November 18th 2012
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an important religious figure in the New Testament. John the Baptist was, according to the Bible, the cousin of Jesus Christ. He was the son of Mary's sister, Elizabeth. He was a little older than Jesus. He was Jewish, and lived in Israel. As with Jesus, we don't have any information from that time about John the Baptist except what the Bible says. According to the Bible, when John grew up, he began to live a very holy life. He wore skins and went barefoot and ate only wild food - locusts (they're like grasshoppers), and wild honey. Because John was such a holy man, a lot of Jewish people in Israel began to pay attention to John's ideas, and follow him around. When Jesus was grown up and ready to begin preaching, he began by asking John to baptize him. (Spivey )That's why people call John "John the Baptist". He traveled wherever God called him to go and would preach the good news of Jesus. He would tell them that he was the messiah and the King of Kings. He would lead people to him. When he preached, it was to large crowds and crowds of people would come to be saved after he told them about Jesus. They believed him, and John was the way people heard about Jesus and that is how Jesus got so many followers. (Spivey )
John’s parents were Elizabeth and Zachariah. They were quite old in age and Elizabeth was actually Barren when they found out they were going to have a child. They thought that it was nearly impossible. Zachariah was a great man and was very faithful to God. He consistently prayed to God in the temple and one thing he prayed for was for Elizabeth’s barrenness to be cured of so they could have a son. (Vaughan ) He wanted someone to carry on his legacy and preach until his death. Finally, God answered this prayer. Although very old, Elizabeth and Jacob got their miracle. (Vaughan ) The first two chapters of Luke start out with telling the stories of the births of two very important people. Usually, you don’t see the birth of people in the bible. (Vaughan ) Like chapter one starts the journey and story of John the Baptist. It starts out with all of the genealogy and life of Elizabeth and Zachariah. (Vaughan ) Zachariah the father of john was in the house, serving as priest before god and he was visited by an angel. (Vaughan ) The angel said to him “Fear not, Zechariah: for your prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son and thou shalt call his name John. (Vaughan ) And thou shalt 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 Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. (Vaughan) And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.” (Vaughan) This was basically saying that John was going to be in good favor with God, and do great works for him. He was going to tell people about Jesus and lead them to God. Zachariah questioned the angel Gabriel. He asked “How shall I know this is for certain?” (Vaughan ) Gabriel told him that he was an angel and he stood in the presence of God; I am sent to speak unto thee and to shrew thee these glad tidings.” (Vaughan)Because Zechariah did not have faith, and doubted that God could give him and his wife a baby because of her barrenness and their old age, he would lose his ability to speak until the time had come for his child to be born. (Vaughan)When he came out of the temple, he could not speak to the people and the perceived he had seen a vision in the temple. After Zechariahs days of ministration they departed back home and Elizabeth conceived. (Vaughan) In the meantime, when Elizabeth was about six months pregnant, the same angel that appeared to Zechariah appeared to a young girl named Mary. He said “Hail, thou art highly favored, the lord is with thee: Blessed art thou among women....