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Concluding John the Baptist

Updated: Feb 3

The past few articles taught you about the birth and the promise of John the Baptist, and broke down his preaching. If you missed these previous articles, I would like to encourage you to check them out in the provided links above. Today, we are going to explore John the Baptist in the eyes of Jesus Christ, our savior.

Brief Background of John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ

John the Baptist and Jesus were relatives. We know this because the Holy Bible states that the angel, Gabriel had told Mary that she was going to conceive Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, and that "Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son" (Luke 1:36 NKJV). You may be asking, "Who was Elizabeth, and how does she fit in here?" Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist, and he was promised to Zacharias, his father, a priest.

However, John the Baptist was promised much earlier than this. The prophet Malachi said, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I [God] come and strike the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6 NKJV). The question to ask now, is, "Was this prophecy fulfilled?" To determine that answer, look at what John the Baptist did across the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and compare John the Baptist' spirit, and Elijah's spirit.

Elijah was a prophet who is documented in 1 and 2 Kings of the Holy Bible. His lineage is briefly described in both books of Chronicles, and the New Testament cites him as well, but in different manners. Elijah rebuked people for their sinful ways, as did John the Baptist. Elijah rebuked King Ahab king over Israel and his household.

The Holy Bible says that Ahab was searching for Elijah (1 Kings 18:10), and when Elijah presented himself to Ahab by way of the Lord's prophet, Obadiah, Ahab said, "Is that you, O troubler of Israel?" (1 Kings 18:17). To which, Elijah responded, "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals." (1 Kings 18:18).

Now compare this to the passage in the New Testament, "But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him [John the Baptist] concerning Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison." (Luke 3:19).

As you can see, Elijah and John the Baptist had the same spirit. They both rebuked kings! But was the prophecy of Malachi fulfilled? Yes, it was. When John the Baptist was asked by the priests and the Levites from Jerusalem who he was, he said that he was not the Christ, that he was not Elijah, or a prophet, (see John 1:19-23). John the Baptist says that he was the one Isaiah speaks to, "The voice of one calling in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord." (Isaiah 40:3). John the Baptist was the son of Elizabeth and Zacharias, he could not be Elijah, but they had the same spirit! We are Christian and we do not believe in reincarnation.

Now look at what Jesus Christ said to His disciples when they asked why the scribes state that Elijah must come first. Jesus tells them, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands." (Matthew 17:11-12 NKJV). The next verse states that, "Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist." (Matthew 11:13).

Honey, honey comb, yellow, gold
Matthew 3:4 says that John the Baptist ate wild honey and locusts. Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash.

Self-Doubt in Prison

John the Baptist must have known that Jesus Christ was our savior, because as an unborn child, John the Baptist leapt in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth. When he would speak of Jesus, he would say that One mightier than he is coming or that He is here. And when John the Baptist went to baptize Jesus Christ, he tried to prevent Him saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and You are coming to me?" Jesus Christ tells John the Baptist "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15). That is when John the Baptist baptized his relative, Jesus Christ.

When the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist happened, anyone present would have witnessed what is described in the Holy Bible, "When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3: 16-17).

However, self doubt seems to come over John the Baptist while he was in prison, because John the Baptist heard about the works that Jesus Christ was doing, and he sends messengers to Jesus Christ asking if He is the Christ. Jesus Christ answers them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me." (Matthew 11: 4-6).

John the Baptist's Death

Earlier in this article, I mentioned the passage in Luke, that Herod wanted to lock up John the Baptist in prison for rebuking him. Herod accomplished this when he sent men to bound John the Baptist, and put him in prison. (Mark 6:16) Herodias wanted to execute John the Baptist for what he said concerning her, but she knew that Herod feared John the Baptist (meaning judgement, because he told people when they wrong) and protected him. The gospel of Matthew says that Herod feared the multitude because many counted John the Baptist as a prophet.

Therefore, Herodias took advantage of Herod's birthday celebration, and her daughter danced in front of Herod, his nobles and high officer. Herod promised her anything she wanted even half of his kingdom. Through the direction of her mother, the girl asks for John the Baptist's head on a silver platter. Herod does this immediately.

The disciples of John the Baptist came to collect his body and lay it in a tomb. After this, they went to Jesus Christ and told Him what happened (Matthew 14:12). Some of John the Baptist's disciples went to Jesus. The Holy Bible says that after He heard the news of his death, Jesus Christ departs from the region by himself via boat to a deserted place. However, "when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick." (Matthew 14:1 3-14).

That multitude had existed before, but I suspect that some of John the Baptist's disciples began to follow Jesus Christ. Why? They were like lost sheep. As some of us are today. Hallelujah!

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