JOHN THE BAPTIST



15. for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:15-17)


JOHN THE BAPTIST WAS A FIERY OPEN-AIR PREACHER WHO CALLED PEOPLE TO REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED. TO PREPARE FOR THE COMING MESSIAH. JOHN ACTED IN THE ROLE OF ELIJAH, TO PREPARE PEOPLE FOR "THE GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD" (Mal 4:4-5).

JOHN'S BIRTH, LIKE THE OF JESUS, WAS MIRACULOUS. JOHN'S PARENTS HAD BEEN UNABLE TO HAVE CHILDREN AND WERE ELDERLY (LUKE 1:36). SO JOHN WAS RELATED TO JESUS. THE TWO MIRACULOUS BIRTHS NEAR THE SAME TIME SIGNALED THE BEGINNING OF GOD'S REDEEMING WORK.

JOHN WAS FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM BIRTH AND DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO PREPARING PEOPLE FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD (Luke 1:15-17). LIVING IN THE DESERT, JOHN BEGAN PREACHING WHEN HE WAS ABOUT THIRTY YEARS OLD. DRESSED LIKES A PROPHET AND SUBSISTING ON DESERT FOOD (LOCUSTS AND WILD HONEY, MATTHEW 3:4), HE CALLED EVERYONE TO REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED (MATTHEW 3:1-2). HE EVEN CASTIGATED THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS WHO CAME TO HEAR HIM (Matthew 3:7).

THOUGH JOHN RELUCTANTLY BAPTIZED JESUS, HE CONSIDERED JESUS, HIS SUPERIOR, THE ONE WHO WOULD " BAPTIZE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE (MATTHEW 3:11-17). HE ENCOURAGED HIS FOLLOWERS TO BECOME JESUS' DISCIPLES- AND MANY DID, INCLUDING ANDREW AND POSSIBLY JOHN, AS WELL AS APOLLOS AND THE TWELVE DISCIPLES AT EPHESUS (Acts 19:1-7).

HEROD ANTIPAS RECEIVED HARSH JUDGEMENT FROM JOHN BECAUSE OF HEROD'S UNLAWFUL MARRIAGE TO HERODIAS, HIS BROTHER PHILIP'S WIFE. TO PLEASE HERODIAS, HARID IMPRISONED JOHN AND THEN BEHEADED HIM (MARK 6:16-29).JOHN'S IMPRISONMENT MARKED THE BEGINNING OF JESUS' PUBLIC PREACHING.

SHORTLY BEFORE HIS DEATH, JOHN SEEMED TO BE CONFUSED ABOUT JESUS AND SENT MESSENGERS FROM PRISON TO ASK HIM IF HE REALLY WAS THE MESSIAH. JESUS DID NOT DO WHAT MOST PEOPLE ANTICIPATED THE NESSIAH TO DO. RATHER THAN BRINGING JUDGEMENT AND A VISIBLE KINGDOM, HE BROUGHT FORGIVENESS, HEALING, AND A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM. TO REASSURE JOHN, JESUS SPOKE OF THE MIRACULOUS THINGS GOD WAS DOING THROUGH HIM.

JOHN REMAINED FAITHFUL TO HIS CALLING THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE, CONSISTENTLY PREACHING REPENTANCE AND THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD, EVEN TO PEOPLE WHO HAD NO DESIRE TO HEAR IT. JESUS REFERRED TO JOHN AS ONE OF THE GREATEST SERVANTS OF GOD WHO HAD EVER LIVED, THE END OF A LONG LINE OF PROPHETS ANTICIPATING THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. JOHN STOOD ON THE THRESHOLD OF THE NEW AGE, PROCLAIMING ITS COMING TO ALL WHO WOULD HEAR (LUKE16:16).

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