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An Account of the Life of John the Baptist

Christ said that there had "not risen a greater than John the Baptist," and yet there is not a book of the Bible that focuses specifically on John's ministry, and thus the information that we have on him is spread out across various scriptures. At the same time, his influence on the culture of his time is evident throughout the New Testament, for in many places in the Gospels and in Acts, followers of John are encountered. The following chronological account attempts to blend the various historical records we have into one continuous chronological story, by combining accounts from Josephus and from the scriptures. Wording comes chiefly from the King James Version of the Bible, with some modernizations for spelling, common usage, and punctuation. Sources for each section are placed at the end of paragraphs; dates for his ministry are taken from a Bible timeline, "Ministry and Harmony of the Gospels," available at http://www.bibletimelines.org/timelines/Ministry_and_Harmony_of_the_Gospels.pdf. The notes provide a few remarks about things I noticed when reading the account of John in this manner.

Around the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, a little more than four hundred years before John was born, the prophet Malachi wrote the following prophecy of the work that was to be completed by one just before the arrival of the Messiah: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant. . . . Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse" (Mal. 3:1, 4:5-6).

Three hundred years before that, about the time that the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians, the prophet Isaiah also told of the coming of a prophet who would prepare the way for the Messiah when he wrote, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God" (Isa. 40:1-3).

In the summer of 5 B.C., a man whose name was John was sent from God. He came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all people through him might believe. He was not the Light, but he was sent to bear witness of the Light. (John 1:6-8)

The manner in which this man John was conceived, that summer, was as follows: In the days of Herod, the king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the order of Abijah, and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blameless in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the time that the incense was burned.

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

But the angel said unto him, "Fear not, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elisabeth shall bear you a son, and you shalt call his name John. And you shall have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink, and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

And Zacharias said unto the angel, "How will I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years."

And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and am sent to speak unto you and to show you these glad tidings. And, behold, you shall be dumb--not able to speak--until the day that these things are performed, because you believed not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season."

And the people waited for Zacharias and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned unto them and remained speechless.

And it came to pass, that as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.

And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived and hid herself five months, saying, "Thus has the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men."

And in the sixth month, the winter of 5-4 B.C., the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.

And the angel came in to her, and said, "Behold, you shalt conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. . . . And, behold, your cousin Elisabeth, she has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren."

And Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah, and entered into the house of Zacharias and saluted Elisabeth.

And it came to pass that when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb, and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she spoke with a loud voice and said, "Blessed art you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of your salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed, for the things that the Lord told her shall be fulfilled."

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden, for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty has done to me great things, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them who fear him from generation to generation.

"He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has cast the mighty down from their seats and exalted them of low degree. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever."

And Mary abode with Elisabeth about three months and returned to her own house.

Now in spring 4 B.C., Elisabeth's full time came that her child should be delivered, and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and her cousins heard how the Lord had showed great mercy upon her, and they rejoiced with her.

And it came to pass that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

And his mother answered and said, "Not so, but he shall be called John."

And they said unto her, "There is none of your kindred that is called by this name." And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.

And he asked for a writing table and wrote, saying, "His name is John." And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke and praised God.

And fear came on all that dwelt round about them, and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What manner of child shall this be!" And the hand of the Lord was with him.

And his father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

"And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest, for you shall 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 has visited us; to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; to guide our feet into the way of peace."

And the child grew and waxed strong in spirit and was in the deserts till the day of his presentation unto Israel. (Luke 1:5-28, 31, 36, 39-80)

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, around the fall of 27 A.D., Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. (Luke 3:1-3)

And in those days came John the Baptist, into all the country about Jordan, baptizing and preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, "Repent you, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." This message Christ would also preach, when he said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17), and this message Christ would also have his disciples preach, when he told them, "As ye go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand'" (Matt. 10:7).

John is he that was spoken of in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." And as it was written in the book of Malachi, "Behold, I send my messenger before your face, which shall prepare your way before you."

And this same John was clothed with a raiment of camel's hair and a leather girdle about his loins, and his diet consisted of locusts and wild honey.

