St. John the Baptist: More than a prophet
In Luke , Elizabeth is described as Mary's “kinswoman,” Most likely, it was a blood relationship, but neither a particularly close or distant one. At one point Jesus was discussing John the Baptist and said, “if you are. We know that John's life is peculiarly interwoven with that of Jesus from the moment he leaps in Elizabeth's womb when Mary and her. The exact relationship between Mary and Elizabeth isn't spelled out, but and when John saw Jesus coming to him to be baptized, he exclaimed, “Behold!.
John the Baptist by Pieter Bruegel the Elder The Gospel of Mark introduces John as a fulfilment of a prophecy from the Book of Isaiah in fact, a conflation of texts from Isaiah, Malachi and Exodus  about a messenger being sent ahead, and a voice crying out in the wilderness. John is described as wearing clothes of camel's hair, living on locusts and wild honey. John proclaims baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin, and says another will come after him who will not baptize with water, but with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus comes to John, and is baptized by him in the river Jordan. The account describes how; as he emerges from the water, the heavens open and the Holy Spirit descends on him 'like a dove'. A voice from heaven then says, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased. It is introduced by an incident where the Tetrarch Herod Antipashearing stories about Jesus, imagines that this is John the Baptist raised from the dead. It then explains that John had rebuked Herod for marrying Herodiasthe ex-wife of his brother named here as Philip.
Herodias demands his execution, but Herod, who 'liked to listen' to John, is reluctant to do so because he fears him, knowing he is a 'righteous and holy man'. The account then describes how Herod's daughter Herodias NRSV ; other translations refer to the girl as the daughter of Herodias dances before Herod, who is pleased and offers her anything she asks for in return.
When the girl asks her mother what she should request, she is told to demand the head of John the Baptist.
Reluctantly, Herod orders the beheading of John, and his head is delivered to her, at her request, on a plate. John's disciples take the body away and bury it in a tomb.
The Gospel wrongly identifies Antipas as 'King'  and the ex-husband of Herodias is named as Philip, but he is known to have been called Herod.
Since these texts are early and significant and the reading is ' difficult ', many scholars see this as the original version, corrected in later versions and in Matthew and Luke. Scholars have speculated about the origins of the story. Since it shows signs of having been composed in Aramaic, which Mark apparently did not speak, he is likely to have got it from a Palestinian source.
And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased. Some said, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him. For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.
But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. For when Herodias's daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.
And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. In Matthew[ edit ] St. John the Baptist Preaching, c. Matthew shortens the account of the beheading of John, and adds two elements: Where Mark has Herod killing John reluctantly and at Herodias' insistence, Matthew describes him as wanting John dead.
Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.
And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.
A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, "'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, "'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.
John the Baptist
A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him. But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.
Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus. English Standard Version Main article: Since he is described as a priest of the course of Abijah and Elizabeth as one of the daughters of Aaron this would make John a descendant of Aaron on both his father's and mother's side.
There is no mention of a family relationship between John and Jesus in the other Gospels, and Raymond E. Brown has described it as "of dubious historicity". The text briefly mentions that John is imprisoned and later beheaded by Herod, but the Gospel of Luke lacks the story of a step-daughter dancing for Herod and requesting John's head. His wife, whose name was Elizabeth, was also a descendant of Aaron. They were both righteous people, who lived blameless lives, guiding their steps by all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.
But they had no child, Elizabeth being barren; and both of them were advanced in years. One day, when Zechariah was officiating as priest before God, during the turn of his division, it fell to him by lot, in accordance with the practice among the priests, to go into the Temple of the Lord and burn incense; and, as it was the Hour of Incense, the people were all praying outside.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right of the Altar of Incense. Zechariah was startled at the sight and was awe-struck. But the angel said to him: He will be to you a joy and a delight; and many will rejoice over his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he will not drink any wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit from the very hour of his birth, and will reconcile many of the Israelites to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and with the power of Elijah, 'to reconcile fathers to their children' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, and so make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him. And now you will be silent and unable to speak until the day when this takes place, because you did not believe what I said, though my words will be fulfilled in due course. When he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision there.
But Zechariah kept making signs to them, and remained dumb. And, as soon as his term of service was finished, he returned home. John bluntly told people they would suffer the wrath of God if they did not change their ways.
John the Baptist - Wikipedia
Yet, when John preached, people felt that God was working among them, and huge crowds of people went into the wilderness to listen to him. John announced that the kingdom of God was coming near. He warned the people that being God's chosen people was not enough to save them from God's wrath. They must repent - change their sinful ways.
He warned the well-to-do that they must share their food and clothing with the less fortunate. He exposed the greed of tax collectors and warned them not to cheat people. He warned soldiers to be satisfied with their wages and not take advantage of people. John criticized King Herod for unlawfully marrying his brother's wife. This confrontation eventually led to John being beheaded on the king's order. John baptized people with water. It was a symbol of washing away the old sins and making a new beginning toward living a holy life.
Many people thought John was the Savior, the Messiah, that they had been waiting so many years for. But John told them, I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.
That one more powerful than John was Jesus. John, with his baptism and announcement of the coming kingdom of God, had prepared the way for Jesus. There was a spirit of revival and a new religious fervor among the people.
It was time for Jesus to begin His ministry. Jesus was about 30 years old by this time. So far, He had lived His life quietly as a carpenter. But one day Jesus came to the wilderness, where John was preaching, and asked to be baptized.
Why are You coming to me? After Jesus was baptized, as He was coming out of the water, the Spirit of God came down on Jesus like a dove from heaven. A voice from heaven was heard to say, "This is my beloved Son, and I am very pleased with Him. Jesus' mother, Mary, and John's mother, Elizabeth, were relatives Luke 1: