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This article is about John the Baptist. You may be looking for John the Apostle or another John.

John the Baptist was a preacher sent by God to prepare the people of Israel for the coming of Jesus Christ[1] and to witness and verify Him as the Messiah.[2] He was born to Zechariah[3] and Elizabeth,[4] despite their both being past the age of reproduction.[5]

As an adult, John lived the life of a recluse, preferring the wilderness to life in the city. He wore rough garments and ate the food found in the wilderness. But, when he spoke, crowds flocked out hear him.

Though he was popular, he pointed forward to someone he considered much better than himself: the promised Messiah. Once his main duty had passed, he continued to act as a prophet, announcing God's judgment on the leadership in Jerusalem.

This lead to his being thrown into prison, where he continued to preach against the sin of the one who had had him thrown into prison. His preaching against the king's relationship with his brother's wife. It was she who had him beheaded.




Two prophets, one pre-exilic and one post-exilic, told of a prophet to come. Back at the end of the long reign of Uzziah, one of Judah's best kings, the prophet Isaiah began a long ministry among a people that was fast becoming a godless society. In the midst of that ministry — over 600 years before John's birth, he was prophesied by revelation from God[1] that "a voice ... in the wilderness..." would come preparing the way for God among His people.[Consider Rewording]

Years later, after the return of the Jews to Jerusalem and Judah, Malachi prophesied the return of Elijah before the "day of the LORD"[6] . This prophecy was primarily fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist.

Promise of Birth[]

A priest, Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth who were a priestly family,[7] were childless,[5] despite them being righteous in God's eyes.[8]

One time while Zechariah was on priestly duty, he was chosen to go into the Temple[9] and burn incense.

While people were praying outside[10] and the incense was being burnt, Gabriel[11] the Angel appeared.[12] In Zechariah's fear of the angel it was explained to him that him and Elizabeth's prayers were answered.[13] It was further explained that many would be happy for John's birth,[14] he would be God-honoring and would be filled with the Holy Spirit before birth (also he was not allowed to drink wine or alcohol),[15] and would bring many Israelites back to God.[16]

Also it was explained that he would fulfill the return of Elijah.[6] Zechariah questioned this due to the inability for him and his wife to conceive,[5] and therefore was silenced and couldn't speak.[17] After this Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months was secluded with John in the womb.[18]

John leaps in the womb[]

A month after Elizabeth's seclusion (the sixth month of her pregnancy),[19] Mary went to go visit her sister.[20] John being in the presence of Jesus being carried by his aunt leaped in his mother's womb for joy.[21]


Three months later, Elizabeth gave birth to John[22] and as promised many rejoiced in his birth.[14] After eight days they were going to circumcise John and were planning to name him after his father.[23] It was then prompted that he should be named John.[24] At first this caused confusion amongst family as there was no relative with that name.[25] Immediately thereafter Zechariah wrote on a tablet that his name was to be John,[26] and instantly he could speak again.[27]

After his birth, John grew in God even more and lived in the wilderness[28] until he ready to appear to Israel publicly.

John Baptizes many[]

After living in the wilderness, God called John[1] out of living in the wilderness and to begin preaching.[29] He wore clothes of camel hair, wore a leather belt and ate locusts and honey[30] as he traveled around the whole Jordan region.[31] People came to John and after turning back to God were baptized in the Jordan River.[32] Henceforth he was given the title "the baptist" since he baptized many.

When John the Baptist saw the Pharisees[33] and Sadducees he compared to vipers,[34] and rebuked[35] them.[36]

Many responded of what they should do then in order to please God.[37] John responded to them that those who extra shirts should give to those without,[38] tax collectors should only take what is due,[39] and to be content with their wages.[40]

Soon many began to wonder if John the Baptist himself was the messiah.[41] John told the people that he was not the Messiah.[42] So the Jewish leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees) began to ask who was and if he was Elijah. John replied to them he wasn't Elijah[43] (rather he was a symbolic representation of Elijah, not him in human form) and wasn't a prophet.[44] The Jewish leaders still wondered who he was and so John replied to them[45] that he was the one that was to make the way for Christ.[1] The Jewish leaders still wondered why he was baptizing if he was not Elijah or the Messiah.[46]

John then continued on telling the people that he baptized people with water to symbolize repentance, but the one coming after him would with the Holy Spirit and that he was not worthy to carry the tasks he would.[47] The one after John would also be the one who punishes those who are evil.[48] John continued preaching the gospel to the people.[49]

John Baptizes Jesus[]

During this time Jesus Christ Himself came from Galilee in order for John to baptize him.[50] At first John tried to convince Jesus that he should be baptized by Jesus rather than him baptizing Jesus.[51] After Jesus telling John it was proper for him to be baptized, John consented.[52]

As soon as John baptized Jesus, Heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended in a dove-like manner and a voice proclaimed that Jesus was God's son with whom He was pleased.[53] All of this John himself saw with his own eyes.[54]

The next day, as John was with the people, he saw Jesus coming towards him[55] and proclaimed[56] this was the one[2] for whom he was preparing the way[1] . John continued to give his testimony[54] of his observing of the Holy Spirit coming down.[53] John explained that he did not know[57] for sure[2] that he had baptized the Messiah until he saw[54] the Holy Spirit descend.[53] Therefore John verified[2][58] that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

John's followers believe Jesus[]

The next day John was by the Jordan once again with the people and baptizing them.[59] Again he saw Jesus walking by and proclaimed that it was the lamb of God.[60] When two of John's disciples heard their master say this they followed Jesus.[61] John again continually spread the good news of Jesus Christ to the people.[49]


He also rebuked Herod the Tetrarch for his marriage to Herodias and his evil deeds.[62] When the Tetrarch heard this, he imprisoned John the Baptist.[63] While imprisoned, John's followers told him what Jesus had been doing.[64] At one point John asked two of his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah or if someone else was coming.[65]

When the disciples arrived[66] Jesus told them to report to John that all the miracles that they had seen Him do.[67] As John's disciples left, Jesus began to address the crowd about the John the Baptist.[68] Jesus discussed with the crowds how John was not a man a fine clothes.[69] That John was not just a prophet,[70] but was the one who was to prepare the way for Christ.

John even was proclaimed as one of the greatest men to live.[71] Many people acknowledge Jesus's words, due to their baptism by John;[72] the Jewish leaders did not since they were not baptized by John and accepted faith.[73] Jesus Himself further explained that how everyone had prophesied Jesus until John the Baptist[44][74] and that he was indeed the symbolic representation of Elijah.[6]

The people were even compared to children in the way they did not believe both John and Jesus in their respective roles.[75] The people had called John a demon, even while he did not eat[30] bread or wine.[76]

Death and Decapitation[]

During all that John had been imprisoned by Herod the Tetrarch for rebuking him and particularly his unlawful relationship with his wife.[62] Herodias, the Tetrarch's wife hated John the Baptist because of this and wanted to kill him.[77]

Herod the Tetrarch, however, did not intend to kill John because he both personally revered John (though he wanted him dead) for he was a righteous man and liked listening to him, and feared him because the people considered him a prophet.[78] However, on his birthday, a banquet was held and his wife's daughter danced for them.[79] He enjoyed the dance so much he offered her nearly anything she wanted[80] and after speaking to her mother[81] asked for John's head on a dish.[82]

