants us to know that fact. Luke now moves from the political scene to give us the religious scene. Notice the opening phrase of verse two is all happening during the high priesthood of honest and Thai office. Caiaphas and then I gotta tell you, this is where really begins to smell like dead fish there. There are not too high priests serving at the same time. So immediately you're told something's rotten here and it was in the old days, the high priest who let the community in a religious system. It was her hereditary and it was lifelong but with the Romans coming in the power of this office became a gift of power by the Roman governor to whoever would get along.
The best with him on us if use his position as a means to power, and personal wealth. He was incredibly wealthy by this time infective business enterprises of temple corded become known as the bizarre of honest, the marketplace belonging to us together, honest and Caiaphas were effectively running one author wrote a religious Mafia. This is the power behind the scenes in Caiaphas is doing the dirty work that could be Caiaphas who leads the Sanhedrin the condemn Jesus was that now maybe you can understand a little better.
Why was like a nuclear bomb dropping when Jesus goes into the temple and does what he turns over, there's this table to check some all-out with her animals. They're not going to allow anybody to ruin the system interrupt the biggest thing going on. Why because they love the people who come to worship God.
No was supposed to be there heart because they love God and they want to delete people correctly worship that was their job. No, they wanted the power and they wanted the proceeds only tell you they wanted the money religious doing here is pulling the mask off and telling us that honest was the godfather Caiaphas was the enforcer with that is the backdrop. Luke is telling us what the world was like who seems to be ruling the world and attended this world. Notice verse two again. During this time love this the word of the Lord came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness terrible day to stand for God, no, this is the perfect time when politics and religion are in the sewer. This is the best time to speak to the world the truth about salvation is message will have three components look at it briefly could circle three words in your Bible that that reflect the major components of his preaching baptism. Repentance and forgiveness and more on all of those later.
But I want you to notice verse three he went into all the region around the Jordan proclaiming a baptism of repentance for that is in view of the Greek word ice in view of the forgiveness of sins, and keep in mind this baptism is not the baptism of the New Testament Christian Johnny is an Old Testament prophet even though you're in the New Testament portion of your Bible.
The New Testament has not yet begun begins with the ascension of Christ on the descent of the Holy Spirit. He's an Old Testament prophet in his unique sign of ministry is that if someone is inwardly repenting of their sin and believing his message of repentance there to prove their humility by being as it were, ceremonially plan and this is why it was so shocking and frankly so infuriating to Jewish leaders who were scandalized by this wife because Gentiles were the ones immersed in water when they became a proselyte to Judaism of the Gentile dogs we we went down to represent their ceremonial cleansing the Jewish people baptize the Gentile people, Jews were baptized and line up with them you're on the same level as everybody else. You're not already in as it were. You have to demonstrate your humility and repentance by following this sign of this Old Testament prophet to them. It was astonishing to them. It was entirely demeaning. John assures them that you notice here with that word. Perhaps you circle the forgiveness was actually been unthinkable and was just as astonishing that would have been unthinkable to the average Jew and Gentile, and encouraging the God God will forgive them if they come with repented hearts mean, what about all the sacrifices and although all the rituals and all the temple of the gods and goddesses and all the rules and everything that religion had imposed the religions of this day oppress the people with with terrible fear of the Roman gods of the Pantheon were just as immoral just as cruel justice just as vindictive the religion of the Jewish people become this long list of impossible rules and regulations and they think they think they agonize over how heavy a spoon could be developed into their mouth on the Sabbath day without offending God, it was oppressive.
They were staggering under the weight of guilt and shame and they knew absolutely nothing of peace with God and the forgiveness of sin, and John says you can have forgiveness.
By the way, beloved our world today is stack under the weight of guilt and shame in knowing nothing of the peace of God and the forgiveness of sin is why we get to it later, but in verse 18, Luke says that John is preaching good news is greatness. This is what people need to hear today. Forgiveness is possible through repentance and obedience to the word of God as God lays it out for Christ alone don't stop. Let me wrap up our study with three brief reminders that come from the setting politically and religiously wind. Remember this the progress of the gospel does not depend on the aid of world governments. John is not going to get any help from his political leaders. In fact, you know what none of us today would even imagine that John would have expected help from Tiberius or Pontius Pilate or Harriet. Why don't we.
Why do we troubled over the years of listening to the church speak as if it needs religious freedoms in order to be spiritually fruitful.
One of our problems. As believers, especially in a free country is that we forget so easily.
We are in exile here. We think were home were trying to get comfortable in this house we are headed for the father's house.
In the meantime, as citizens of heaven were signed by God to our particular Embassy on earth whether God is called you into the political world into the legislature on the school board on the town Council in the classroom in the operating room and in the shop in the board room wherever remember why you have been commissioned by God to that assignment. It is sacred for you to serve their serve God you're serving with integrity your salt and light you're representing his wife so that you can ultimately deliver to them the good is that their hope is not here it is in him was remember that. Secondly, remember the darkness and depravity in our culture can be the perfect setting for another Reformation you might think that over these last few years.
The these are the worst of times to live for Christ in God's God saying what a perfect time with with perfect time for you to deliver the truth.
Third, remember this the great tragedy is not that believers suffer temporarily, but that unbelievers will suffer eternally. Paul reminds the church for somebody to to pray for kings and the authorities. Why because they're all headed for an appointment with God for an eternal destiny in which there are no parliaments. There are no sentence.
There are no political parties. There is only the King of all Kings and the Lord above all Lords who will reign forever were all heading to an appointment with himself. He tells the church called us through Timothy to pray that they will be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth so that they can eventually worship this king of more, by the time Luke writes this gospel account, all seven men listed here have died all seven of seven missed the Messiah's Aeneas is unheard of. Again on this and Caiaphas will die proposed to the work of Christ.
Pontius Pilate will oversee the trial of Christ and his execution will try to wash his hands of it all, but he will never be able to forget that innocent when he condemned, he will grow historians tell us bitter and resentful and cruel and he will eventually be deposed by the Emperor and then take his own life and the Emperor Tiberius, you will live out the remaining years secluded in his island palace, named after his favorite God.
Jupiter he will surround himself with astrologers. You will be terrified of the future in his brief biography.
The biography of Tiberius which I read in order to understand better the setting here, David Grant, a secular historian, wrote this the end, the biography of Tiberius quote for years. In his final years, the Emperor Tiberius had prayed that the gods would grant him peace of mind unto the end of his life and his prayer was, not grant. The age of 79.
Imagine he's the Emperor during the entire ministry of Jesus, he will die unhappy afraid.peace any of God. All seven all of the sign missing him, ignoring him, rejecting him today if you know you're following him. Are you ready and available with a sense of joy and anticipation to stand for him.
New Orleans stick this. He just might be ready to begin Reformation.
I'm so glad you were with us today here on wisdom for the heart. Our daily Bible teacher is Stephen Davey are ministry wisdom international publishes a monthly magazine each month. Stephen offers important insight into topics and issues that will help you think biblically.
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