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John the Baptist part 2


In the fullness of the time the Lord Jesus Christ

was born. And in the fullness of the time St John the

Baptist was also born to prepare the way before Him

(Mal 3:1).

1. The book of Malachi called him an angel and

so did St Mark Gospel (Mk 1:2).

St Mark wrote his gospel for Romans and they

had a kingdom at that time. And when the king

comes there should be a knight before him, preparing

the way before him. And so long as the one coming,

as St Mark preaches in the gospel, is the Son of God

(Mk 1:1), so it is appropriate that the one coming

before Him who prepares the way before Him is an

angel. And thus wrote St Mark in the beginning of His

gospel the Lord’s saying: “As it is written in the

Prophets: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your

face, Who will prepare Your way before You”” (Mk

1:2) (Mal 4:1).

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2. So, one of the titles of St John the Baptist:

the Angel and the forerunner (Eprodromus).

3. And he was also a martyr by King Herod.

That is because he rebuked the king saying: “It is

not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife as your

wife.” (Mt 14:4). And it ended by him being thrown in

prison then Herod killed him so he was a martyr who

died in defending what is right.

Therefore, in some of my visits to consecrate

churches in Immigration Lands, I found an icon that I

refused to consecrate. And this icon represented this

saint with two angel wings holding his head as a

assign of having his head cut off as a martyr.

I told them then that the importance of St John

the Baptist in the bible was not as an angel. All the

shepherds of churches were called angels as was said

about angels of the seven churches in Asia in the

Revelation book (Rv 2, 3). And his importance does

not lie in him being a martyr for we have thousands

of martyrs. But he is highly famous for being the one

who baptized the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, he was

called the Baptist and not the angel of the martyr.

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4. Thus, the Baptist title is the best title for this


This is because he is the only one in this world who

was worthy of baptizing our Glorious Lord Jesus

Christ. He also baptized big groups of the Jews a

baptism that was called “baptism of repentance” (Acts

19:4) saying: “I indeed baptize you with water unto

repentance” “Therefore bear fruits worthy of

repentance” (Mt 3:11, 8).

And therefore, his icon as a Baptist baptizing the

Christ is the icon that should be in our churches in the

southern side of the altar and is the one related to a

Lord’s Feast which is the Lord’s Baptism Feast that is

also called Epiphany Feat, meaning the Holy

Theophany of Our Lord.

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5. St John the Baptist was also a priest and the

son of a priest:

His father Zacharias was a priest (Lk 1:5). And

his mother was also one of the daughters of Aaron

(Lk 1:5). Therefore, when our priests offer incense as

they face his icon towards south, they say: “Hail to

John; the son of Zachariah. Hail to the Priest the son

of the Priest.” And as a priest he accepts confession

of the crowds of people coming to his baptism. And it

was said about that in the gospel of St Matthew:

“Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region

around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized

by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.” (Mt 3:5,

6). And he is the last priest in the Old Testament.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

6. He also was a prophet, and greater than a


It was said about him in the story of King Herod

prosecuting him: “And although he wanted to put him

to death, he feared the multitude, because they

counted him as a prophet.” (Mt 14:5).

And when the Lord Christ asked the chief priests

and the elders of the people “The baptism of John--

where was it from? From heaven or from men?" And

they reasoned among themselves, saying, "If we say,

“From heaven,' He will say to us, “Why then did you

not believe him?' But if we say, “From men,' we fear

the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.”” (Mt

21:25, 26).

And the Lord Christ himself said to the crowds

about St John the Baptist: “But what did you go out

to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a

prophet.” (Mt 11:9). He was the last prophet in the

Old Testament or he was the prophet of the

transitional period between the two testaments. He

had a prophecy about the Lord Christ saying: “I

indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but

He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose

sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you

with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in

His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His

threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn;

but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable

fire.”” (Mt 3:11, 12).

He also was the one with prophecy about the


Christ saying: “He who comes from above is above

all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the

earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And

what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no

one receives His testimony. He who has received His

testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom

God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does

not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the

Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who

believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who

does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the

wrath of God abides on him.”” (Jn 3:31-36).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

7. St John the Baptist was also a preacher and

a speaker who had great impact.

It was said about him that he was “preaching in

the wilderness of Judea, and saying, "Repent, for the

kingdom of heaven is at hand…"” (Mt 3:1) and he also

used to say: “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


And St John was very strict in his preaching. He

rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to

his baptism and said to them: “Who warned you to

flee from the wrath to come? … 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.” (Mt 3:7-9).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

8. St John the Baptist was a strong man:

It was said about him that He will also go before

God in the spirit and power of Elijah, "to turn the

hearts of the fathers to the children, and the

disobedient to the wisdom of the just" (Lk 1:17).

And what is meant by the spirit of Elijah is Elijah’s

style and power. Elijah rebuked King Ahab (1 K

18:18). And St John the Baptist rebuked King Herod

(Mt 14).

And as Elijah was strong in spreading the faith,

John was also lead people in his days to repentance

to make ready a people prepared for the Lord and

turned many of the children of Israel to the Lord their

God (Lk 1:16, 17).