Then went out to him they of Jerusalem and all the land of Judaea and all the region round about Jordan, and they were baptized of him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto the multitude who came forth to be baptized of him, "O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits suitable for repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father.' For I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." These things would Jesus also say of the Pharisees when he proclaimed, "You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. 23:33).

John went on to say, "And now also the axe is laid at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that fails to bring forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire." This too would be echoed by Jesus when he said in the Sermon on the Mount, "Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Matt. 7:19), and elaborated on when he said, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away" (John 15:2).

When John preached these things, the people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then?"

He answered and said unto them, "He who has two coats, let him impart to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise," just as Jesus would later say, "Give to him that asks you, and from him that would borrow of you turn not you away" (Matt. 5:42).

Then came also publicans to be baptized and said unto John, "Master, what shall we do?"

And he said unto them, "Exact no more than that which is appointed you."

And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, "And what shall we do?"

And he said unto them, "Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages."

Hence, as Josephus says, "John commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God. For only thus would the baptism he administered be acceptable to God."

And as the people were in expectation, all men mused in their hearts regarding John whether he was the Messiah. As John performed the mission he'd been given, he asked, "Who do you think I am?" And he answered saying unto them, "I am not he. I indeed preach unto you and baptize you with water unto repentance, but one mightier than I comes after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose, nor whose shoes I am worthy to bear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor and will gather the wheat into his garner, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Hence, John would bear witness of Jesus by saying, "This was he of whom I speak, He who comes after me is preferred before me, for he was before me."

And many other things in his exhortation did he preach unto the people. (Matt. 3:1-12; Mk. 1:2-8; Luke 3:1-18; John 1:15; Acts 13:24-25)

And it came to pass in those days around the fall of 27 A.D., while all the people were being baptized, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee unto John, to be baptized of him in Jordan. But John [knowing Jesus to be a righteous teacher] forbade him, saying, "I have need to be baptized of you, and you come to me?"1

And Jesus answering said unto him, "Allows it to be so now, for thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness."

Then John allowed him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, as he was praying, coming up straightway out of the water, saw the heavens opened unto him and the Spirit of God descending from heaven in a bodily shape like a dove and lighting upon him. And a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And John too saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and then he knew that this was the Son of God, for God, who had sent him to baptize with water, had said unto him, "Upon whom you shall see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizes with the Holy Spirit." (Matt. 3:13-17, Mk. 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:32-33)

After that, John bore record that Jesus was the Messiah, as he did at Bethabara, beyond Jordan, where he had gone to baptize others, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"

And he confessed, and denied not, but confessed, "I am not the Messiah."

And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?"

And he said, "I am not."

"Are you that prophet?"

And he answered, "No."

Then said they unto him, "Who are you? Tell us, so that we can give an answer to them who sent us. What do you say of yourself?"

He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaiah."

And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.

And they asked him, and said unto him, "Why do you baptize then, if you are not that Messiah, nor Elijah, nor that prophet?"

John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water unto repentance, but there stands one among you, whom you know not. He it is, who comes after me but is preferred before me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose." (John 1:19-28, 34)

The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.' And I knew him not, except that he should be shown to Israel; therefore, I came baptizing with water. (John 1:29-31)2

Again the next day as John stood, along with two of his disciples, and looked upon Jesus as he walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

Then Jesus turned and saw them following and said unto them, "What are you looking for?"

They said unto him, "Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Master), where do you dwell?

He said unto them, "Come and see."

So they came and saw where he dwelled and stayed with him that day, for it was about four in the afternoon.

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first went to find his brother Simon and said unto him, "We have found the Messiah--that is, the Christ."

And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus saw him, he said, "You are Simon the son of Jona. You shall be called Peter," which is by interpretation, a stone. (John 1:35-42)

Later, in the summer or fall of 28 A.D., Jesus and his disciples came into the land of Judea; and there he tarried with them and, through them, baptized. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and people came, and were baptized.

Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came to John, and said to him, "Rabbi, he who was with you beyond Jordan, to whom you bore witness, behold, the same man baptizes, and all men come to him."

