Lesson 17: John The Baptist
John the Baptist was sent by God to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus. John's mother was Elisabeth. Elisabeth was a cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus. John's father was Zacharias. Zacharias was a priest. One day while Zacharias was in the temple the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias and told him that his wife, Elisabeth, would have a son. They should name him John. The name John means the "gift of God". The angel said that John would turn many people from their wicked ways. He would prepare, or get them ready, for the coming of Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:16-17).
It was very hard for Zacharias to believe that he and Elisabeth would have a son because they were quite old. The angel told Zacharias, because he did not believe the angel, that he (Zacharias) would become dumb. That is, he would not be able to speak until the child was born. When the child was born their relatives and friends wanted to name the child Zacharias after his father. Zacharias immediately asked for a tablet and he wrote on it that the child should be named John as the angel had told him. As soon as Zacharias had written this he was able to speak again. Zacharias told his relatives and friends that John would go before Jesus to prepare the people for his coming.
John was a very plain man and did not try to impress the people with riches like some of the other leaders did. John wore a covering of camel's hair and clothes made of leather. He ate locusts and wild honey.
John preached to the people in the wilderness of Judea. He told the people to put away their wicked ways. John told them to repent for their sins, that is, to be sorry and change their ways. As a sign that they were trying to do that which was right, John told them to be baptized. To be baptized is to be covered over in water. John baptized many people so he was called John the Baptist.
While John was baptizing near the Jordan River, Jesus came to him and asked John to baptize him. (Matthew 3:13-15). John felt that Jesus was too good to need baptism. Jesus told John that he wanted to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus wanted to set an example for all believers. We are told in the Bible that we can only be saved by believing and being baptized. (Mark 16:16)
As soon as Jesus was baptized, the Spirit (power) of God came upon him in the form of a dove and a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
- What did God send John the Baptist to do?
- What is the name of John's mother?
- What is the name of John's father?
- What is the name of the angel who appeared to Zacharias in the temple?
- What did the angel tell Zacharias?
- What does the name John mean?
- What happened to Zacharias because he did not believe?
- What were John's clothes made of?
- What did John eat?
- What did John preach to the people?
- When the people repented for their sins what did John command them to do?