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Verses 23-35

Luke 3:23-35. And Jesus 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: began to be about thirty years of age The Greek here, και αυτος ην ο Ιησους ωσει ετων τριακοντα αρχομενος , should rather be rendered, (as many commentators understand it,) And Jesus, beginning, (or, when beginning,) namely, the public exercise of his ministry, was about thirty years of age. “I can recollect no sufficient authority,” says Dr. Doddridge, “to justify our translators in rendering the original words, began to be about thirty years of age, or, was now entering on his thirtieth year. To express that sense, it should have been ην αρχομενος ειναι , &c., as Epiphanius, probably by a mistake, has quoted it.” The author of the Vindication of the beginning of Matthew’s and Luke’s gospel, [with whom Dr. Campbell agrees,] extremely dissatisfied with all the common versions and explications of these words, would render them, And Jesus was obedient, or lived in subjection [ to his parents ] about thirty years; and produces several passages from approved Greek writers, in which αρχομενος signifies subject. But in all those places it is used in some connection or opposition, which determines the sense; and therefore none of them are instances parallel to this. Luke evidently uses αρχομενων , Luke 21:28, in the sense we suppose it to have here: and since he had before expressed our Lord’s subjection to his parents by the word υποτασσομενος , Luke 2:51, there is great reason to believe he would have used the same word here, had he intended to give us the same idea. The meaning of the evangelist, therefore, evidently is, that Jesus, having received those different testimonies from his Father, from the Spirit, and from John the Baptist, all given in presence of the multitudes assembled to John’s baptism, began his ministry when he was about thirty years old, the age at which the priests and Levites entered on their sacred ministrations in the temple. Both Jesus and John deferred entering on their public ministry till they were that age, because the Jews would not have received any doctrines from them if they had begun it sooner. Our great Master, as it seems, attained not 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 proportionate zeal, despatches the 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.

Being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli That is, the son-in-law: for Eli was the father of Mary. So Matthew writes the genealogy of Joseph, descended from David by Solomon; Luke that of Mary, descended from David by Nathan. In the genealogy of Joseph (recited by Matthew) that of Mary is implied, the Jews being accustomed to marry into their own families. The genealogy inserted here by Luke will appear with a beautiful propriety, if the place which it holds in his history be attended to. “It stands immediately after Jesus is said to have received the testimony of the Spirit, declaring him the Son of God, that is to say, Messiah; and before he entered on his ministry, the first act of which was, his encountering with and vanquishing the strongest temptation of the arch enemy of mankind. Christ’s genealogy by his mother, who conceived him miraculously, placed in this order, seems to insinuate that he was the seed of the woman, which, in the first intimation of mercy vouchsafed to mankind after the fall, was predicted to break the head of the serpent. Accordingly Luke, as became the historian who related Christ’s miraculous conception, carries his genealogy to Adam, who, together with Eve, received the fore-mentioned promise concerning the restitution of mankind by the seed of the woman.” Macknight.

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