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JOHN THE BAPTIST


 

We know that Mary the mother of Jesus and Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist were related.

 

Luk 1:36  Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.

 

They were quite close as Mary spent the last three months of her pregnancy with Elizabeth.

 

Luk 1:56  And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

Luk 1:57  Now Elizabeth's full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son.

 

However when Christ was born, Herod wanted to kill the babies in Jerusalem area who were under two years of age.

 

Mat 2:16  Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

 

An angel spoke to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt away from the danger of Herod.

 

Mat 2:13  Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him."

 

No doubt Elizabeth and Zacharias also took John into a safe place during this time, as he was only 6 months older than Christ and Herod was killing boys up to two years of age.  The following scripture shows that John was in the desert until his time to be known came about.

 

Luk 1:80  So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

 

We do not know at what age Christ was, when Mary and Joseph returned to Israel, but we know He was in the temple in Jerusalem during the Passover at age 12.

 

Luk 2:41  His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.

Luk 2:42  And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.

 

There is very little mentioned of the life of Christ from this time until the start of His ministry at age 30, also John the Baptist is not mentioned until He is a grown man of about the same age.

 

We know that John and Christ did not meet at Jerusalem during the feasts of God, because Elizabeth and Zacharias had chosen a place of hiding in the desert, that was possibly quite remote and they may have been unaware of the death of Herod.    The scripture states that John was in the desert until he appeared to Israel. This is why John did not know Christ by His appearance.

 

Letís discuss that further.

 

There is a very puzzling scripture in Matthew regarding John.

 

It seems strange that John did not know that Christ was the one to come.

 

Mat 11:2  And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples

Mat 11:3  and said to Him, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?"

 

Letís read on for the amazing answer to this difficult scripture.

 

John was sent from God to bear witness of Christ.  His knowledge of Christ was thorough.

 

Joh 1:6  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

Joh 1:7  This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.

 

Joh 1:15  John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.' "

 

Joh 1:23  He said: "I am 'THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS: "MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD," ' as the prophet Isaiah said."

 

Joh 1:26  John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.

Joh 1:27  It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose."

Joh 1:28  These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

 

John did not know what Christ looked like and did not know Him personally.  God the Father said to John when he saw the Holy Spirit descending and remaining on Jesus, then he would know that He is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.

So it is obvious that John the Baptist did not know Christ by His appearance.

 

Joh 1:29  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Joh 1:30  This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.'

Joh 1:31  I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water."

Joh 1:32  And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.

Joh 1:33  I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

 

Only a short time after John had baptized Christ John was put in prison.

 

Mar 1:14  Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

 

Luk 3:20  also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison.

Luk 3:21  When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened.

 

So it is interesting that John did not know Christ by appearance, although he was knowledgeable of Him, and soon after he baptised Christ he was thrown in prison.  It was from prison that he asked if Christ was the one.

This is because the exploits of Christ would not have been known by John in his prison cell.

 

Even though he knew of Christ, he had no way of knowing what miracles Christ had performed from the time of His baptism until the time he sent his disciples to enquire if Christ was the one.  Because John had been put in prison very soon after he baptised Christ.

 

So now we have the understanding as to why John sent his disciples to Christ in the following verse.

 

Mat 11:2  And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples

Mat 11:3  and said to Him, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?"

 

We also know why John did not know Christ by His appearance because John had spent most of his life in the desert.

Even though Christ and John were related, their lives took them in different directions, Christ was hidden in Egypt and John in the wilderness in their early years due to death threats from Herod.

Then it appears John continued to live in the desert until the time of his ministry.

 

John the Baptist has a wonderful future in the kingdom of God, and as Christ has said he is the Elijah to come.  If we will hear this.

 

Mat 11:13  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Mat 11:14  And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.

Mat 11:15  He who has ears to hear, let him hear!