John the Baptist (or Baptizer) was God’s gift in answer to the prayers of his parents, Zacharias the priest and his wife Elisabeth. From his birth, John was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he ministered as the forerunner, the announcer, of Christ.
But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.. – Luke 1:13-17 KJV
John made it clear to his followers that he was not the Christ nor even the coming Elijah (John 1:20–23 KJV), though he, like Elijah, lived in the wilderness (Luke 1:80 KJV) and preached a message of repentance. His ascetic life-style and dress dramatized the urgency of his message, involving the nation’s need to repent before the imminent arrival of the Messiah.
Though Jesus was John’s “cousin,” not until God’s supernatural witness at Jesus’ baptism did John understand that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God (John 1:29–34). Jesus declared that John was the greatest of the prophets. Yet, because of the greatness of the coming kingdom, even the lowliest believer would be greater than the prophets of old.
John the Baptist is not mentioned in any of the epistles, but only in the Gospels and Acts.
This article includes material from The King James Study Bible, Full-Color Edition from Thomas Nelson. To learn more about this Bible, watch the video!