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Category:Saint John the Baptist
Saint John the Baptist - Prophet - Martyr - Saint
Born: unknown, in Herodian Judea
Died: 28 - 36 A.D. in Machaerus, Perea, Iudæa
Honored in: Aglipayan Church, Anglicanism, Assyrian Church of the East, Bahá'í Faith, Eastern Orthodox Church, Islam, Lutheranism, Mandeanism, Oriental Orthodox Churches, Roman Catholic Churches
Major shrine: Church of St John the Baptist, Jerusalem
Feast: June 24 (Nativity) - celebrated as a Solemnity,
August 29 (Beheading) - celebrated as a Memorial,
January 7 (Synaxis, Eastern Orthodox),
Thout 2 (Coptic Orthodox Church)
Attributes: Camel-skin robe, cross, lamb, scroll with words "Ecce Agnus Dei", platter with own head, pouring water from hands or scallop shell
Patronage: Patron saint of Jordan, Puerto Rico, Knights Hospitaller of Jerusalem, French Canada, Newfoundland, Cesena, Florence, Genoa, Monza, Porto, San Juan, Quiapo Church of the Black Nazarene, Turin, Xewkija, and many other places.
---excerpt from the Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Saint John the Baptist - The "forerunner of our Lord." We have but fragmentary and imperfect accounts of him in the Gospels. He was of priestly descent. His father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of Abia (1 Chronicles 24:10), and his mother, Elisabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). The mission of John was the subject of prophecy (Matthew 3:3; Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1). His birth, which took place six months before that of Jesus, was foretold by an angel. Zacharias, deprived of the power of speech as a token of God's truth and a reproof of his own incredulity with reference to the birth of his son, had the power of speech restored to him on the occasion of John's circumcision (Luke 1:64). After this no more is recorded of him for thirty years than what is mentioned in Luke 1:80. John was a Nazarite from his birth (Luke 1:15; Numbers 6:1). He spent his early years in the mountainous tract of Judah lying between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea (Matthew 3:1). At length he came forth into public life, and great multitudes from "every quarter" were attracted to him. The sum of his preaching was the necessity of repentance. He denounced the Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned them of the folly of trusting to external privileges (Luke 3:8). "As a preacher, John was eminently practical and discriminating. Self-love and covetousness were the prevalent sins of the people at large. On them, therefore, he enjoined charity and consideration for others. The publicans he cautioned against extortion, the soldiers against crime and plunder." His doctrine and manner of life roused the entire south of Palestine, and the people from all parts flocked to the place where he was, on the banks of the Jordan. There he baptized thousands unto repentance. The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in Nazareth (Matthew 3:5), and he came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized of John, on the special ground that it became him to "fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15). John's special office ceased with the baptism of Jesus, who must now "increase as the King come to His kingdom. He continued, however, for a while to bear testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus. John pointed Jesus out to his disciples, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." John's public ministry was suddenly (after about six months probably) brought to a close by his being cast into prison by Herod, whom he had reproved for the sin of having taken to himself the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19). He was shut up in the castle of Machaerus (q.v.), a fortress on the southern extremity of Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded. His disciples, having consigned the headless body to the [[:Category:grave, went and told Jesus all that had occurred (Matthew 14:3). John's death occurred apparently just before the third Passover of our Lord's ministry. Our Lord Himself testified regarding John that he was a "burning and a shining light" (John 5:35).
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