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Baptism of Jesus


Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.
He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph.   Luke 3:23









779 A.U.C;  A.M. 4030;  A.D.  27



Lectionary   Epiphany 1A Epiphany 1B Epiphany 1C    



Quotes & Notes on:    Luke 3:23  

  • John Wesley's Notes:
    And Jesus was-John's beginning was computed by the years of princes: our Saviour's by the years of his own life, as a more august era.

    About thirty years of age-He did not now enter upon his thirtieth year (as the common translation would induce one to think) but he now entered on his public ministry: being of such an age as the Mosaic law required. Our great Master attained not, as it seems, to the conclusion of his thirty-fourth year. Yet what glorious achievements did he accomplish within those narrow limits of time! Happy that servant, who, with any proportionable zeal, despatches the great business of life; and so much the more happy, if his sun go down at noon. For the space that is taken from the labours of time, shall be added to the rewards of eternity.

    The son of Heli-That is, the son-in-law: for Heli was the father of Mary. So St. Matthew writes the genealogy of Joseph, descended from David by Solomon; St. Luke that of Mary, descended from David by Nathan. In the genealogy of Joseph (recited by St. Matthew) that of Mary is implied, the Jews being accustomed to marry into their own families.

  • Treasury of Scripture Knowledge:

    * thirty. Ge 41:46; Nu 4:3,35,39,43,47
    * being. Lu 4:22; Mt 13:55; Mr 6:3; Joh 6:42
    * which.
    The real father of Joseph was Jacob (Mt 1:16); but having married the daughter of Heli, and being perhaps adopted by him, he was called his son, and as such was entered in the public registers; Mary not being mentioned, because the Hebrews never permitted the name of a woman to enter the genealogical tables, but inserted her husband as the son of him who was, in reality, but his father-in-law. Hence it appears that Matthew, who wrote principally for the Jews, traces the pedigree of Jesus Christ from Abraham, through whom the promises were given to the Jews, to David, and from David, through the line of Solomon, to Jacob the father of Joseph, the reputed or legal father of Christ; and that Luke, who wrote for the Gentiles, extends his genealogy upwards from Heli, the father of Mary, through the line of Nathan, to David, and from David to Abraham, and from Abraham to Adam, who was the immediate "son of God" by creation, and to whom the promise of the Saviour was given in behalf of himself and all his posterity. The two branches of descent from David, by Solomon and Nathan, being thus united in the persons of Mary and Joseph, Jesus the son of Mary re-united in himself all the blood, privileges, and rights, of the whole family of David; in consequence of which he is emphatically called "the Son of David."

  • Adam Clarke's Commentary:

     Thirty years of age] This was the age required by the law, to which the priests must arrive before they could be installed in their office: see ACC for Nu 4:3.

    Being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph] This same phrase is used by Herodotus to signify one who was only reputed to be the son of a particular person: he was SUPPOSED to be this man's son.

    Much learned labour has been used to reconcile this genealogy with that in St. Matthew, Mt 1:1-17, and there are several ways of doing it; the following, which appears to me to be the best, is also the most simple and easy. For a more elaborate discussion of the subject, the reader is referred to the additional observations at the end of the chapter.

    MATTHEW, in descending from Abraham to Joseph, the spouse of the blessed virgin, speaks of SONS properly such, by way of natural generation: Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, &c. But Luke, in ascending from the Saviour of the world to GOD himself, speaks of sons either properly or improperly such: on this account he uses an indeterminate mode of expression, which may be applied to sons either putatively or really such. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being, as was SUPPOSED the son of Joseph-of Heli-of Matthat, &c. This receives considerable support from Raphelius's method of reading the original , being (when reputed the son of Joseph) the son of Heli, &c. That St. Luke does not always speak of sons properly such, is evident from the first and last person which he names: Jesus Christ was only the supposed son of Joseph, because Joseph was the husband of his mother Mary: and Adam, who is said to be the son of God, was such only by creation. After this observation it is next necessary to consider, that, in the genealogy described by St. Luke, there are two sons improperly such: i.e. two sons-in-law, instead of two sons.

