John begins his work
1: Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 2: Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3: And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 4: As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5: Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6: And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. 7: Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8: Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 9: And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 10: And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? 11: He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. 12: Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 13: And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. 14: And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. 15: And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 16: John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. 18: And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people. 19: But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 20: Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.
Luke begins this passage with a list of rulers and Religious leaders. Some people dispute them but Luke, know doubt knew who he was speaking about. Then Luke describes the beginning of John’s ministry. Luke shows that John’s ministry was in fulfilment of prophetic scripture. The second part of Luke’s quotation is referring to the Messianic kingdom when every valley will be lifted up and every mountain will be lowered. The crooked paths will be made straight. This seems to be describing a major geological transformation of the earth prior to the Kingdom. In that day men will see the Messiah in person who is the salvation of God. John warns them of the wrath to come (the Tribulation) and he calls on Israel under law to bring their righteous acts before the Lord and to return unto the Lord with a whole heart. The people ask what there righteous deeds would be and he speaks of charity, restraint, kindness, honesty and contentment. He speaks of the fact that he is not the Messiah but he describes Christ’s acts of judgment prior to the kingdom. Herod who was reproved of John shut him in prison.