Death of John the Baptist - Bible Story
The Bible Story of John the Baptist's Death
John the Baptist, well-known for baptizing Jesus in the River Jordan, is commonly referred to as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus. There are many parallels to the lives of John the Baptist and Jesus, as they both preached about repentance and the Kingdom of God and criticized the religious leaders of their day. Additionally, they were both considered martyrs persecuted by officials of the Roman Empire.
According to the gospels of Matthew and Mark, John the Baptist had been imprisoned because he condemned Herod Antipas for divorcing his wife and unlawfully taking Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Philip I. On Herod's birthday, Herodias' daughter, Salome, danced before the king and his guests and Herod was so pleased that he promised to give her any request she desired. Out of revenge for criticizing her marriage to Herod, Herodias told Salome to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Although Herod was dismayed by the request, he reluctantly agrees to have John executed in the prison of Machaerus.
Importance of John the Baptist
Even though John was merely a witness serving as a transitional figure, the impact of his life and ministry should not be underestimated. During his lifetime he had a following of disciples who shared common practices such as fasting and prayers (Matt 9:14; John 1:35-37; John 4:1-2). John's disciples survived his death and spread throughout the Mediterranean world. Apollos was from Alexandria in North Africa and at one point knew only of the baptism of John (Acts 18:24-25). Similarly, upon arriving in Ephesus, Paul encountered about a dozen disciples of John. They too had only experienced the baptism of John (Acts 19:1-7). These instances indicate that the Baptist's movement may have had more influence than what we are able to glean from the New Testament. ~ Bible Dictionary
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