People of the Bible – John The Baptist
His Birth is Announced
John’s Dad was Zacharias, a priest in the temple at Jerusalem. His mother was named Elisabeth. Both of his parents: were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.(Luke 1:6). But his mother was “barren”, meaning she was unable to have children.
1. Are your parents (or whoever takes care of you) saved? _______
2. If “No” have you witnessed to them? _________________
One day while Zacharias was working in the temple, an Angel of The Lord appeared to him and told him that he and his wife were going to have a baby. And then he told him that their baby son would: 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 1:16-17).
The angel was telling Zacharias that his son was going to be a great man for God. That he was going to be like the great prophet Elijah (Elias) and turn people to worshipping God.
2. Do you ever feel like God is calling on you to spread the Gospel to someone or a group of people? _______________
3. How do you normally respond to that calling?
When Zacharias heard this he did not believe it! He was an old man and his wife was past the age for women to have children. Well the angel he was speaking to couldn’t believe Zacharias’ behavior! The angel, named Gabriel, told Zacharias that because he doubted that he would be a mute from that point on until the baby was born.
3. Do you sometimes doubt the Word of God? (Circle one)
Never Rarely Sometimes Often
4. What should you do when you have doubts about God or His Word?
The Sisters Meet Up
Now as we stated, John the Baptist’s mother was Elisabeth. Elisabeth happened to have a sister named Mary who was also pregnant.
5. What was the name of Mary’s baby? _________________________________
Luke 1:40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Elisabeth knew that Mary was pregnant with the Messiah! Just being in front of Mary caused Elisabeth’s own miracle baby to jump inside of her.
John the Baptist is Born
Luke 1: Now Elisabeth’s full-time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. 59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. 61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing-table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. 64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.
So Elisabeth had her baby and Zacharias finally got back his ability to speak. Just a perfect example that it’s better to listen to God from the beginning then have to go through a punishment to understand Him.
6. What is John the Baptist’s relation to Jesus? ____________________________
John the Baptist Prepares the Way For The Messiah
Once he became a man, God spoke to John the Baptist and told him to start his ministry. John The Baptist had the job of announcing to the nation of Israel that the Messiah was finally coming. In the Old Testament, which the Israelites used as their Bible at that time, there were over 100 different prophecies predicting that one day a Messiah would come. Some of the prophecies predicted where he’d be born (Bethlehem). Some said where he’d live for a little while (Egypt). While others even stated how he would die (with his hands and feet pierced). At this time, many people were excited about the possibility of the Messiah coming. And John was letting everyone know the time had come.
John was not like the preachers of his time. He preached out in the woods, ate locusts with honey and dressed in animal skins. He did not work in the temple and had no official position. But what he did possess was a strong message. He urged people to repent, because the Kingdom of God was at hand. Repenting means turning from your sin and seeking to live a Godly lifestyle. He then baptized people as their public announcement of their faith. People were so moved by his preaching that they thought maybe he was the Messiah. But he told them over and over again that he was not. In fact this is how he referred to Jesus:
Luke 1:26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
John stated that he was not even worthy to lace Jesus’ shoes. With all the popularity he was gaining, John the Baptist kept the focus on Jesus. It was not about him, it was about Jesus Christ.
7. How often do you mention Jesus Christ to your friends and praise Him like John the Baptist did?
Often Sometimes Rarely Never
John Sees the Messiah
One day John the Baptist encountered Jesus. He yelled out “Behold the Lamb of God who takes sin from the world!” John was a cousin of Jesus but he did not greet Him like a cousin. He greeted Jesus as who he really was: The Son of God. Jesus then asked John to baptize Him. John was shocked by the request and didn’t event want to do it because he did not feel worthy. BUt Jesus insisted because He wanted to set an example for all Christians. So John baptized Him. And when He did, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, flew over Jesus’ head and God announced from Heaven “this is my Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
“I must decrease so He can increase”
Once Jesus began His ministry, John the Baptist started losing followers. The once popular preacher, was suddenly losing his fame. When John’s friends told him of this, he simply responded “I must decrease so He can increase.” John was ready to let his pride go and not worry about himself so that Jesus could get all the glory.
8. Name 3 things you do to give Jesus glory in your life.
9. What are 3 things you can do to show Jesus how important He is to you?
John The Baptist’s Unfortunate End
Because he was a man of God, John the Baptist ran into trouble. The ruler of his state was a man named Herod. Herod was having an affair with his on brother’s wife and John the Baptist had called him out for it as being sin. Although Herod was mad, he did not want to hurt John the Baptist. Since Jesus had arrived and was performing miracles, even people who didn’t follow Him knew that something supernatural was going on. So many were scared of Jesus Christ and the prophet who announced He was coming. So Herod only had John the Baptist put in jail. One day, Herod’s daughter was putting on a show for the family and Herod told her since he was so impressed she could have one wish and he would grant it. She asked for the head of John the Baptist (Her mother had given her the idea). So Herod had John killed.
Doing what was right for God is all that mattered to John the Baptist. Even if it meant he may be persecuted for it. Name a time where you suffered because of your faith in Christ:
If you can’t think of an answer is it because you don’t really take stands for your faith and let people know it?
Never Rarely Sometimes Often
Jesus said there was no greater prophet who ever lived than John the Baptist. John talked the talk and lived it. How would Jesus rate you as a Christian based on what you say and how you live?
“One of the best to ever do it!” “Excellent” “Very good” “Just ok” “Poor”
Based on your answers above, what are three things you need to pray for?