John the Baptist

John the Baptist lived at the same time as Jesus. Their mothers (Elizabeth and Mary) were related and so they probably saw each other from time to time as they were growing up. John was given a special role by God – letting everyone know that Jesus was coming soon.

John lived in the desert, eating simple food (mainly honey and locusts, a kind of insect) and telling people to get ready for God’s messenger, Jesus. One day Jesus came to where John was speaking and was baptised by John in the River Jordan. John baptised those who wanted to turn away from wrong things they had done and make a new start. (This is how he got his name – John the Baptiser!)John was surprised Jesus wanted to be baptised, because John knew that Jesus hadn’t done anything wrong. But Jesus wanted to identify with all those making a fresh start. In a way, it was a new start for Jesus; the time when he started to tell people about God and how God could help them make a fresh start too!

Later, John was arrested and put in jail. He sometimes wondered if Jesus really was the special one, sent from God. But when John heard about all the amazing things Jesus said and did, he became convinced he really was the ‘one and only’ son of God. Which is exactly what John had heard God say about Jesus when he was baptised! In Luke 3:21-22 we can read the following words, “One day when the crowds were being baptised, Jesus himself was baptised. As he was praying, the heavens opened. And the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice in heaven said, “You are my dearly beloved Son, and you bring me great joy.”” (New Living Translation)

To find out more, read...
Luke 3:1-16, 21-22

and watch Friends and Heroes...
Series 3 Episode 27, “Gladiator School”

John the Baptist