    As the Hebrews never permitted women to enter into their genealogical tables, whenever a family happened to end with a daughter, instead of naming her in the genealogy, they inserted her husband, as the son of him who was, in reality, but his father-in-law. This import, bishop Pearce has fully shown, bears, in a variety of places-Jesus was considered according to law, or allowed custom, to be the son of Joseph, as he was of Heli.

    The two sons-in-law who are to be noticed in this genealogy are Joseph the son-in-law of Heli, whose own father was Jacob, Mt 1:16; and Salathiel, the son-in-law of Neri, whose own father was Jechonias: 1Ch 3:17, and Mt 1:12. This remark alone is sufficient to remove every difficulty. Thus it appears that Joseph, son of Jacob, according to St. Matthew, was son-in-law of Heli, according to St. Luke. And Salathiel, son of Jechonias, according to the former, was son-in-law of Neri, according to the latter.

    Mary therefore appears to have been the daughter of Heli; so called by abbreviation for Heliachim, which is the same in Hebrew with Joachim.

    Joseph, son of Jacob, and Mary; daughter of Heli, were of the same family: both came from Zerubbabel; Joseph from Abiud, his eldest son, Mt 1:13, and Mary by Rhesa, the youngest. See Lu 3:27.

    Salathiel and Zorobabel, from whom St. Matthew and St. Luke cause Christ to proceed, were themselves descended from Solomon in a direct line: and though St. Luke says that Salathiel was son of Neri, who was descended from Nathan, Solomon's eldest brother, 1Ch 3:5, this is only to be understood of his having espoused Nathan's daughter, and that Neri dying, probably, without male issues the two branches of the family of David, that of Nathan and that of Solomon, were both united in the person of Zerubbabel, by the marriage of Salathiel, chief of the regal family of Solomon, with the daughter of Neri, chief and heretrix of the family of Nathan. Thus it appears that Jesus, son of Mary, reunited in himself all the blood, privileges, and rights of the whole family of David; in consequence of which he is emphatically called, The son of David. It is worthy of being remarked that St. Matthew, who wrote principally for the Jews, extends his genealogy to Abraham through whom the promise of the Messiah was given to the Jews; but St. Luke, who wrote his history for the instruction of the Gentiles, extends his genealogy to Adam, to whom the promise of the Redeemer was given in behalf of himself and of all his posterity. See ACC for Mt 1:1, &c.

  • Family Bible Notes:

     Thirty years; the age at which priests entered on their public duties. Nu 4:3,47.

    As was supposed; as was generally thought by those who did not know the history of his birth. The son of Heli; in Mt 1:16, it is said, "Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary." Here Joseph is called "the son of Heli." Various ways have been proposed for reconciling the two genealogies of Matthew and Luke. One is, that Mary was the daughter of Heli; and on that account Joseph is called his son. Luke, it is then supposed, gives the genealogy of Mary, while Matthew gives that of Joseph.

  • 1599 Geneva Bible Notes:
    Christ's lineage, according to the flesh, is traced back even to Adam, and so to God, that it might appear that it was only he whom God promised to Abraham and David, and appointed from everlasting to his Church, which is composed of all sorts of men.

  • People's New Testament Commentary:

      The Genealogy. For a comparison of the genealogies given by Matthew and Luke, see notes on Mt 1:1-17. In those notes I have followed Godet, Van Oosterzee, and others in the view that Luke gives the line of Mary, and therefore the line of Christ. Jesus was only supposed to be the son of Joseph, but was the son (that is, descendant, grandson) of Heli, the father of Mary.

