John the Baptist. Now here’s a character for you to think about. While still in his mother’s womb, he leapt for joy when he heard the voice of his Savior’s mother.
Wow. Think about that. How did he hear and know who it was? This is the only example I know of from the bible where a baby in the womb responded to a voice outside the womb. How did John know? To the best of my knowledge, this was the first time Mary and Elizabeth were together during Elizabeth’s pregnancy. John knowing and responding to his Savior in the womb is the first amazing thing.
The story of his father, Zechariah, not being able to speak during Elizabeth’s pregnancy until the baby is born and he names him John, is another amazing thing. This baby was born for a special purpose. Even his name was important. This baby was to be the fore-runner of the Christ. He was to prepare the way and get the hearts of people ready. What a huge task!
When John grew up, he started his preaching ministry and he was the first one to baptize people. When John was at the river Jordan, Jesus came to John to be baptized. John, knowing who he was (no introductions necessary!) feels completely unworthy. “I need to be baptized by you and do you come to me?”
Jesus responded, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John conceded. After Jesus was baptized and walked out of the water, heaven was opened and John saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove on Jesus. A voice from heaven said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” I love this section because it shows all three persons of the trinity together, but separate. They are three persons, but one God. That’s another mystery we will understand when we get to heaven. I don’t know if this is exactly the right way to think, but this is how I understand the trinity concept. I am a Mom, a daughter and a sister. I am three separate “persons” but because I am human, I can only be in one body, one place, at one time. I am one person. God is God. He can be in three different places, one place or everywhere at once. He is God. He has no limits. No bodily or space confinements. This is just the way I understand it and this explanation is not in the Bible so I could be wrong.
A third amazing thing about John is his boldness. King Herod had a reputation and it wasn’t a good one. You could be thrown in prison or killed just because he was having a bad day. John boldly told King Herod that it was not lawful for him to have his brother’s wife (Herodias). Herodias just might be even more dangerous than Herod himself, but that did not stop John from preaching the truth. It got him thrown in prison and eventually beheaded.
A fourth amazing thing about John is what happened to him while in prison. This is the guy who knew while in the womb who Jesus was. He said “Behold, the Lamb of God!” when he baptized Jesus. He even preached the word of God even though he knew it would get him thrown in jail. Yet, while in prison, he heard the things Jesus was doing and he sent the disciples to ask Jesus “Are you the one who was to come or should we expect someone else?”
What?!! If anyone knew Jesus was the one, it was John. Why was he doubting now? It makes me wonder what they did to him while in prison. Herodias hated John with a passion and she later asked to have him beheaded. I’m sure she made certain that his stay in prison wasn’t like staying at the Hilton. Did they torture him? We don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say that, but something shook the faith of this ‘unshakable’ guy. John needed reassurance, so what did Jesus do?
Jesus didn’t chastise John for lack of faith because he knew what he was going through. He also knew that John knew his scriptures. Instead of telling the disciples to tell him “Yes, I am,” he told the disciples to tell him that the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured…. Jesus knew that if John were told about these things, he would know that the prophesies about the Christ were being fulfilled. This knowledge would give John the encouragement and strength he would need to endure to the end.
The fifth most amazing thing to me about John is the most controversial. There are prophecies in the Old Testament that tell that the forerunner would come in the spirit of Elijah. Some say that it just means that John would have a strong faith like Elijah, but let’s hear what Jesus himself says about John.
Matthew 11 vs. 14-15 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear.
In Matthew, Chapter 11, Jesus is talking about John the Baptist to the crowd. Then he says “if you have ears to hear.” Why did he say that? Because he knew what he just said (that John was Elijah) would be hard to believe. He was telling them to have an open mind and ears to listen and believe his words.
Matthew 17 vs. 10-13 Then the disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
Again, Jesus is clearly saying that John is Elijah, but people have a hard time believing this. I get asked, “So, you believe in reincarnation then?” No, I don’t. Reincarnation is when someone dies and comes back as another human being or animal. Elijah never died. He went to heaven on a chariot. Why didn’t God have him die like everyone else? My guess is that it was because he had more for him to do here on earth. It wasn’t time for him to die just yet.
In John 1 vs. 19-28 John denies being the Christ and he also denies being Elijah. Is it possible that John didn’t know that he was Elijah? I don’t know. John says he is not Elijah. Jesus says that he was. I’m going to believe Jesus.
If you are having trouble believing this theory of mine, don’t worry about it because it’s not important. I just find the new things I discover in the Bible interesting and I like to share them. I could be right on this or I could be wrong. It’s not really important if you believe this because John was just a man. Elijah was just a man. The only person you need to believe in is Jesus. He is the Son of God. He is part of the Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The bible is so fascinating. I’ve read it numerous times and I keep discovering things that I over-looked before. Usually, you read a book once or twice and you don’t want or need to read it again. The Bible has no ordinary author though. The words were inspired by God himself. There are people who have studied the bible all their lives and have gotten a degree in theology, yet they still keep discovering and learning new things.
Amazing. Simply amazing.
Below, I am going to list the bible verses I found concerning John just in case you want to read them yourself.
Old Testament Prophecies
Isaiah 40 vs. 3-5 (Matthew 3 vs. 1-3)
Malachi 3 vs. 1 (Matthew 11 vs. 7-10)
Malachi 4 vs. 5 (Matthew 11 vs. 13-14)
Matthew 3 vs. 1-17
Matthew 11 vs. 1-19
Matthew 17 vs. 10-13
Mark 1 vs. 1-8
Mark 6 vs. 14-29
Luke 1 vs. 5-25
Luke 1 vs. 39-45
Luke 1 vs. 57-80
Luke 3 vs. 1-20
John 1 vs. 19-28
John 3 vs. 22-36