John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. You yourselves can bear me witness that I said I am not the Christ but that I am sent before him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all, and what he has seen and heard, that he testifies, and no man receives his testimony. He who has received his testimony has set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives not the Spirit by measure to him. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who believes not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."3

When therefore Jesus knew how the Pharisees had heard that he made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus himself did not baptize but his disciples did), he left Judea and departed again into Galilee.

And in these years, not long before John began preaching, Herod Antipas (the tetrarch), the ruler of the Jews, who was married to Phasaelis, the daughter of Aretas, traveled to Rome to lodge with his half-brother Philip (the son of the high priest of Sireoh's daughter) and fell in love with Philip's wife Herodias. In time, Antipas asked her to marry him, and an agreement was made for her to change her habitation and come to him as soon as he should return from Rome. One article of this marriage also was that he should divorce Phasaelis. So Antipas made this agreement and returned home again. But his wife discovered the agreement he had made before he had been able to tell her about it. She asked him to send her to Macherus, which was a place in the borders of the dominions of her father Aretas and her husband Herod, without informing him of her intentions. So, Herod sent her thither, unaware that his wife had perceived something.

But John knew of it, and he reproved Herod for all the evils he had done and particularly for this action, saying, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother Philip's wife." Herod, thus, around the winter of 28-29 A.D., sent forth and laid hold on John and bound him and shut him up in prison for Herodias's sake.

For this reason, Herodias also had a quarrel against John and would have killed him, but she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and holy, and protected him; and when Herod heard John, John did many things, and Herod heard him gladly. Moreover, when Herod would have put John to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. For Herod knew that many people came in crowds to John, greatly moved by his words. (Matt. 14:3-5; Mk. 6:17-20; Luke 3:19-20; Josephus)

Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and from that time, Jesus began to preach of the kingdom of God, saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel." And the Galileans received him, and there went out a fame of him through all the region about, for the Galileans had seen the things that he had done at Jerusalm at the feast, for they also had gone to the feast. And he taught in the synagogues, being glorified of all.

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers. And Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. (Matt. 4:12, 17-20; Mk. 1:14-18; Luke 4:14-15; John 4:45)4

Some time later the disciples of John and of the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked, "Why do the Pharisees, their disciples, and the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, but yours fast not, but rather eat and drink?"

And Jesus answered, "Can you make the children of the bridechamber mourn and fast while the bridegroom is with them? Yea, as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days." (Matt. 9:14-15, Mk. 2:18-20, Luke 5:33-35)

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there was at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which was called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, and withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool and troubled the water; whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatever disease he had.

And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he said unto him, "Will you be made whole?"

The impotent man answered him, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool, but while I am coming, another steps down before me."

Jesus said unto him, "Rise, take up your bed, and walk."

And immediately the man was made whole and took up his bed and walked, and on the same day was the sabbath.

And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus and seek to slay him, because he did these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, "My Father works hitherto, and I work." Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself but what he sees the Father do, for what things he does, these also does the Son likewise. . . . I can of my own self do nothing; as I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not mine own will but the will of the Father which has sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

"There is another who bears witness of me, and I know that the witness he witnesses of me is true. You sent unto John, and he bore witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man, but these things I say that you might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light, and you were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.5

"But I have greater witness than that of John, for the works that the Father has given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me." (John 5:1-9, 16-19, 30-36)

As Jesus preached and performed great miracles, such as the raising of a widow's son fallen dead, there came a fear on all, and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet is risen up among us," and, "God has visited his people." And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea and throughout all the region round about. And the disciples of John showed him of all these things.

And around the fall of 29 A.D., when John had heard in prison of the works of Christ, he, after calling unto him two of his disciples, sent them to Jesus, asking, "Are you he that should come or look we for another?"6

And in that same hour Jesus cured many of the people's infirmities and plagues, cast out various evil spirits, and gave sight unto many who were blind.

Then Jesus answering said unto them, "Go your way, and tell John again what things ye have seen and heard: how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he who shall not be offended in me."

And when the messengers of John were departed, Jesus began to speak unto the multitudes concerning John: "What went you out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they who are gorgeously apparelled in soft clothing and live delicately are in kings' houses and courts.

