The Annunciation of the Birth of John the Baptist
Once, there was an elderly couple called Zechariah and Elizabeth who were barren and without child. One day, Zechariah happened to be at the temple to carry out his priestly duty. It was the time for the burning of incense and everyone was outside. Suddenly, the angel Gabriel appeared at the right side of the altar. Zechariah was filled with fear. He told Zechariah that his wife, Elizabeth will give birth to a son called John. He will be great in the Lord’s sight. He is never to drink wine or other fermented drinks. He is to be filled with the Holy Spirit since birth. He will come in the power of Elijah and turn many people of Israel to God.
Zechariah doubted in the angel’s message as he and his wife were old and well passed the child bearing years. In turn, the angel muted Zechariah so that he was unable to speak until his message came true at the appointed time.
The people waiting outside wondered why Zechariah took so long. When Zechariah finally came out of the temple, they realized he couldn’t speak as he was making signs to them. Zechariah returned home. After that, his wife, Elizabeth became pregnant and gave birth to a son. The account of the angel Gabriel announcing the birth of John the Baptist can be found in Luke 1:5-25.
On the eighth day, it was the time when they circumcise the child and her relatives wanted to name the boy Zechariah. However, Elizabeth spoke up and said the boy is to be called John. They replied she has no relative with that name. They made signs to Zechariah and Zechariah wrote on a tablet that the boy’s name is John. At that moment, he was able to speak and he started to praise God. The account of the birth of John the Baptist can be found in Luke 1:57-66.
John the Baptist Preached in the Wilderness
When John the Baptist grew up, he went preaching in the wilderness of Judea. He wore clothes made of camel’s hair and he has a leather belt. His foods were locusts and wild honey. Many people came to John the Baptist from Jerusalem and Judea and Jordan. They confessed their sins and were baptized by him at the Jordan River. John the Baptist preached that his baptism is a baptism of water but after him comes one who will baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire.
To be baptized with the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The manifestation of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit can be seen in various gifts such as speaking in the tongue language. The Holy Spirit fire will refine you so that you will be cleansed from all unrighteousness and live holy life for God.
John the Baptist Baptized Jesus
John the Baptist also baptized Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was about 30 years old when he came to be baptized by John the Baptist. While Jesus was praying, the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove. Then, a voice from heaven was heard, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22 KJV) This account can be found in Luke 3:21-22.
John the Baptist Beheaded
John the Baptist rebuked Herod the tetrarch for taking the wife of his brother, Herodias, and other sins. Herod was angry and he locked him up in the prison. On the birthday of Herod, the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests. Her dancing made Herod very pleased and he promised to give her whatever she asked. Herodias prompted her daughter to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Herod was distressed when he heard her request but he couldn’t refuse her so he had John the Baptist beheaded in prison. The head of John was brought on a platter to the girl. Later, the disciples of John came to carry away John the Baptist’s body and bury it. The account of the beheading of John the Baptist can be found in Matthew 14:1-12.
What Can We Learn from John the Baptist?
John fully surrendered his life to God. He was serious to his calling and brought many people to Jesus Christ. He understood that repentance is necessary for receiving salvation and eternal life. Every day, we ought to examine ourselves to see if we have offended God in any way. John stood firm in his faith when he faced persecution from King Herod. Every Christian will come to a situation where their faith will be put to test. In whatever circumstances, we must not give up but always cling on to Jesus Christ.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10 KJV)
I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. (Psalm 32:5 KJV)
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13 KJV)
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51:2-5 KJV)
He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. (Job 33:27-28 KJV)
And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. (Jeremiah 33:8 KJV)
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14 KJV)
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11 KJV)
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:26 KJV)
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12 KJV)
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:3-5 KJV)
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9 KJV)