Herod was greatly distressed[83] but ordered an executioner to behead John in the prison[84] and had his head brought to Herodias and her daughter.[85] Upon hearing of their master's death, John's disciples came and retrieved the body in order to give him a proper burial.[86]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Isaiah 40:3, Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 John 1:6-8
  3. Luke 1:13, 59 (Link)
  4. Luke 1:57, 60 (Link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Luke 1:7, 18
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Malachi 4:5, Matthew 11:14, Luke 1:17
  7. Luke 1:5 (Link)
  8. Luke 1:6 (Link)
  9. Luke 1:9 (Link)
  10. Luke 1:10 (Link)
  11. Luke 1:19 (Link)
  12. Luke 1:11 (Link)
  13. Luke 1:13 (Link)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Luke 1:14,58,65
  15. Luke 1:15 (Link)
  16. Luke 1:16 (Link)
  17. Luke 1:20-23 (Link)
  18. Luke 1:24-25 (Link)
  19. Luke 1:26 (Link)
  20. Luke 1:39-40 (Link)
  21. Luke 1:41,44 (Link)
  22. Luke 1:57 (Link)
  23. Luke 1:59 (Link)
  24. Luke 1:60 (Link)
  25. Luke 1:61-62 (Link)
  26. Luke 1:63 (Link)
  27. Luke 1:64 (Link)
  28. Luke 1:80 (Link)
  29. Mark 1:4, Luke 3:2-3 (Link)
  30. 30.0 30.1 Matthew 3:4, Mark 1:6
  31. Matthew 3:5, Luke 3:3 (Link)
  32. Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:5 (Link)
  33. John 1:24 (Link)
  34. Matthew 3:7, Luke 3:7 (Link)
  35. 2 tim 3:16 (Link)
  36. Matthew 3:8-10, Luke 3:8-9 (Link)
  37. Luke 3:10 (Link)
  38. Luke 3:11 (Link)
  39. Luke 3:13 (Link)
  40. Luke 3:14 (Link)
  41. Luke 3:15 (Link)
  42. John 1:20 (Link)
  43. John 1:21 (Link)
  44. 44.0 44.1 Heb 1:2
  45. John 1:23 (Link)
  46. John 1:25 (Link)
  47. Matthew 3:11, Luke 3:16, Mark 1:7-8, John 1:26-27 (Link)
  48. Matthew 3:12, Luke 3:17 (Link)
  49. 49.0 49.1 Luke 3:18
  50. Matthew 3:13, Mark 1:9, (Link)
  51. Matthew 3:14 (Link)
  52. Matthew 3:15 (Link)
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 Matthew 3:17, Mark 9:10-11, Luke 3:21-22
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 John 1:32
  55. John 1:29 (Link)
  56. John 1:30 (Link)
  57. John 1:31,33 (Link)
  58. John 1:34 (Link)
  59. John 1:35 (Link)
  60. John 1:36 (Link)
  61. John 1:37-38 (Link)
  62. 62.0 62.1 Luke 3:19, Matthew 14:4, Mark 6:18
  63. Luke 3:20 (Link)
  64. Luke 7:18, Matthew 11:2 (Link)
  65. Matthew 11:3, Luke 7:19 (Link)
  66. Luke 7:20 (Link)
  67. Matthew 11:4-6, Luke 7:21-23 (Link)
  68. Matthew 11:7, Luke 7:24 (Link)
  69. Matthew 11:8, Luke 7:25 (Link)
  70. Matthew 11:9, Luke 7:26 (Link)
  71. Matthew 11:11, Luke 7:28 (Link)
  72. Luke 7:29 (Link)
  73. Luke 7:30 (Link)
  74. Matthew 11:12-13 (Link)
  75. Matthew 11:16, Luke 7:31-32 (Link)
  76. Matthew 11:18, Luke 7:33 (Link)
  77. Mark 6:19 (Link)
  78. Mark 6:20, Matthew 14:5 (Link)
  79. Mark 6:21-22, Matthew 14:6 (Link)
  80. Mark 6:23 (Link)
  81. Mark 6:24 (Link)
  82. Mark 6:24-25, Matthew 14:8 (Link)
  83. Mark 6:26, Matthew 14:9 (Link)
  84. Mark 6:27, Matthew 14:10 (Link)
  85. Mark 6:28, Matthew 14:11 (Link)
  86. Mark 6:29, Matthew 14:12 (Link)