And it is not meant by (Elijah’s spirit) what some

of the Spirit’s Scientists who believe in reincarnation

say that Elijah’s spirit dwelled in John. This is because

Elijah did not die so that his spirit may come out and

dwell in some other person!! Also Elijah appeared on

the Transfiguration mountain with the Lord Christ and

talked with Him (Mk 9:4).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

9. St John also was a recluse who lived in the


And it was said about him in this that he “was in

the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel”

(Lk 1:80). And even in his preaching it was said that

it was in wilderness of Judea (Mt 3:1).

And the Lord Christ said about him: “What did

you go out into the wilderness to see? …” (Mt 11:7).

In this too he resembled Elijah who was related to the

Mount Carmel. And what really relates them is what is

said in St Antony’s Praise:

You were given the spirit of Elijah ..:.. And

Hannah the prophet ..:.. And John the son of


They also were similar in their reclusion in

dressing. It was said about St John the Baptist that

he “was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt

around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild

honey” (Mt 3:4) (Mk 1:6) and was also said that he

“shall drink neither wine nor strong drink” (Lk 1:15).

Elijah was also a recluse drinking from the brook and

raven were ordered to being him food there (1 K 17:

4, 6).

Both took from the wilderness his attitude and both

were son of mountains, serious in his work for God,

strong in his personality and brave.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

10. Among St John’s characteristics also was

that he was great and the Lord testified of

his greatness.

It was said in the Life giving Annunciation of his

birth that “he will be great in the sight of the Lord”

(Lk 1:15). Very wonderful and rare this statement is!

Who is he that is great in the sight of the Lord?! A

person may be great in front of people but in front of

the Lord we all are “dust and ashes”, and yet, this

testimony from the mouth of Gabriel who is one of

the Archangels.

And a greater testimony came from the mouth of

the Lord of Glory our Lord Jesus Christ himself who

said about St John the Baptist: “Assuredly, I say to

you, among those born of women there has not risen

one greater than John the Baptist” (Mt 11:11).

And no doubt that the Lord meant “among those

born of women of men and prophets” because the

Virgin St Mary was greater than St John the Baptist…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

11. Indications of the greatness of St John the Baptist

are many but the greatest reason behind them is:

“He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit,

even from his mother's womb.” (Lk 1:15).

There are people chosen by the Lord from their

mother’s womb. As Saul of Tarsus (St. Paul the

Apostle) said about himself: “But when it pleased

God, who separated me from my mother's womb…

that I might preach Him among the Gentiles” (Gal

1:15). And God said to Jeremiah: “Before I formed

you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I

sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the

nations.” (Jer 1:5). And so was Samson the Lord

chose him as a Nazirite for Him, when He announced

to his mother that she will conceive him (Jdg 13:4).

But for the first time it was said that someone will

be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s

womb. When did this happen? It happened when the

Lady Virgin Mary visited Elizabeth while she was

pregnant with John “when Elizabeth heard the

greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb;

and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Lk

1:41). And at the same time John was filled with the

Holy Spirit therefore Elizabeth said: “the babe leaped

in my womb for joy.” (Lk 1:44).

The baby leaped for joy, with him filled with the

Holy Spirit, because he was very happy to meet

another baby in the womb of St Mary the virgin. And

that was by the divine reveal to him and his mother

who said: “But why is this granted to me, that the

mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

12. And maybe among the most significant

characteristics of St John the Baptist: is his


The humility quality was always side by side to

the divine incarnation. It first appeared in the Lord of


Glory himself who “made Himself of no reputation,

taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the

likeness of men” (Phil 2:7). As it was a must that he

gets born from a humble virgin who said to the angel:

“Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38)

and so the Lord “has regarded the lowly state of His

maidservant” (Lk 1:48).

And it was also appropriate that the Lord chooses

a humble person to prepare the way before Him who

says: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Jn

3:30). And that this forerunner gets born from a

humble mother too who says about the visit of the

Virgin St Mary: “But why is this granted to me, that

the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The humility of St John the Baptist was

obvious in many occasions:

He was constantly hiding so that the Lord may be

more apparent. When he was asked: Are you the

Christ, He confessed, and did not deny, but

confessed, “I am not the Christ.” (Jn 1:20) but said:

“He who comes after me is preferred before me, for

He was before me. And of His fullness we have all

received…” (Jn 1:15, 16). And in humility also he said

about the Lord: “whose sandal strap I am not worthy

to loose.” (Jn 1:27).

He also 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. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Jn


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And his humility also was apparent at the

time of the baptism:

He was ashamed to baptize the Lord, refraining

from doing it saying: “I need to be baptized by You,

and are You coming to me?” (Mt 3:14). And did not

want to baptize him until the Lord said to him in

humility: “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting

for us to fulfill all righteousness.” (Mt 3:15)… And in

John’s saying: “I need to be baptized” there is

another type of humility, because it is only a

repentance baptism. As if in spite of his holy life he

says: “I sinned and I need repentance”…


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