“And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,” — Luke 1:76-78
Not too long before we read of the Nativity of Jesus in Luke chapter 2 we see what the Bible says about another birth. It is the birth of John the Baptist, son of Zacharias and Elisabeth and essentially the cousin to Jesus. John was born just a few months before Jesus and we know this because Mary the mother of Jesus and Elisabeth were pregnant at the same time (Luke 1:41). John was to go “prepare his ways”. John spent his life preaching about the coming Deliverer – the Messiah, Jesus.
John was born in the hill country of Judah and he lived in the wilderness of Judea. Every one of the books of the gospels mention John the Baptist. You can read more details about John in the book of Acts..
During Jesus ministry on earth, John actually baptized Him (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22). And Jesus considered John to be the greatest prophet ever born (Luke 7:28). Even so, John never considered himself to be greater than Jesus. If fact, John felt unworthy to even fasten Jesus’ shoes. He never claimed to be the Christ, in the book of John (not the same John) when he was challenged by the authorities he said:
… I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. (John 1:20-23)
John was beheaded for his preaching (Mark 6:14-29).
How wonderful that Jesus was announced by the prophet John. It is good to reflect upon all that happened to lead up to the birth of Jesus … and that included the birth of the one who would come before Him to announce His Kingship. John was the prophet of the Most High God.
Things to Think About and Do
1. Cite at least one Old Testament passage that foretells the coming of John.
2. In Mark 6, who ordered the beheading of John?
3. What does the Bible say about John in his adult years? e.g., what kind of clothes did he wear? what did he eat? where did he live?Photo: photobucket