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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

John the Baptist part 1



John the Baptist possessed many distinguishing qualities for which he is Worthy of honor:


􀂙 First of which was the saying of Jesus Christ

"Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women

there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist"

(Mt 11:11).

Archangel Michael as well, who announced John's

birth to Zacharias said about him "Many will rejoice at

his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the

Lord" (Lk 1:14, 15).

For a man to be great in the sight of the

Lord…that is an amazing phrase!!

A man could be great in the sight of people, but

for a man to be great in the sight of the Lord and the

Lord announces his greatness this is definitely

wondrous and amazing …!

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

John the Baptist was a Prophet. The book

says that when Herod the King wanted to put him to

death, he feared the multitude, because they counted

him as a prophet (Mt14:5), Jesus Christ elevated him

even more and said about him that he is "more than

a prophet" (Mt 11:9).

John the Baptist was a Priest. And when we offer

him incense in the church we say "Peace be to John

the son of Zacharias, priest and son of the priest".

He was also an ascetic. And God blessed his

asceticism (Mt 11:7, 8). It was said about him in the

book of St. Mark the Prophet: "John was clothed with

camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist,

and he ate locusts and wild honey" (Mk 1:6).

And was also said about him in the book of Luke

the Prophet that he grew and became strong in spirit,

and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation

to Israel (Lk 1:80).

And in announcing John's birth to Zacharias it was

also said about him that he will go before the Lord in

the spirit and power of Elijah (Lk 1:17).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

􀂙 It was even said that he is an angel: the Lord

God said about him "this is he of whom it is written:

Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who

will prepare Your way before You" (Mt 11:10). This

prophecy was also mentioned about him at the

beginning of the book of St. Mark (Mk 1:2), it is a

prophecy quoted from the book of Malachi the

Prophet (Ml 3:1)…so God had prepared and talked

about him ever since the old days.

􀂙 As God prepared him, it was said that "He will

also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his

mother’s womb" (Lk 1:15) and that is why as a

babe inside his mother's womb when Virgin Mary

went to his mother Elizabeth, that babe leaped in her

womb for joy (Lk 1:44) on feeling the babe in Virgin

Mary's womb, leaped as if to meet Him!!

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

􀂙 And in preparing the way before Christ, God

entrusted him with a mission and was foretold about

it by Archangel Gabriel on announcing the birth of

John the Baptist when he said about him that "he will

turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their

God. And that he will turn the hearts of the fathers to

the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the

just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord"

(Lk 1:16, 17).

The father of John the Baptist prophesied -when

he was filled with the Holy Spirit- about this mission

of John the Baptist and said on his birth " And you,

child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For

you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His

ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By

the remission of their sins" (Lk 1:76, 77).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And with all such great qualities of John the

Baptist, he was meek and self denying as meekness

was very much suitable for his message.

Pride was the first sin the world knew, by the sin

of pride Satan fell (Is 14:13, 14). It was also the first

sin with which man was tempted when the serpent

told Eve "you will be like God" (Gn 3:5).

And therefore the story of salvation commenced

with humbleness in the birth of Jesus Christ whom in

His incarnation "but made Himself of no reputation,

taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the

likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as

a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to

the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Phil

2:7, 8).

And in humbleness Jesus Christ was born in a

manger at a small village which is Jerusalem, from a

poor mother and lived in the house of a poor man

who is Joseph…

That is why it was appropriate for whoever

will prepare the way before Him to be as


John the Baptist disappeared so that Christ would

become apparent. He denied himself not speaking

about his exalted qualities.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And so, when priests and Levites from Jerusalem

asked him, “Who are you, that we may give an

answer to those who sent us…


St. John didn't speak about any personal attribute

of his…

He didn't say about himself that he is a prophet, or

that he is the angel who prepares the way before God,

he didn't ever say about himself that he was filled with

the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb or that an angel

announced his birth and God assigned him with a

mission…he didn't ever speak about the exaltation

which was mentioned about him.

