John the Baptist Appears

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." - Matthew 3:1-2

The New Testament - A Brief Overview

The Beginning of John's Ministry
Scriptures and Topics Covered:
John Appears Preaching in the Wilderness (Mat 3:1-2; Mk 1:1; Lk 3:1-2).
Prophecies About John the Baptist (Mat 3:3 Mk 1:2-3; Lk 3:4-6).
John's Appearance (Mat 3:4; Mk 1:6).
People Came From All Around (Mat 3:5; Mk 1:5).
John's Baptism of Repentance (Mat 3:6 Mk 1:4; Lk 3:3-14).
John and the Pharisees and Sadducees (Mat 3:7-10).
John's Response to the Priest's and Levites (Jn 1:19-28)
John's Message About The Holy Spirit (Mat 3:11-12; Mk 1:8).

"Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness." Luke 3:1-2

John Appears Preaching in the Wilderness

John the Baptist was born about 5 BC, and now about 26 A.D. about the age of 30 he appears in the wilderness of Judea. He was preaching to everyone that they should repent and turn from wickedness and prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah. His message was a cry for repentance, that the time was at hand for people to prepare for the coming of the King.

Hebrew Scroll of the Torah

Prophecies About John the Baptist

The prophecies in the Old Testament were very familiar to John. The Scriptures foretold that the Messiah would be the Lord Himself, the glorious King, and he would come to lay down his life for his friends. The forerunner or messenger was actually a Herald who would run ahead and prepare everyone for the King's arrival. The main Prophecies about this messenger can be found in Isaiah 40:3-5 and Malachi 3:1.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:  And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see [it] together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it]. Isaiah 40:3-5

"Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts." Malachi 3:1

John's Appearance

John stood wearing a camel's hair garment with a leather girdle about his loins, similar to the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament. John had nothing whatsoever to do with the kingdom of this world and the worldly pleasures around him, his only focus was on the kingdom of heaven and the very King who was about to appear. He had nothing to do with wealth or eloquent soft clothing or elaborate meals. His food was the food of the poorest in the land, he ate locusts which were gathered in the desert, and wild honey which was scooped out of the hollow part of trees. He never cut his hair and never drank wine. Water was only drink. He was completely devoted to his task.

                       Camel's Hair
Coin of Archelaus
A Camel's coarse coat can grow hair up to 15 inches

People Came from All Around

The people came from all around to hear John's message, confess their sins and get baptized. The Bible says they came from Jerusalem, Judaea, and the region of the Jordan.

Map of Bathabara the place of the Baptism of Jesus
Map of Bethabara where John was baptizing

"These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing." - John 1:28

Painting of an Ancient Caravan
Painting of the Jordan River

"Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." - Matthew 3:5-6

John's Baptism of Repentance

The baptism of John was different than the baptism of Jesus. People came to the Jordan River where John was preaching, and they were baptized with water as they confessed their sins, in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. John's message was to repent and do good for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. 

Josephus the Roman Jewish first century historian makes mention about John's baptism of purification:

"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and was a very just punishment for what he did against John called the Baptist [the dipper]. For Herod had him killed, although he was a good man and had urged the Jews to exert themselves to virtue, both as to justice toward one another and reverence towards God, and having done so join together in washing. For immersion in water, it was clear to him, could not be used for the forgiveness of sins, but as a sanctification of the body, and only if the soul was already thoroughly purified by right actions. And when others massed about him, for they were very greatly moved by his words, Herod, who feared that such strong influence over the people might carry to a revolt -- for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise -- believed it much better to move now than later have it raise a rebellion and engage him in actions he would regret. And so John, out of Herod's suspiciousness, was sent in chains to Machaerus, the fort previously mentioned, and there put to death; but it was the opinion of the Jews that out of retribution for John God willed the destruction of the army so as to afflict Herod." - Josephus Antiquities 18.5.2 116-119

John's Treatment of the Pharisees and Sadducees

When John saw the religious leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism he denounced them without hesitation:

"O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." - Matthew 3:7-10

John's Response to the Priests and Levites

"And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I [am] the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing." - John 1:19-28

John's Message About the Holy Spirit

John had a very special calling as the messenger of the Messiah. He was given understanding by God about the Messiah, and he knew something that most people didn't understand, that the Holy Spirit would be given to all who believe, and their bodies would become the new Temple of God. John said:

"I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." - Mark 1:8

This is important because throughout history and up to this point the Holy Spirit would only come upon special people at certain times for special purposes, but the Holy Spirit would not live inside the believer until Jesus rose from the dead. The Holy Spirit is the "Shekinah" Presence of God that dwelt in the holy of holies in Old Testament times. The Holy Spirit could not live in a body of sin unless that sin was cleansed by the blood of Jesus. John was given this understanding by the Lord, and his message must have been very peculiar to his listeners.