"But what went you out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.'

"Verily I say unto you, among those who are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist, but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you will receive it, this is Elijah who was to come. He who has ears to hear let him hear."

And all the people that heard him--and the publicans--justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

And the Lord said, "To what then shall I liken the men of this generation? To what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace, calling one to another, saying, 'We have piped unto you, and you have not danced; we have mourned to you, and you have not wept.' For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a devil.' The Son of man comes eating and drinking, and you say, 'Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!' But wisdom is justified of all her children." (Matt. 11:2-19; Luke 7:16-35)7

Not long after, in the winter of 29-30 A.D., came Herod's birthday, and he made a supper for the lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee. And when the daughter of Herodias came in and danced and pleased Herod and them who sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, "Ask me what you will, and I will give it you." And he swore unto her, "Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you, unto half of my kingdom."

And she went forth and requested of her mother, "What shall I ask?" And Herodias said, "The head of John the Baptist."

And Herodias's daughter came in straightway with haste unto the king and asked, saying, "I will that you give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist."

And the king was sorry. Nevertheless, for the oath's sake and for them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given to her. For Herod feared the great influence John had over the masses might put them into his power and enable him to raise a rebellion (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise), so he thought it best to put him to death. In this way, he might prevent any mischief John might cause and not bring himself into difficulties by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late.

Accordingly Herod, out of his suspicious temper, sent the prisoner John to an executioner at the castle Macherus and commanded John to be beheaded and his head brought back in a charger, which he gave to the damsel. And the damsel gave it to her mother.

And when John's disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse and laid it in a tomb and went and told Jesus. (Matt. 14:6-12; Mk. 6:21-29, Josephus)8

Shortly before this, Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all devils and gave them the ability to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. And they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. (Luke 9:1-2)9

Now after John was killed, Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Jesus (for his name was spread abroad), and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some that John the Baptist was risen from the dead and therefore mighty works were showing themselves in him. This Herod himself passed on to his servants. Others said that Elijah had appeared, and others said that it was a prophet or that one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod pondered, John have I beheaded, but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him. (Matt. 14:1-2; Mk. 6:14-16; Luke 9:6-9)

And around the summer of 30 A.D., Jesus went out and his disciples, into the coastal towns of Caesarea Philippi, and it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples being with him, that he asked them, "Who do the people say I the Son of man am?"

And they answered, "Some say that you are John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the old prophets risen again."

He said unto them, "But who do you say I am?"

And Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

And Jesus answered and said unto him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father, who is in heaven." And he straitly charged his disciples and commanded them to tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ, saying, "The Son of man must suffer many things and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be slain and be raised the third day." (Matt. 16:13-17, 20; Mk. 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-22)

And after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother and brought them up to a high mountain apart by themselves, and he was transfigured before them: his face shined like the sun, and his raiment was as white as the light or as snow, so that nothing on earth could make them more white.

And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them to tell the vision they had seen to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

And his disciples asked him, saying, "Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?"

And Jesus answered and said unto them, "Elijah truly shall first come and restore all things." And he explained how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things and be set down as nothing. "But I say unto you," he continued, "that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not but have done unto him what they desired, as it is written of him. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them."

Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist. (Matt. 17:1-2, 9-13; Mk. 9:2-3, 9-13)

And around the winter of 30-31 A.D., it came to pass that as Jesus was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."

And Jesus said unto his disciples, "When you pray, say, 'Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'" (Luke 11:1-4)

Also that winter, at Jerusalem, at the feast of dedication (Hannukah), as Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch, the Jews came round about him and said to him, "How long do you make us to doubt? If you be the Messiah, tell us plainly."

Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you believed not. The works I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But you believe not, because you are not of my sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one."

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

Jesus answered them, "Many good works have I showed you from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?"

The Jews answered him, saying, "For a good work we stone you not, but for blasphemy and because you, being a man, make yourself God."

Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, You are gods'? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken, say you of him, whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, 'You blaspheme.' Because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though you believe not me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in me and I in him."