  • Robertson's Word Pictures:
     Jesus Himself (autos Isous). Emphatic intensive pronoun calling attention to the personality of Jesus at this juncture. When he entered upon his Messianic work. When he began to teach (archomenos). The words "to teach" are not in the Greek text. The Authorized Version "began to be about thirty years of age," is an impossible translation. The Revised Version rightly supplies "to teach" (didaskein) after the present participle archomenos. Either the infinitive or the participle can follow archomai, usually the infinitive in the Koin. It is not necessary to supply anything (Ac 1:22). Was about thirty years of age (n hsei etn triakonta). Tyndale has it right "Jesus was about thirty yere of age when he beganne." Luke does not commit himself definitely to precisely thirty years as the age of Christ. The Levites entered upon full service at that age, but that proves nothing about Jesus. God's prophets enter upon their task when the word of God comes to them. Jesus may have been a few months under or over thirty or a year or two less or more. Being Son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli (n huios hs enomizeto Isph tou Helei). For the discussion of the genealogy of Jesus see on "Mt 1:1"-17. The two genealogies differ very widely and many theories have been proposed about them. At once one notices that Luke begins with Jesus and goes back to Adam, the Son of God, while Matthew begins with Abraham and comes to "Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ" (Mt 1:16). Matthew employs the word "begot" each time, while Luke has the article tou repeating huiou (Son) except before Joseph. They agree in the mention of Joseph, but Matthew says that "Jacob begat Joseph" while Luke calls "Joseph the son of Heli." There are other differences, but this one makes one pause. Joseph, of course, did not have two fathers. If we understand Luke to be giving the real genealogy of Jesus through Mary, the matter is simple enough. The two genealogies differ from Joseph to David except in the cases of Zorobabel and Salathiel. Luke evidently means to suggest something unusual in his genealogy by the use of the phrase "as was supposed" (hs enomizeto). His own narrative in Lu 1:26-38 has shown that Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus. Plummer objects that, if Luke is giving the genealogy of Jesus through Mary, huios must be used in two senses here (son as was supposed of Joseph, and grandson through Mary of Heli). But that is not an unheard of thing. In neither list does Matthew or Luke give a complete genealogy. Just as Matthew uses "begat" for descent, so does Luke employ "son" in the same way for descendant. It was natural for Matthew, writing for Jews, to give the legal genealogy through Joseph, though he took pains to show in Mt 1:16,18-25 that Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus. It was equally natural for Luke, a Greek himself and writing for the whole world, to give the actual genealogy of Jesus through Mary. It is in harmony with Pauline universality (Plummer) that Luke carries the genealogy back to Adam and does not stop with Abraham. It is not clear why Luke adds "the Son of God" after Adam (Lu 3:38). Certainly he does not mean that Jesus is the Son of God only in the sense that Adam is. Possibly he wishes to dispose of the heathen myths about the origin of man and to show that God is the Creator of the whole human race, Father of all men in that sense. No mere animal origin of man is in harmony with this conception.

  • Albert Barnes' Commentary:

      Jesus began to be, &c. This was the age at which the priests entered on their office, Nu 4:3,47; but it is not evident that Jesus had any reference to that in delaying his work to his thirtieth year. He was not subjected to the Levitical law in regard to the priesthood, and it does not appear that prophets and teachers did not commence their work before that age.

    As was supposed. As was commonly thought, or perhaps being levitically reckoned as his son.

    {t} "son of Joseph" Mt 13:55; Joh 6:42


  • Jamieson-Faussett Brown:

    he began to be about thirty--that is, "was about entering on His thirtieth year." So our translators have taken the word (and so CALVIN, BEZA, BLOOMFIELD, WEBSTER and WILKINSON, &c.): but "was about thirty years of age when He began [His ministry]," makes better Greek, and is probably the true sense [BENGEL, OLSHAUSEN, DE WETTE, MEYER, ALFORD, &c.]. At this age the priests entered on their office (Nu 4:3).

