SUMMARY.--John's Preaching and Baptism.
John's Witness of Christ.
Herod and Herodias.
The Anointing and the Voice from Heaven.
The Genealogy of Christ.
1. In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar.
Tiberius, the second Roman emperor, was the step-son and successor of
Augustus Cæsar (see
Tiberius was raised to the throne A.U.C. 764 (after the founding of
Rome), and the fifteenth year would be A.U.C. 779. Counting back thirty
years from this, brings us to A.U.C. 749, which is about four years
earlier than the common date of the birth of Jesus and before the death
of Herod the king. See notes on
Pilate being governor of Judea. Archelaus, the son of "Herod
the king," was deposed after ten years of rule, and Judea made a
province under the rule of a Roman governor. Pontius Pilate was the
fifth of these.
Herod being tetrarch of Galilee. See notes on the Herods under
It was this Herod, Herod Antipas, who murdered John the Baptist.
His brother Philip. This was not the husband of Herodias, but
another brother Philip.
Abilene. North of Palestine.
2. In the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas. The Jews
recognized but one high priest, who held his office for life, but Annas
was removed from the office by the Roman governor, Pilate, and his
son-in-law, Caiaphas, appointed in his place. Hence, both were called
high priests at the same time.
The word of God came unto John. He was called to begin his
7. Offspring of vipers. Spoken to the Pharisees
10, 11. What shall we do? Note, (1) Those that are baptized
must be taught; and those who have 
baptized them are concerned, as they have opportunity, to teach them
(Matt. 28:19, 20).
(2) In John's answer we have his moral system. His morality differs
from that of the Lord, inasmuch as the former lays more stress upon the
regulation of the external conduct, while Jesus lays more upon that of
the inner life.
12. Publicans. The gatherers of the Roman tax.
14. And the soldiers. Whether these were Jews or Romans cannot
be ascertained. It is not improbable that, as Judea was a Roman
province, they were Jews or Jewish proselytes in the service of Herod
Antipas or Philip, and so were really in the Roman service.
23-38. The Genealogy. For a comparison of the genealogies given
by Matthew and Luke, see notes on 
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.