John the BaptistBiblical Figure
Born: 5 B.C.
Died: c. 33 A.D. (beheading)
Best known as: The man who "prepared the way" for Jesus of Nazareth
John the Baptist is a key figure in the Biblical stories of Jesus of Nazareth. According to the Gospels, John's role was to announce the coming of Jesus: in John 1:23 he tells interrogators, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord.'" According to Matthew 3:4, he wore clothing made of camel's hair and ate locusts and wild honey, and baptized people in the river Jordan. (It was after being baptized by John that Jesus was led to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.) John later was executed by the ruler Herod; as told in Matthew chapter 14, Herod granted the demand of Salome to "give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter."
Extra credit: In the Catholic Church, his feast day is June 24th... John the Baptist is a different person from the apostle John, for whom the Gospel of John is named... In speaking of Jesus, John said: "I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the holy spirit"... According to Luke, John was the son of Zechariah (or Zachary) and his wife Elizabeth, a relative of Jesus' mother Mary, and was born roughly six months before Jesus.
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