    being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, &c.--Have we in this genealogy, as well as in Matthew's, the line of Joseph? or is this the line of Mary?--a point on which there has been great difference of opinion and much acute discussion. Those who take the former opinion contend that it is the natural sense of this verse, and that no other would have been thought of but for its supposed improbability and the uncertainty which it seems to throw over our Lord's real descent. But it is liable to another difficulty; namely, that in this case Matthew makes Jacob, while Luke makes "Heli," to be Joseph's father; and though the same man had often more than one name, we ought not to resort to that supposition, in such a case as this, without necessity. And then, though the descent of Mary from David would be liable to no real doubt, even though we had no table of her line preserved to us (see, for example, Lu 1:2-32, and see on JFB for Lu 2:5), still it does seem unlikely--we say not incredible--that two genealogies of our Lord should be preserved to us, neither of which gives his real descent. Those who take the latter opinion, that we have here the line of Mary, as in Matthew that of Joseph--here His real, there His reputed line--explain the statement about Joseph, that he was "the son of Hell," to mean that he was his son-in-law, as the husband of his daughter Mary (as in Ru 1:11,12), and believe that Joseph's name is only introduced instead of Mary's, in conformity with the Jewish custom in such tables. Perhaps this view is attended with fewest difficulties, as it certainly is the best supported. However we decide, it is a satisfaction to know that not a doubt was thrown out by the bitterest of the early enemies of Christianity as to our Lord's real descent from David. On comparing the two genealogies, it will be found that Matthew, writing more immediately for Jews, deemed it enough to show that the Saviour was sprung from Abraham and David; whereas Luke, writing more immediately for Gentiles, traces the descent back to Adam, the parent stock of the whole human family, thus showing Him to be the promised "Seed of the woman." "The possibility of constructing such a table, comprising a period of thousands of years, in an uninterrupted line from father to son, of a family that dwelt for a long time in the utmost retirement, would be inexplicable, had not the members of this line been endowed with a thread by which they could extricate themselves from the many families into which every tribe and branch was again subdivided, and thus hold fast and know the member that was destined to continue the lineage. This thread was the hope that Messiah would be born of the race of Abraham and David. The ardent desire to behold Him and be partakers of His mercy and glory suffered not the attention to be exhausted through a period embracing thousands of years. Thus the member destined to continue the lineage, whenever doubtful, became easily distinguishable, awakening the hope of a final fulfilment, and keeping it alive until it was consummated" [OLSHAUSEN].

  • Spurgeon Commentary:

    (No comment on this verse)

  • William Burkitt's Notes:

    At thirty years of age, the priests under the law entered upon their public office; accordingly Christ stays the full time prescribed by the law, before he undertakes his public ministry, and he gives the reason for it. That he might fulfil all righteousness. Mt 3:15 That is, the righteousness of the ceremonial law, which required persons to be of that age, before they entered upon that office; and also enjoined them to be baptized or washed in water, when they undertook their office. See Ex 29:4

    Learn hence, that whatever the law required in order to perfect righteousness, that Christ fulfilled in most absolute perfection, both in his own person, and also in the name of all believers.

    Observe farther, the title given to Joseph here: he is called the supposed father of Christ. Joseph was not his natural father, though so supposed by the Jews; but he was his legal father, being married to the Virgin when our Saviour was born; and he was his nursing father, that took care of him, and provided for him, though Christ sometimes showed both his parents, that, if he pleased, he could live without any dependence upon their care. See Lu 2:49

  • Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:

     Matthew's list of the forefathers of Jesus showed that Christ was the son of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed, and heir to the throne of David; but Luke shows that Jesus was the Seed of the woman that should break the serpent's head, and traces the line up to Adam, beginning with Eli, or Heli, the father, not of Joseph, but of Mary. The seeming differences between the two evangelists in these lists of names have been removed by learned men. But our salvation does not depend upon our being able to solve these difficulties, nor is the Divine authority of the Gospels at all weakened by them. The list of names ends thus, "Who was the son of Adam, the son of God;" that is, the offspring of God by creation. Christ was both the son of Adam and the Son of God, that he might be a proper Mediator between God and the sons of Adam, and might bring the sons of Adam to be, through him, the sons of God. All flesh, as descended from the first Adam, is as grass, and withers as the flower of the field; but he who partakes of the Holy Spirit of life from the Second Adam, has that eternal happiness, which by the gospel is preached unto us.

  • The Fourfold Gospel:

     And Jesus himself. Luke has been speaking about John the Baptist, he now turns to speak of Jesus himself.

    Was about thirty years of age. The age when a Levite entered upon God's service (Nu 4:3,47); at which Joseph stood before Pharaoh (Ge 41:46); and at which David began to reign (2Sa 5:4). Canon Cook fixes the date of Christ's baptism in the spring A.U.C. 780, Wiseler in the summer of that year, and Ellicott in the winter of that year.

    Being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli. 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.





Updated:   Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 03:52 AM



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