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Old 12-26-2002, 08:13 AM   #1
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Please tell me the story of John the Baptist and Jesus

A narrative would be great. And the ususal caveat applies: I'm not a Christian, so please explain any Scripture you quote and give me context with it.


Thanks.
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Old 12-26-2002, 12:04 PM   #2
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Martha,

The best narrative is that which comes straight from God. The following passages are narratives (i.e., not prophetic or poetic) from the Bible describing the birth, life and death of John the Baptist.

Birth:

Luke 1:5-45; 57-66; 80

Life:

John 1:19-34; 3:22-36
Matthew 11:1-19

Death:

Matthew 14:1-12


In a nutshell, John the Baptist came to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus.

If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to help...

Peace.
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Old 12-28-2002, 09:49 PM   #3
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Thanks, nbc; it has taken me so long to reply because I was out of town for a few days.

I will look up those Bible passages, but I was hoping for a paragraph or two telling me the story of the interaction between Jesus and John.
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Old 12-28-2002, 11:39 PM   #4
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hmmmm....

I have a couple of things...

Have you ever seen "Godspell"? That occurs to me right now. The beginning of the musical is a representation of how the disciples came together... and how John prepared the way for Jesus.

How I understand the story (and I haven't actually read the Bible story for about a year now) is that John began the preparation of people's minds for what was soon to come. John was sort of the movie trailer for Jesus. He helped to ready people to recieve the word of God. John made followers aware that Jesus would come to save them all.

God sent John to prime the pump, essentially. He readied the world for the message that Jesus was to bring. He was a pioneer in this "new religion".

One of the greatest moments in the story (in my opinion) is when Jesus insists that John baptize him. John tries to defer, saying that he is not worthy, but Jesus insists. John relents and baptizes him. Then the dove appears. For me, that has always been the picture in my head when someone mentions Jesus and John.

I'm not sure if this helped at all... actually, I think I'll look back over these Bible stories and try to tell the story in my own words. I find that writing your favorite stories in the language in which you understand them helps to clarify things for yourself... so it'll be a good exercise

I'll post again later probably
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Old 12-29-2002, 09:32 AM   #5
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!

Quote:
Originally posted by hippy


Have you ever seen "Godspell"?



I'm not sure if this helped at all... actually, I think I'll look back over these Bible stories and try to tell the story in my own words.



I'll post again later probably
Yes, I've seen Godspell, but not for ages! One of the people in both the movie and the play was a member of my church. I didn't know him, but it was a nice claim to fame. (One of my favorite songs ever is Day By Day.)

This helps a lot! And I look forward to the story as you'll tell it.
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Old 12-29-2002, 05:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
Thanks, nbc; it has taken me so long to reply because I was out of town for a few days.

I will look up those Bible passages, but I was hoping for a paragraph or two telling me the story of the interaction between Jesus and John.
I'll will have something to you on their interaction tomorrow.
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Old 12-29-2002, 07:20 PM   #7
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It's a little lengthy... but I hope it helps!

It's sort of divided into parts....

Birth of John to Zechariah and Elizabeth

John and Jesus were both born in exceptional circumstances. John's parents were Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were an older couple who were childless because Elizabeth was barren. Zechariah prayed in the temple for a child to be born to them. The angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and told him that a child would be born; he should name the child John and John would be "filled with the Holy Spirit from birth." Gabriel said that John's purpose was "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Zechariah didn't believe that he would have a child and asked Gabriel "How can I be sure?" Because of his doubt, Zechariah was to remain mute until the birth of his son.

When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, the angel appeared to Mary and revealed the news of Mary's pregnancy. She was troubled because she was a virgin. But she accepted the news, saying "I am the Lord's servant."

Mary then went to visit Elizabeth in her home in Judea. When she greeted Elizabeth, John "leaped for joy" within Elizabeth's womb and Elizabeth was "filled with the Holy Spirit." Elizabeth recognized Mary as the mother of her savior. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months. (Sidenote: How interesting would it be to know what these two did together for three months? The mother of Jesus and the mother of John, having intimate fellowship before their sons were even born.)

Then John was born. As soon as John was named, Zechariah was once again allowed to speak. And everyone witnessed the power of God in the lives of this family.

Jesus is born. you know the story.

(Taken mostly from Luke)

--------------------------------------------

John Prepares the Way

John was preaching in the desert. He was clothed in camel hide with a rope around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." In addition to this call, John preached many of the same lessons that Jesus would preach. He preached love and mercy and respect for your fellow humans. Many people came to him to confess and be baptized. But his teachings were constantly followed with the warning that "after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." John knew his purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus.

--------------------------------------------

Jesus and John

One day, Jesus came upon John baptizing in the Jordan river. John recognized Jesus immediately because the sign of the Lord was above him. John had been told that he would know the Son of God by the dove that was constantly with him. John saw this dove about Jesus and knew immediately who Jesus was. John was taken aback when Jesus asked John to baptize him. John said, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus insisted. As he rose out of the water after his baptism, he saw the "sky torn open" and the dove descended. The voice of God was heard to say, "You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

This seems to be the pivotal point in their relationship. The Bible gives no indication that the two men ever met before or again, though they communicated in other ways. The baptism event also seems to be the passing of the torch from John, who prepared the way, to Jesus, who was the way.

After the baptism, Jesus began his very public ministry. It is interesting that he even used the same words that John had used, saying "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

Another thing that I find fascinating about this story, is that John is almost immediately taken out of the picture after this baptism scene. No mention is made of any ministry of John's after the baptism event. The next time we see John, he has been imprisoned by Herod. (And he'll eventually be beheaded.)