The New Testament
Birth of John the Baptist
Birth of Jesus
Childhood of Jesus
John the Baptist Appears
Baptism of Jesus
Temptation of Jesus
Jesus Begins His Work
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
Jesus Meets Nicodemus
Imprisonment of John
Sermon on the Mount
The Twelve are Chosen
Raising of the Widow's Son
John's Inquiry from Prison
Jesus Calms the Storm
Jesus Raises Jairus' Daughter
Death of John the Baptist
Feeding the Multitudes
The Transfiguration
Jesus Leaves Galilee
Jesus Rejected at Samaria
Jesus Raises Lazarus
Mission of the Seventy
The Feast at Bethany
The Last Supper
The Betrayal
The Crucifixion
The Resurrection
The Ascension
The Holy Spirit is Given
The Church is Established
The First Persecutions
Philip at Samaria
Conversion of Saul
First Gentile Converted
The Church at Antioch
James Killed by Herod
Paul's Conversion
Paul's 1st Missionary Journey
Council at Jerusalem
Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey
Paul's 3rd Missionary Journey
Paul's Arrest at Jerusalem
Paul at Caesarea
Paul's Journey to Rome
Paul Arrives at Rome
Paul's Imprisonment at Rome
Paul is Acquitted
Paul Visits Various Places
Paul's 2nd Prison at Rome
Martyrdom of Paul
Destruction of Jerusalem

The Story of the Bible

The New Testament
NT Charts
NT Maps

The Birth of John the Baptist
The Birth of Jesus
The Childhood of Jesus
Beginning of John the Baptist's Ministry
The Baptism of Jesus
The Temptation of Christ
Jesus Begins His Public Ministry
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
Jesus Meets Nicodemus
The Imprisonment of John the Baptist
The Sermon on the Mount
The Twelve Disciples are Chosen
The Raising of the Widow's Son
John the Baptist's Inquiry from Prison
Jesus Calming the Storm
Jesus Raises Jairus' Daughter
The Death of John the Baptist
The Feeding of the Multitudes
The Transfiguration of Jesus
Jesus Leaves Galilee for the Last Time
Jesus is Rejected at Samaria
Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead
The Mission of the Seventy
The Feast at Bethany
The Last Supper with His Disciples
The Betrayal by Judas
The Crucifixion of Jesus
The Resurrection of Jesus
The Ascension of Jesus
The Holy Spirit is Poured Out
The Church is Established
The First Persecutions of the Christians
Philip at Samaria
The Conversion of Saul
The First Gentile is Converted
The Founding of the Church at Antioch
The Gospel of Matthew is Written
James is Killed by Herod
Paul's Conversion on the Road to Damascus
Paul's First Missionary Journey Begins
The Council at Jerusalem
Paul's Second Missionary Journey Begins
I Thessalonians is Written
II Thessalonians is Written
Paul's Third Missionary Journey Begins
I Corinthians is Written
Galatians is Written
II Corinthians is Written
Romans is Written
The Gospel of Luke is Written

Paul's Arrest at Jerusalem
Paul at Caesarea
Paul's Journey to Rome
Paul Reaches Rome
Paul's Imprisonment at Rome
Ephesians is Written
Philippians is Written
Colossians is Written
Philemon is Written
James is Written
I Peter is Written
Acts is Written

Paul is Acquitted
He Visits Various Places
Hebrews is Written
I Timothy is Written
Titus is Written
The Gospel of Mark is Written
II Peter is Written

Paul's 2d Imprisonment at Rome
2 Timothy is Written
Martyrdom of Paul
Jude is Written
Destruction of Jerusalem
John's Writings

Bibliography and Credits

Summary of the New Testament Books

1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John

The Old Testament - Brief Overview
The New Testament - Brief Overview
Bible History Online

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