The Life of John the Baptist

             John the Baptist, the son of Zachary and Elizabeth, was named "the Baptist,” because he taught a new rite of baptism by divine authority, a baptism of repentance, or because he baptized Jesus . He was a man of priestly descent, a prophet, a preacher, and also prepared the arrival of Jesus as the angel told Zachary that his son was to "make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Lk. 1:16-17). John has great theological and social significance for Christian history, but three of his greatest assets were the rituals of baptism, fasting, and prayer.

             The baptism of John was a symbol of internal holiness, and its reception demanded internal reform; it was a penitential preparation for admittance to the Kingdom of God and included a confession of sins . "John's forceful preaching urged his fellow countrymen to repent of their sins, receive baptism, and live a life of righteousness .” Baptism played a great role in John's preaching and reminded that in order to get into the Kingdom of God, one had to be baptized "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mk. 1:4). After a person was baptized a follower of the Kingdom of God had to live on some terms. Those who had earthly possessions should share them with poor.(Lk. 3:10-14). He was very serious about his ways because he knew there was a coming-the coming of Jesus.

             Baptism was a bodily action to and expressive of soul cleansing and righteous behavior . Josephus points out that John baptized people.for inward cleansing . These baptisms were baths for the purpose of cleansing the believer from ritual corruption. John took many believers, but also accepted non-believers as well. All were welcome to his baptism as long as they believed to live by the Word of God. His baptisms led to a new beginning, a new initiation, into a new community, where God would send the One to deliver His people out of the darkness and into the light. John was a pious man, and bid the Jews who practiced virtue and exercised righteousness toward each other and piety toward God, to come together for baptism .

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