We do hear one more interesting thing about John, though. While he is in prison, he begins to doubt that Jesus is the long-hoped for Messiah. He sends a messenger to ask Jesus: "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" to which Jesus gives a very interesting answer. I'll quote the entire passage here because it's worth reading.

Jesus answers: Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:
"I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you. (Malachi 3:1)"
I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear. "To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
"We played the flute for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn."
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He has a demon." The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, "Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and 'sinners'." But wisdom is proved right by her actions. (Matthew 11:7-19)


Now here's a cursory explanation of the passage.

I think this reveals the essential difference between John (and indeed, all the prophets) and Jesus. It marks the difference between those believers who came before Jesus and those who would achieve salvation through Jesus. He says that no one on Earth is greater than John, but even the least one of heaven is greater than he. Jesus explains that the way to get to heaven is changing. No longer will the "forceful" men be able to get to heaven, it is only those who believe in Jesus as the Son of God. The law is also changing. No longer will the law be made by prophesy; the law is Jesus. People of the old way can believe that John was the new Elijah (the Messiah, essentially) but they will be wrong. The last section is kind of hard to understand. I have problems with it. But to me it seems to mean that, though John was pious and holy, the people thought there was something wrong with him. The same with Jesus. Though he came among the people as one of them, the people thought there was something wrong, when, in fact, both men would prove to be right. This seems to illustrate the unbelief of the people and their willingness to dismiss anything that doesn't fit into their definition, their expected result.

It's a hard passage to really get into, but I think it illustrates the relationship between the two men. It shows the way John prepared the path down which Jesus would walk.




Thanks for asking this question, Martha. It was a great exercise for me to reacquaint myself with the story (and actually to discover lots of new things). I hope my story/explanation helped a little bit, and I'll be glad to try and explain more!

~hippy

P.S. Here's a list of the verses to which I referred for information about John and Jesus:

Matthew 3; 11:1-19; 14:1-13
Mark 1:1-11; 6:14-29
Luke 1:5-25; 1:57-66; 3:1-20; 7:18-35
John 1:19-28; John 3:22-36

I find that Luke tends to consolidate the information of the other gospels and it's a good place to start when looking for anything
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Old 12-29-2002, 11:06 PM   #8
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WOW!!

Cool! Thank you! That was great!

I need to put this into terms I understand, and I hope nobody here takes this the wrong way, but John was the instrument by which Jesus was God-realized? He was the one who brought Jesus into His Consciousness as God?


Or did I misread you? ( I don't think I did.)
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Old 12-30-2002, 01:48 AM   #9
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hmmm.... I'm not sure that I can show evidence enough that John brought Jesus into his God-consciousness. That's a possibility. I'm sure many people will argue with that, though.

What I meant was more that John prepared the way for the WORLD'S God-consciousness. Jesus already knew (at least, this is what I think) that he was the Son of God. John helped to prepare everyone else for that revelation.

Hope that clears things up a little
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Old 12-30-2002, 10:34 AM   #10
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Hippy, thanks for the extensive narrative and explanation.

Jesus was always fully aware of who He was. He was following a path known only by He and the Father. Rather, He did not reveal himself at an earlier age because "His time had not come".

John the Baptist was raising the consciousness of the people. The people had lived with prophecy of the coming of Christ for thousands of years.
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Old 12-30-2002, 10:04 PM   #11
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It's hard to put into words the nodding head, the squinty eyes of thought and reflection, and the hmmmmmms that these posts have engendered in me. But thanks, and keep them coming.
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Old 12-30-2002, 10:29 PM   #12
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More than just preparing people's minds, John the Baptist offered a ritual and physical means to cleanse people of their sins, by being baptised by water. It signifies, and allows, a person to repent (turn away) from sins.

Luke 3:4-6 shows how John is fulfilling biblical prophesy:

(4) As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
(5)Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; (6)and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

John worked in a "wilderness" of immorality and put people on a straight path. They had to be clean before they could receive salvation. When Jesus was baptized, he had no sin, so God responded that he was well pleased.

Not all, but some Christians believe that you aren't saved until you are baptised (hence infant baptisms) which goes along with John 3:5, in which Jesus says that one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless he/she is born of water and the spirit.
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Old 12-31-2002, 07:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by DebbieSG
Not all, but some Christians believe that you aren't saved until you are baptised (hence infant baptisms) which goes along with John 3:5, in which Jesus says that one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless he/she is born of water and the spirit.
Not John-related, but just a comment: altho the vast majority of Christians baptize infants, not all those who practice infant baptism do it for that reason. My denomination does it as a sign that God's grace always precedes our action, and that just as we are born into a family without deserving it by works, we are adopted by God in the same way. God marks us as his own and forms a bond with us through that sacrament, but it's an act of covenant and community.

The infant has to make a personal decision to take the covenant into which s/he was born on him/herself later, and become a responsible member of the Body of Christ instead of one for whom the community is taking most of the load.
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Old 02-19-2003, 03:29 AM   #14
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Its interesting that Elizabeth and Mary were related (Luke1:36)!! Anyway, Zechariah, John's father, even prophesied about him becoming a prophet (Luke 1: 67-79) - and he says " And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of your sins...vs76 - 77). I agree with Hippy's comment about John preparing the way for a new consciousness of God.

You see, the Jews were expecting a Messiah, but they were expecting a warrior king of sorts to lead them out of bondage. John was sent to prepare them for the fact that this would not happen the way they figured, but instead they would get a heavenly king who would lead them out of spiritual bondage. Hope that helps.
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Old 02-19-2003, 12:30 PM   #15
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It all helps!
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