The Bible tells us about how John the Baptist was born:
When the time came for Elizabeth to have her child, she had a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard how the Lord had been kind to her. They shared her joy. When the baby was eight days old, all the neighbours and relatives came for the circumcision ceremony. He would receive his name then. They wanted to give him the same name as his father, Zechariah. But his mother said, ‘Certainly not! His name is to be John’. They said to her, ‘You do not have any relative with that name’. Then they signalled to his father. They asked him what name he would like his son to have. Zechariah asked for a writing board. He wrote, ‘John is his name’. That surprised everybody. At once Zechariah was able to speak again. He began to praise God. He astonished all his neighbours. People lived in the hills in the country of Judea. And they kept talking about the events of John’s birth. And they wondered. They asked, ‘What is this child going to be like when he grows up?’ For it was plain that the Lord had blessed the child. (Luke 1:57-66)
The Bible tells us what John did when he grew up:
Crowds came to John so that he could baptise them. ‘You are like poisonous snakes that try to escape from a desert fire!’ said John. ‘You are trying to run away from God’s anger. But you must produce fruit in your lives that shows that you really have repented. Do not say, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”. God is able to make descendants for Abraham from these stones. Even now the axe is ready to cut down the trees at the root. God will cut down every tree that does not produce good fruit. He will throw it into the fire’.
The crowds asked him, ‘What must we do?’ He answered, ‘If anyone has two coats give one coat to somebody who has none. He must share his food as well’. Tax-collectors also came for baptism. They asked him, ‘Teacher, what shall we do?’ He said, ‘Do not collect any more money than the Romans require’. Soldiers also asked him, ‘And what shall we do?’ He said, ‘Do not use force against people. Do not pretend that they have done something wrong. Do not complain about your wages’. All the people were full of hope. They wondered whether John could be the Christ. John told them, ‘I baptise with water. Someone is coming who is much more important than I am. I am not even good enough to be a slave to remove his shoes. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is like a farmer, who winnows his grain. He will put the good wheat in his store. But he will burn the chaff completely’. John warned the people in many other ways as he announced good news to the people. (Luke 3:1-18)
To find out how John was sent to prepare
the people for Jesus’ coming, see Luke’s Gospel
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