Luke 3
Contemporary English Version

The Preaching of John the Baptist

(Matthew 3.1-12; Mark 1.1-8; John 1.19-28)

1For 15 years+ Emperor Tiberius had ruled that part of the world. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod+ was the ruler of Galilee. Herod's brother, Philip, was the ruler in the countries of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was the ruler of Abilene. 2Annas and Caiaphas were the Jewish high priests.+

At that time God spoke to Zechariah's son John, who was living in the desert. 3So John went along the Jordan Valley, telling the people, “Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven.” 4 Isaiah the prophet wrote about John when he said,

“In the desert

someone is shouting,

‘Get the road ready

for the Lord!

Make a straight path

for him.

5Fill up every valley

and level every mountain

and hill.

Straighten the crooked paths

and smooth out

the rough roads.

6Then everyone will see

the saving power of God.’ ”

7 Crowds of people came out to be baptized, but John said to them, “You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from the coming judgment? 8 Do something to show that you really have given up your sins. Don't start saying you belong to Abraham's family. God can turn these stones into children for Abraham.+ 9 An ax is ready to cut the trees down at their roots. Any tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire.”

10The crowds asked John, “What should we do?”

11John told them, “If you have two coats, give one to someone who doesn't have any. If you have food, share it with someone else.”

12 When tax collectors+ came to be baptized, they asked John, “Teacher, what should we do?”

13John told them, “Don't make people pay more than they owe.”

14Some soldiers asked him, “And what about us? What do we have to do?”

John told them, “Don't force people to pay money to make you leave them alone. Be satisfied with your pay.”

15Everyone became excited and wondered, “Could John be the Messiah?”

16John said, “I am just baptizing with water. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to untie his sandals.+ He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17His threshing fork+ is in his hand, and he is ready to separate the wheat from the husks. He will store the wheat in his barn and burn the husks with a fire that never goes out.”

18In many different ways John preached the good news to the people. 19 But to Herod the ruler, he said, “It was wrong for you to take Herodias, your brother's wife.” John also said Herod had done many other bad things. 20Finally, Herod put John in jail, and this was the worst thing he had done.

The Baptism of Jesus

(Matthew 3.13-17; Mark 1.9-11)

21While everyone else was being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. Then as he prayed, the sky opened up, 22 and the Holy Spirit came down upon him in the form of a dove. A voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you.”

The Ancestors of Jesus

(Matthew 1.1-17)

23When Jesus began to preach, he was about 30 years old. Everyone thought he was the son of Joseph. But his family went back through Heli, 24Matthat, Levi, Melchi, Jannai, Joseph, 25Mattathias, Amos, Nahum, Esli, Naggai, 26Maath, Mattathias, Semein, Josech, Joda;

27Joanan, Rhesa, Zerubbabel, Shealtiel, Neri, 28Melchi, Addi, Cosam, Elmadam, Er, 29Joshua, Eliezer, Jorim, Matthat, Levi;

30Simeon, Judah, Joseph, Jonam, Eliakim, 31Melea, Menna, Mattatha, Nathan, David, 32Jesse, Obed, Boaz, Salmon, Nahshon;

33Amminadab, Admin, Arni, Hezron, Perez, Judah, 34Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Terah, Nahor, 35Serug, Reu, Peleg, Eber, Shelah;

36Cainan, Arphaxad, Shem, Noah, Lamech, 37Methuselah, Enoch, Jared, Mahalaleel, Kenan, 38Enosh, and Seth.

The family of Jesus went all the way back to Adam and then to God.


3.1 For 15 years: This was either a.d. 28 or 29, and Jesus was about 30 years old (see 3.23).
3.1 Herod: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
3.2 Annas and Caiaphas … high priests: Annas was high priest from a.d. 6 until 15. His son-in-law Caiaphas was high priest from a.d. 18 until 37.
3.8 children for Abraham: The Jewish people thought they were God's chosen people because of God's promises to their ancestor Abraham.
3.12 tax collectors: These were usually Jewish people who paid the Romans for the right to collect taxes. They were hated by other Jews who thought of them as traitors to their country and to their religion.
3.16 untie his sandals: This was the duty of a slave.
3.17 threshing fork: After Jewish farmers had trampled out the grain, they used a large fork to pitch the grain and the husks into the air. Wind would blow away the light husks, and the grain would fall back to the ground, where it could be gathered up.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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