Therefore they sought again to take him, but he escaped out of their hand and went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized, and there he abode. And many resorted to him and said, "John did no miracle, but all things that John spoke of this man were true." And many believed on him there. (John 10:22-42)

As winter proceeded into spring, Jesus taught many, especially in parables. And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things, and they derided him.

And he said unto them, "You are they who justify themselves before men, but God knows your hearts, for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass than one tittle of the law to fail." (Luke 16:14-17)

And just before Passover of 31 A.D., Jesus entered into Jerusalem and went into the temple of God and looked round about on all things. And then he cast out all who sold and bought in the temple and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of them who sold doves and said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called the house of prayer,' but you have made it a den of thieves."

And he taught daily in the temple. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him and could not find what they might do, for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

So when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did and the children crying in the temple and saying, "Hosanna to the son of David," they were sore displeased and said unto him, "Hear you what these say?"

And Jesus said to them, "Yes. Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have perfected praise?'" And as the evening had arrived, he left them and went out of the city into Bethany with the twelve, and he lodged there.

In the morning he returned into the city of Jerusalem, and it came to pass, as he came into the temple and walked around inside it, teaching the people and preaching the gospel, as was his habit in those days, the chief priests and the scribes came to him with the elders of the people and spoke unto him, saying, "Tell us, by what authority do you these things?" And, "who gave you this authority?"

And Jesus answered and said to them, "I also will ask you one thing, which if you answer me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it derive, from heaven or of men? Answer me."

And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven, he will say unto us, Why did you not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men, we fear the people will stone us, for all of them are persuaded that John was a prophet indeed. And they answered Jesus and said, "We cannot tell."

And Jesus said to them, "Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. But what think you? A certain man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go work today in my vineyard.' The son answered and said, 'I will not.' But afterward he repented and went. And the father came to the second and said likewise. And the son answered and said, 'I go, sir,' and went not. Which of these two did the will of his father?"

They said unto him, "The first."

Jesus said unto them, "Verily I say unto you that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you, for John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and you believed him not, but the publicans and the harlots believed him, and you, when you saw it, repented not afterward that you might believe him." (Matt. 21:12-18, 23-32; Mk. 11:11, 27-33; Luke 19:45-48, 20:1-8)

Later, after Jesus died and rose again, he abode with his disciples forty days. And as he readied to be taken up to heaven, he commanded his disciples that they should not depart from Jerusalem but wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "You have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." (Acts 1:4-5)

And when Jesus was gone, the disciples went to an upper room in a building in Jerusalem, and Peter stood up in the midst of them and proposed that one of the twelve who had died, Judas, who had betrayed Christ, should be replaced. And these were the qualifications that he offered: "One of these men who has companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to this same day in which he was taken up from us, must be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection." And the man who was chosen, by lot, was Matthias. (Acts 1:21-22, 26)

And these twelve apostles, after the baptism of the Holy Spirit that came on Pentecost ten days after Christ's ascent, then went out proclaiming, as Peter said, "That word that God sent unto the children of Israel . . . that was published throughout Judaea and began from Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power . . . and . . . how it is he who was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and dead, to him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins." (Acts 10:26-38, 42-43)

And further Peter witnessed this baptism of the Holy Spirit not only in the children of Israel but in the Gentiles, as he did when he visited the household of Cornelius and they began to speak in tongues. "Then," Peter noted, "remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 11:16)

And many continued to follow in the things that John the Baptist had preached, but they knew not the full story of Jesus Christ. And in time, as the story of the one who would come after John the Baptist became known, these people, prepared by John, became part of the body of Christ.

A certain Jew named Apollos, for example, many years later, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in the spirit, he spoke and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue, and when the Christian followers Aquila and Priscilla heard, they took him aside and expounded to him the way of God more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him, and when he was come, he helped them much who had believed through grace, for he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah. (Acts 18:24-28)

And it came to pass that while Apollos was at Corinth, the apostle Paul, having passed through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus, and finding certain disciples, he said to them, "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?"

And they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit."

And he said to them, "Unto what then were you baptized?"

And they said, "Unto John's baptism."

Then said Paul, "John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus."

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve. (Acts 19:1-7)

So are the acts of John the Baptist as recorded in history and the influence that his ministry had.

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