Tiberius Caesar

Caesar Tiberius Claudius Nero

Caesar Tiberius
LUKE 3 COMMENTARY

Luke 3:1-2 Tiberius Caesar

Luke 3:3-6 Baptism of Repentance
LUKE 3:1-2  1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip being tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias being tetrarch of Abilene, 2 when Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

Who is “Tiberius Caesar” (Luke 3:1)?
Tiberius Claudius Nero, better known as Tiberius Caesar, was the second Roman Emperor, after Augustus Caesar. When his son-in-law died, Augustus Caesar forced Tiberius, who was one of his best generals, to divorce his wife and marry his widowed daughter instead. When Augustus died in 14 AD, Tiberius, whom Augustus had also officially adopted to line him up as his successor, became Caesar at 55 years of age, and ruled until his death in 37 AD. “The fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar” (Luke 1:1) would have been 28 or 29 AD.

Who is “Pontius Pilate” (Luke 3:1)?
See Pontius Pilate.

Where are “Judea” and “Galilee” (Luke 3:1)?
See Judea.

What is a “tetrarch” (Luke 3:1)?
It's a Greek word that literally means “ruler of one-quarter.” After conquering a nation, the Romans weakened it by splitting it into four parts and appointing a tetrarch over each to govern as Rome's vassal. Over time, the Romans also split conquered nations into fewer or more than four parts, but the term “tetrarch” stuck and became a general title for the person appointed to govern any such part.

Who are “Herod” and “Philip,” and where are “Iturea” and “Trachonitis” (Luke 3:1)?
This Herod was Herod Antipas, Philip was his half-brother (different mothers), and Iturea and Trachonitis lay northeast of Galilee (see Herod Archelaus).

Who is “Lysanias” (Luke 3:1)?
Lysanias was the Greek tetrarch of “Abilene” (Luke 3:1), which lay north of “Iturea” (Luke 3:1) in what is Syria today.

Who are “Annas and Caiaphas” (Luke 3:1)?
See Annas and Caiaphas.

Who is “John the son of Zacharias” (Luke 3:2)?
See John the Baptist.