John's Last Days
John the Baptist was a fearless (of man, that is - he righteously feared God, which made him fearless of any man) servant of God. He spoke the Truth, plainly, bluntly, to all. That included to Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee (see The Herods), who arrested and imprisoned John in the fortress of Machaerus, located in the southern part of Perea, east of the Dead Sea, the place where John would spend his remaining days:
The Baptism of Jesus, by John, was the point that marked the ending of John's ministry, and the beginning of Jesus' ministry. As John himself in effect stated above, the "world" was not big enough for both of them. It was not long after that John was imprisoned, as recorded in the verses above. Even in prison however, John did manage to keep informed of the progress of the just-beginning, as yet little-known ministry of The One that the famous John had prepared the way for:
"And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at Me."
"As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? Why then did you go out? To see a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings' houses. Why then did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.'"
"Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force. For all the Prophets and the law prophesied until John; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come." (Matthew 11:2-14 RSV)
John's inevitable martyrdom (God could have rescued him anytime, but why would He have done that? John by then had successfully fulfilled the reason that he was miraculously born to his past the time of having children parents i.e. Luke 1:7,11-17, see also Elizabeth) came about, despite Herod's fear that killing such a popular prophet would cause an uprising, through Herodias:
"But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter." And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it; and they went and told Jesus." (Matthew 14:5-12 RSV)
Fact Finder: In Matthew 11:14 (quoted above), Jesus Christ referred to John the Baptist as the "Elijah who is to come." What did He mean by "Elijah"?
See The Elijah To Come
|Daily Bible Study Back-Issue Library - Over 2,300 Studies!|
By The Book
The Spirit World
This Day In History, August 27
1626: The Danes were defeated by the Catholic League in Germany, marking the end of Danish intervention in European wars.
1776: The Battle of Long Island during the American Revolution began; it lasted until the 30th. To protect New York City and the lower Hudson valley from the British, George Washington sent a force to Brooklyn Heights on Long Island. The British under Sir William Howe laid siege.
1813: The Allies defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Dresden.
1828: Uruguay became an independent state.
1883: 36,000 people died in the eruption of a volcano on the island of Krakatoa; it produced the loudest noise to echo around the world in recorded history.
1892: Fire seriously damaged New York's original Metropolitan Opera House, located at Broadway and 39th Street.
1916: Italy declared war on Germany.
1928: The Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed in Paris by 60 nations, outlawing war and providing for the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Second World War followed a little over 10 years later.
1975: Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia, died at age 83.
1979: Louis Mountbatten was killed by an Irish terrorist bomb in his sail boat in Sligo, Ireland.