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Christians: John the Baptist
History, aka Compton's Interactive Bible NIV
The immediate forerunner of Jesus, sent by God to prepare the way for the
coming of the Messiah. John was of priestly descent on the side of both
his parents (Luke 1:5-25, 56-58). He lived as a Nazirite in the desert and
was filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth (1:15).
His first public appearance is carefully dated by Luke (3:1-2), somewhere
about A.D. 26 or 27. His early ministry took place in the wilderness of
Judea and in the Jordan Valley. The main theme of his preaching was the
near approach of the messianic age and the need for adequate spiritual preparation
to be ready for it. His mission was to prepare the people for the advent
of the Messiah. The baptism by water that he administered signified a break
with and cleansing from sin. His baptism prepared for a new condition; the
Jews baptized only Gentiles, but he called on Jews themselves to be baptized;
and his baptism was a baptism of water only in preparation for the messianic
baptism of the Spirit anticipated by the prophets.
Although Jesus and John were cousins, it appears that John did not know
that Jesus was the Messiah until he saw the Holy Spirit descend on him at
his baptism (John 1:32-34). John's training of his disciples included forms
of prayer (Luke 11:1) and frequent fastings (Matt 9:14), but he must also
have taught them much concerning the Messiah and his work. Their loyalty
to him is shown in their concern about Jesus' overshadowing popularity,
their refusal to abandon him in his imprisonment, the reverent care they
gave his body after his death, and the fact that 20 years later there were
disciples of his, including Apollos, the learned Alexandrian Jew, in faraway
Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7). Jesus expressed the frankest appreciation of John,
declaring him to be more than a prophet, and that he was indeed God's messenger
sent to prepare the way for him (Matt 11:10-19).
The Gospels tell that John met his death through the vindictiveness of Herodias,
whom John had denounced for her sin of living in adultery with Herod.
John the Baptist's
Mark, Chapter 6
14King Herod heard about this, for Jesus' name had become well known. Some
were saying, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that
is why miraculous powers are at work in him."
15Others said, "He is Elijah."
And still others claimed, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets
of long ago."
16But when Herod heard this, he said, "John, the man I beheaded, has
been raised from the dead!"
17For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him
bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip's
wife, whom he had married. 18For John had been saying to Herod, "It
is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." 19So Herodias nursed
a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20because
Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy
man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzledD; yet he liked to listen
21Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet
for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.
22When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and
his dinner guests.
The king said to the girl, "Ask me for anything you want, and I'll
give it to you." 23And he promised her with an oath, "Whatever
you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom."
24She went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?"
"The head of John the Baptist," she answered.
25At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: "I want
you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter."
26The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner
guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27So he immediately sent an executioner
with orders to bring John's head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison,
28and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and
she gave it to her mother. 29On hearing of this, John's disciples came and
took his body and laid it in a tomb.
John the Baptist
Matthew, Chapter 14
141At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, 2and he
said to his attendants, "This is John the Baptist; he has risen from
the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him."
3Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because
of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, 4for John had been saying to him:
"It is not lawful for you to have her." 5Herod wanted to kill
John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet.
6On Herod's birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased
Herod so much 7that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.
8Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head
of John the Baptist." 9The king was distressed, but because of his
oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10and
had John beheaded in the prison. 11His head was brought in on a platter
and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12John's disciples
came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
Salome, fem. of Solomon). 1. The wife of Zebedee, and mother of James and
John (cf. Matt 27:56 with Mark 15:40-41; 16:1). 2. The daughter of Herodias,
and the grandniece of Herod Antipas. As a reward for her dancing she was
given the head of John the Baptist (Matt 14:3-11; Mark 6:17-28). Her name
is not given in the Gospels (but see Josephus, Antiq. 17.5.4).
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