The Gospels also indicate that many believed that Elijah would come first, and then the Christ ( Matt 11:14 ; 17:10 ; Mark 6:15 ; 9:11 ; Luke 9:8 ). John did not lack boldness as he challenged even Herod to repent of his sins. John the Baptist was conceived in a miraculous way. John was a Nazarite from his birth ( Luke 1:15 ; Numbers 6:1-12 ). He denounced the Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned them of the folly of trusting to external privileges ( Luke 3:8 ). And even as he attracted the attention of the crowds, he never lost sight of his mission—to point people to Christ. Compiled & Edited by BST & Crosswalk Staff, Compiled & Edited by BibleStudyTools Staff, Bible Dictionaries - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - John the Baptist, Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Bible Dictionaries - Easton's Bible Dictionary - John the Baptist, Bible Dictionaries - Smith's Bible Dictionary - John the Baptist, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. The Bible says in Luke 1:41, when the two expectant mothers met, the baby leaped within Elizabeth's womb as she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Matthew 14:1-12, Mark 6:14-29, Luke 9:7-9. His death is supposed to have occurred just before the third passover, in the course of the Lords ministry. John the Baptist is one of the most distinctive characters in the New Testament. St. John the Baptist, (born 1st decade bce, Judaea, Palestine, near Jerusalem—died 28–36 ce; feast day June 24), Jewish prophet of priestly origin who preached the imminence of God’s Final Judgment and baptized those who repented in self-preparation for it; he is revered in the Christian church as the forerunner of Jesus Christ. The fact that Jesus was not an ascetic, and that he actively sought the fellowship of publicans and sinners may have been an offense to John and his disciples ( Matt 9:9-17 ; Matt 11:18-19 ; Luke 7:33-34 ).Jesus may have rebuked John in this regard when he said, "Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me" ( Matt 11:6 ; Luke 7:23 ). The desert setting may underscore the stark nature of John's message or may be symbolic of Israel's struggle in the desert. He is also referenced several times throughout the book of Acts. The birth of John preceded by six months that of our Lord. Most everyone, believer and non-believer alike, has heard of John the Baptist. In fact, when Herod (who beheaded him) heard about Jesus he said 'John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.' John fulfilled Malachi's prophecy in a spiritual sense, rather than in a literal way. Who is “John” (John 1:19)? We even know about him from outside the New Testament. ), a fortress on the southern extremity of Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. "As a preacher, John was eminently practical and discriminating. In accordance with the criteria of the sociology of deviance, John's behavior and message could be classified as "deviant." 1:13), which derives from a Hebrew term signifying “Jehovah is gracious.”. The central theme of his ministry was, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" ( Matt 3:2 ).He was called "The Baptist" because his practice was to baptize those who responded to the message he proclaimed and sincerely repented of their sins ( Matt 3:1 ; Mark 6:14 ; Luke 7:20 ). John's death occurred apparently just before the third Passover of our Lord's ministry. (March, A.D. He ended nearly four hundred years of prophetic silence and paved the way for the Messiah. His father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of Abia ( 1 Chronicles 24:10 ), and his mother, Elisabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron ( Luke 1:5 ). also John 1:6-9 ; John 3:27-30 ). The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in Nazareth ( Matthew 3:5 ), and he came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized of John, on the special ground that it became him to "fulfil all righteousness" ( 3:15 ). In recent scholarship, the historical relationship between Jesus and John has been the subject of study. Self-love and covetousness were the prevalent sins of the people at large. He spent his early years in the mountainous tract of Judah lying between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea ( Matthew 3:1-12 ). Repentance Definition: What Does It Mean to Repent? Even the topographical setting of John's ministry may be of theological significance. How did Jesus view John and what did John make of Jesus' ministry? Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. John the Baptist is the prophet born to a priest named Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth: But the angel said to him, “Fear not, Zacharias, for your prayer has been heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John” (Luke 1:13). the "forerunner of our Lord." John fully accepted his subordinate role to Christ. Such belief is also found in the extra biblical accounts of Sirah 48:10 and 2 Esdras 6:2f. Apollos was from Alexandria in North Africa and at one point knew only of the baptism of John ( Acts 18:24-25 ). Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. In this sense he too joined in the popular speculations about the identity of Christ. R. E. Brown, New Testament Essays; M. Cleary, IT Q54 (1988): 211-27; M. Faierstein, JBL100 (1981): 75-86; R. C. Kazmierski, Bib 68(1987): 22-40; J. Lambrecht, NTS38 (1992): 357-84; P. J. Meier, JBL99/3(1980): 383-405; J. R. Miller, NTS 34 (1988): 611-22; S. J. Nortje, Neotestamentica23 (1989): 349-58; P. Parker, Perspectives in Religious Studies8 (1981): 4-11;J. He was shut up in the castle of Machaerus (q.v. His doctrine and manner of life roused the entire south of Palestine, and the people from all parts flocked to the place where he was, on the banks of the Jordan. A court festival was kept at Machaerus in honor of the kings birthday. ( Luke 1:15 ) Dwelling by himself in the wild and thinly-peopled region westward of the Dead Sea, he prepared himself for the wonderful office to which he had been divinely called. There he baptized thousands unto repentance. He is one of the most significant and well-known figures in the Bible. The early Christian traditions that form the Gospel material on John are also the focus of modern research. Isaiah 53 Interpretations. Unlike Jesus, he expected people to come to him, rather than he going to them ( Matt 3:5 ). [JESUS] From incidental notices we learn that John and his disciples continued to baptize some time after our Lord entered upon his ministry. During his lifetime he had a following of disciples who shared common practices such as fasting and prayers ( Matt 9:14 ; John 1:35-37 ; 4:1-2 ). After supper the daughter of Herodias came in and danced the king by her grace that he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she should ask. On them, therefore, he enjoined charity and consideration for others. His dress was that of the old prophets --a garment woven of camels hair, ( 2 Kings 1:8 ) attached to the body by a leathern girdle. See ( John 3:23 ; 4:1 ; Acts 19:3 ) We gather also that John instructed his disciples in certain moral and religious duties, as fasting, ( Matthew 9:14 ; Luke 5:33 ) and prayer. And finally, the psychological and sociological analysis of John is of interest here. He was known familiarly as “the Baptist” (bearing no relation to the modern sect), which simply means “an immerser, one who administers the rite of immersion” (see Mt. Salome, prompted by her abandoned mother, demanded the head of John the Baptist. He willingly confronted the hypocrisy of the religious establishment ( Matt 3:7 ; Luke 3:7 ). He lived with a boldness of purpose throughout his uncompromising mission, willing to die a martyr for his stand against sin. In his darkest hour he questioned if Jesus was the One who was to come, or whether there would be another. And the authenticity of repentance was evidenced in very practical terms: share with those in need, eliminate graft, and prohibit extortion ( Luke 3:11-14 ). John was ordained to be a Nazarite from his birth. The remarkable ministry of John the Baptist included the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. The angel Gabriel had already foretold the miraculous birth and prophetic ministry of John the Baptist to his father Zechariah. In this way Jesus acknowledges the central role that John played in God's plan of salvation. (March, A.D. Mary Fairchild is a full-time Christian minister, writer, and editor of two Christian anthologies, including "Stories of Cavalry. John was that voice crying in the wilderness preparing the way for the coming Messiah ( Isa 40:3 ; Matt 3:3 ; Mark 1:2-3 ; Luke 3:3-6 ).