Beheading of John the Baptist

29Aug11

According to the Gospel of Luke John was son of Zachariah and Elizabeth whose birth was foretold by the angel Gabriel to Zachariah. Zachariah was a priest in the temple of Jerusalem. Luke also states that John was born about six months before the birth of his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth. John the Baptist lived as a hermit in the desert of Judea where he lived in poverty wearing a tunic of camel hair tied with a leather belt.  In about A.D. 27 he started his ministry preaching repentance and in his own words recorded in the Bible he said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness” and “Make straight the way of the Lord”. At this time he preached on the banks of the Jordan River converting and baptising many people “for the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand”. Jesus joined the multitudes of people flocking to John the Baptist and John recognized Him as the Messiah and baptized Him saying that “It is I who need baptism from You”.  The power of John the Baptist increased and he was placed under arrest by Herod Antipas (r.4 BC – AD 39) who ruled of Galilee and Perea. John the Baptist preached against and condemned Herod Antipas because he had divorced his first wife in favour of Herodias, who had formerly been married to his brother and therefore had acted contrary to Jewish law. Herod Antipas had John the Baptist imprisoned in chains at Machaerus Fortress on the banks of the Dead Sea. The death of John the Baptist was hastened by Salome who was the daughter of Herodias.  Herod Antipas had promised Salome any reward she chose in exchange for her dancing. Salome demanded that the head of John the Baptist was brought to her on a platter. John the Baptist was therefore beheaded .D.31

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