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Who Was John the Baptist? - Drive Thru History

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

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Who Was John the Baptist?

"Although his name implies that he baptized people (which he did), John’s life on earth was more than just baptizing. John’s adult life was characterized by devotion and surrender to Jesus Christ and His kingdom. John’s voice was a "lone voice in the wilderness" (John 1:23) as he proclaimed the coming of the Messiah to a people who desperately needed a Savior. He was the precursor for the modern-day evangelist as he unashamedly shared the good news of Jesus Christ. He was a man filled with faith and a role model to those of us who wish to share our faith with others.

Most everyone, believer and non-believer alike, has heard of John the Baptist. He is one of the most significant and well-known figures in the Bible. While John was known as "the Baptist," he was in fact the first prophet called by God since Malachi some 400 years earlier. John’s coming was foretold over 700 years previously by another prophet: "A voice of one calling: 'In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken'" (Isaiah 40:3–5). This passage illustrates God’s master plan in action as God selected John to be His special ambassador to proclaim His own coming.

John’s birth was miraculous. He was born of elderly parents who had never been able to have children (Luke 1:7). The angel Gabriel announced to Zechariah, a Levitical priest, that he would have a son—news that Zechariah received with incredulity (verses 8–18). Gabriel said this about John: “He will be great in the sight of the Lord. He . . . will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, . . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (verses 15–17). True to the word of the Lord, Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, gave birth to John. At the circumcision ceremony, Zechariah said about his son, “You, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; / for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him” (verse 76)..." from the article: Who Was John the Baptist in the Bible?

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