He will be here soon!

He will be here soon!

Luke 3: 1-2

“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas …”

Luke mentions a group of leaders and he does so to show that the world at that time was run by evil men. And we are later shown that this is to be expected because Luke believes very much that they were appointed by the devil. In the temptation of Jesus Luke records how the devil has been given all the kingdoms of the world and he can appoint and remove as he wants, so he thinks.

So let’s look at these men

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus, simply called Tiberius, was the Roman emperor during the life of Jesus.  A Roman author of the first century called Pliny the Elder wrote of Tiberius “the gloomiest of men” He certainly was the most evil of men.

Bi-sexual, paedophile, a dark horrible man.

According to Josephus, he “made death the penalty for the slightest offenses” and people would be killed for even speaking ill of him.

He was considered borderline mad.

The term “old goat” meaning a lecherous old man preying on younger people was coined because of his sexual deviances.

Yet bizarrely, he was worshipped as a god, honoured by having the Sea of Galilee renamed after him and also Herod Antipas built a city in honour of him (John 6).

 

Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea and of nervous disposition in the north which wasn’t completely under Roman control, not like the south. The Jews hated him for his disgraceful behaviour towards their Temple. He brought in the Roman standards into their Holy City; put golden shields of names and images of Roman deities in the Temple and according to Luke in 13 he killed men in their Temple worship and mixed their blood with that of their animal sacrifice.

 

Herod the tetrarch of Galilee is the son of Herod the Great. Luke portrays Herod as a complete evil man. He arrests and beheads John and he seeks to kill Jesus, mocking him, dressing him up as a royal in one big humiliation of Jesus.

 

Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis has a ¼ of the Roman Empire to rule. He built Paneas, which became Ceasarea Philippi in honour of himself, this was a pagan shrine with every god and goddess you could imagine where the infamous rock of ages stood and where Jesus announced he would build his church (on that rock).

Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene ruled this tiny stretch of land.  It was a small but busy area without any defensive borders which had been competed over for many years.

Anna and Caiaphas both high priests. Anna was the father in law of Caiaphas. All his sons became high priests. It was a dynasty and a mafia. Caiaphas was responsible for the persecution of Christians.

So Luke begins:

At a time when

  • Evil was being honoured
  • The setting up idols and names to match the name of God.
  • The attempts to humiliate Jesus.
  • The worship of every false god imaginable.
  • There are battles over territory.
  • Religion was persecuting followers of Jesus.

 

It was tense and it was ruthless.

Their world was on a precipice.

It couldn’t go on any longer.

Something had to happen.

Someone had to come and sort it out.

The world was set for God to move.

Little did they realise at that time He had already come and positioned people where He wanted them. The preparation was nearly over.

He would soon burst onto centre stage.

He would be here soon.

It could be 2019.

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