John the Baptist






JOHN the Baptist was born March 25, 7 B.C., in accordance with the promise that Gabriel made to Elizabeth in June of the previous year. For five months Elizabeth kept secret Gabriel’s visitation; and when she told her husband, Zacharias, he was greatly troubled and fully believed her narrative only after he had an unusual dream about six weeks before the birth of John. Excepting the visit of Gabriel to Elizabeth and the dream of Zacharias, there was nothing unusual or supernatural connected with the birth of John the Baptist.

On the eighth day John was circumcised according to the Jewish custom. He grew up as an ordinary child, day by day and year by year, in the small village known in those days as the City of Judah, about four miles west of Jerusalem.

The most eventful occurrence in John’s early childhood was the visit, in company with his parents, to Jesus and the Nazareth family. This visit occurred in the month of June, 1 B.C., when he was a little over six years of age.

After their return from Nazareth John’s parents began the systematic education of the lad. There was no synagogue school in this little village; however, as he was a priest, Zacharias was fairly well educated, and Elizabeth was far better educated than the average Judean woman; she was also of the priesthood, being a descendant of the “daughters of Aaron.” Since John was an only child, they spent a great deal of time on his mental and spiritual training. Zacharias had only short periods of service at the temple in Jerusalem so that he devoted much of his time to teaching his son.

Zacharias and Elizabeth had a small farm on which they raised sheep. They hardly made a living on this land, but Zacharias received a regular allowance from the temple funds dedicated to the priesthood.





--Presented by the Midwayer Commission, from the Urantia Papers.





John Becomes a Nazarite
John had no school from which to graduate at the age of fourteen...


The Death of Zacharias
After an illness of several months Zacharias died in July, A.D. 12, when John was just past eighteen years of age.


The Life of a Shepherd
John’s life as a shepherd afforded him a great deal of time for thought.


The Death of Elizabeth
On August 17, A.D. 22, when John was twenty-eight years of age, his mother suddenly passed away.


The Kingdom of God
Another, though smaller, group of devout Jews held a vastly different view of this kingdom of God.


John Begins to Preach
It was apparent to all who heard John that he was more than a preacher.


John Journeys North
John still had confused ideas about the coming kingdom and its king.


Meeting of Jesus and John
Just before the noon rest, Jesus laid down his tools, removed his work apron, and merely announced to the three workmen in the room with him, “My hour has come.”


Forty Days of Preaching
To John’s inquiries about his own preaching and mission Jesus only said, “My Father will guide you now and in the future as he has in the past.”


John Journeys South
Since Jesus had gone north into Galilee, John felt led to retrace his steps southward.


John in Prison
John had a lonely and somewhat bitter experience in prison.


Death of John the Baptist
Herod feared to release John lest he instigate rebellion.


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