John was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, who was a cousin of Mary.
His coming birth was announced by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation of Mary in the gospel of Luke. He was born shortly before the birth of Jesus.
John was considered a prophet of God at the time, and by Christians and Muslims. John possibly belonged to the Essenes, an ascetic Jewish sect which anticipated the coming of the Messiah and practiced baptism as a sign of repentance, or ‘change of heart’.
John baptised Jesus at the start of Jesus’ public ministry. John was arrested by Herod Antipas for criticism of Herod’s unlawful marriage to Herodias and was subsequently beheaded.
John the Baptist was no shrinking violet. He spoke truth to power from the wilderness around the Jordan river. It cost him his life. Yet, he does not seem to have had a big problem with ego.
When Jesus comes for baptism, John says, “It is you who should baptise me.” On another occasion he speaks of himself in relation to Jesus as “Not worthy to untie his sandals”.
In the first chapter of John’s gospel he encourages two of his own disciples to follow Jesus instead, with the enigmatic words: “Behold, the Lamb of God.” John knows how to live his charism as prophet boldly, preparing the way for the coming of Jesus.
He also knows how to get out of the way of Jesus. Ministers of religion and spiritual directors know the importance of that…
Name: John Barzechariah
1 BC: born.
c 20-30 AD: Began work in Jordan.
c 31AD: executed by Herod
Quote from Saint
I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,John the Baptist in John 1:23
“Make straight the way of the Lord”,
Matthew 3:13-17 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.
14 John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?’
15 But Jesus answered him,
‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented.
16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.
17 And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’
Thought for the Day
Where do I need to be confident in expressing my charism? Where do I need to let Christ take the lead?