John the Baptist

John's Birth

Luke 1: 5 - 25

Luke 1: 39 - 44

Luke 1: 57 - 80

John was the long-awaited son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, who welcomed John's birth with a beautiful poem. Elizabeth was the cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

John and Jesus may certainly have known one another as children, and they were extremely aware of one another's ministry as adults. John's preaching was quite different from that of Jesus, but the cousins were yoked in sharing the good news about God throughout their lifetimes.

John's Ministry

Mark 1: 2 - 8

Matthew 3: 1 - 12

John 1: 10 - 28

Luke 3: 7 - 18

John began his ministry of preaching and baptizing before Jesus began teaching. John baptized hundreds of people in the River Jordan.

Until that time, ritual washing and cleansing had been an important part of Jewish religious observance, but it had always taken place in the home or in the Temple. John took this observance into the countryside, into a natural setting at the river.

When we talk about John's ministry, we like to sing (Lutheran Book of Worship 36) "On Jordan's Banks the Baptist's Cry."

Jesus' Baptism

Mark 3: 13 - 17

John 1: 29 - 42

Jesus came to John to be baptized. We observe this experience on the Baptism of Our Lord.

After the baptism, John pointed Jesus out to his followers.

Herod Antipas Puts John in Prison

Matthew 11: 2 - 19

Luke 7: 18 - 35

Even after Herod had thrown John into prison, John still testified to Jesus' greatness, and Jesus praised John and his ministry.


John's Death

Mark 6: 14 - 29

Matthew 14: 1 - 13

Luke 9: 7 - 9

John was arrested and executed by Herod Antipas, the Roman tetrarch, during Jesus' lifetime. Jesus withdrew from his followers to mourn John's death before the feeding of the 5000. Jesus continued to acknowledge John's ministry even after John's execution.


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