But instead he, with meekness, said about

himself that he was just the voice of one crying in

the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord

as the prophet Isaiah said (Jn 1:23).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

John the Baptist was indeed a voice crying against

sinners, crying strongly:

He was a voice crying against the sinners and

their leaders of Pharisees and Sadducees.

He said to them "Who warned you to flee from the

wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of

repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We

have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God

is able to raise up children to Abraham from these

stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the

trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good

fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" (Mt 3:7-10).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

John was also a voice crying against Herod the

King himself.

Herod wanted to marry his Brother Philip’s wife and

that was not lawful according to the Law of Moses as

mentioned in the book of the Leviticus 18, 20.

And for the power of that king no one dared to

oppose him except John the Baptist who cried at his

face saying: it is not lawful for you…(Mt 14:4) . so

Herod put him in prison and John didn't bother at all

then finally king Herod had John beheaded in prison

and John was joyful as accordingly he obtained not only

the crowns of virginity, Priesthood and prophesy but

also the crown of martyrdom as well.

However, the crying voice of John kept bothering

Herod the king even after he had him beheaded, and

when Jesus Christ and His miracles were afterwards

apparent to people, Herod thought that He was John

the Baptist raised from the dead.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

John the Baptist was a voice crying: I'm not

the Christ. And at the same time he called people

to believe in Christ whom he glorified…

He used to say "It is He who, coming after me, is

preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not

worthy to loose" (Jn 1:27, 30) (Mk 1:7). He was saying

this despite the great fame which surrounded him as

people "went out to him and were baptized by him in

the Jordan, confessing their sins "(Mt 3:5).

He always pointed at Jesus Christ saying "The Lamb

of God who takes away the sin of the world " (Jn 1:29).

And on asking him: "Why then do you baptize if you are

not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John

answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there

stands One among you whom you do not know." "This

is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit" (Jn 1:26, 33).

And when he was baptizing Jesus Christ,

humbleness didn't ever depart from him as the crying

voice said to the Master "I need to be

baptized by You, and are You coming to me" (Mt

3:14), then he said to the Jews "He who sent me to

baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see

the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is

He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have

seen and testified that this is the Son of God" (Jn

1:33, 34).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

John disappeared so that Christ would be

apparent and then he would vanish in the

presence of Christ.

John wanted all sights to be focused on Jesus

Christ not to himself, that humbleness of his was

what made him worthy of being the angel who

prepares the way before God…one of the most

beautiful phrases of his in this concern:

"He must increase, but I must decrease"

(Jn 3:30).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

In explaining that phrase he said: "You

yourselves bear me witness that I said, ‘I am not

the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He

who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend

of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him,

rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.

Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled" (Jn 3:28, 29).

John the Baptist rejoiced on handing over the bride

(who is the church) to her bridegroom (who is the

Lord God), but he himself then disappeared as his

mission was completed and his joy was fulfilled.

This meek saint then concludes his speech

saying about Christ "He who comes from above is

above all… He who comes from heaven is above all"

(Jn 3:31).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

After that, John handed over his disciples

to Jesus Christ (Jn 1:35-39).

Then God permitted that this crying voice – as

John completed his service – to proceed and rebuke

Herod the king thus obtaining the crown of


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

This lesson of humiliation, disappearing so

that others would be apparent, is the lesson

we all learn from that crying voice in the

wilderness, I mean John the Baptist.

It is as well the lesson that we learn from his

humble mother who also wanted to disappear so

that the Virgin would be apparent, she – as elderly

'well advanced in years' – says to the young Virgin

"But why is this granted to me, that the mother of

my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as

the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the

babe leaped in my womb for joy" (Lk 1:43.44).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Indeed – as contemplation on Epiphany – it

would be pleasant for us to learn that lesson:

A spiritual person does not come into

conflict with others in life.

But in amore increased spirituality he makes

them come ahead of himself as Paul the apostle

says "In honor giving preference to one another"

(Ro 12:10). And if that what should it be among

humans when dealing with each other so how much

more would it be for John with the Lord God…

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