John the Baptist is one of the keys I have used to divide my study of the Kingdom into four sections. So, it seems right that I take time to do a study on John. He is mentioned in all four Gospels and the Book of Acts. Luke mentions him the most (Luke and Acts) and John, as usual, gives a different look into him and his ministry. I am going to list a possible timeline drawing from all four writers. Some events are easy to compare and the mentions in Acts just refer to previous facts. The bullet points may have more than one scripture.
- Luke 1:5-63
- Luke 3:1-20, Matthew 3:1-15, Mark 1:1-8, John 1: 6 to 40
- John 3: 23 – 36
- John 4: 1
- Matthew 4:12, Mark 2:18.
- Matthew 9:14, Luke 5:33.
- Matthew 11: 1-18, Luke 7:18-33
- Matthew 14:1-14
- Mark 6:14-29, Luke 9:9
- John 5:33-36
- Matthew 16:14, Mark 8:28, Luke 9:19
- Luke 11:1 – This one may be out of place.
- Luke 16:16
- Matthew 17:13
- John 10:40-41
- Matthew 21:25-32, Mark 11:30-32, Luke 20:4-6
- Acts 1:5,22; 10:37; 11:16; 13:24, 25; 18:25; 19:3,4
The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) also have #11 and #16 in common. #11 is the story of Jesus asking the Disciples who the people thought He was? The answers included John the Baptist and Elijah. #16 is Jesus’ challenge to the religious rulers in the Temple during Holy Week.
John, the last Old Testament prophet. “The voice” (Isaiah 40:3) who called Israel to repent. Matthew (#7 and 14) quotes Jesus comparing John to Elijah. John, the source of many sermons. Steven Furtick in his book, Crash the Chatterbox, studies John in the chapter The Expectation Gap and unpacks a little of John’s humanity. But in doing this study, I have gotten the idea we have not appreciated John and his ministry enough. (Personally, I got sidetracked with the Elijah connection. That is another post.)
We do not know how long John preached repentance and baptized people before Jesus came to him in #2. Luke quotes Peter, Paul, and Priscila and Aquila in Acts telling people about “the baptism of repentance” and that there was another baptism awaiting them. Luke 7 (in #7) talks about the effects of that baptism and how it changed people to believe and accept Jesus.
John and faithful disciples and fierce enemies. Like Elijah he had a crazy king and a vengeful queen, except John’s queen did get him killed. He never did miracles but directed everyone to Jesus, which was his sole purpose in life.
John’s message and baptism went out before the Apostles and their mission trips. This is seen in Apollos and Ephesus both knowing John’s baptism, and the way Paul addressed the Jews in Pisidian Antioch (#17).
MORE THOUGHTS ON JOHN:
- John could have been a High Priest! Remember, his father Zachariah was behind the Curtain in the Temple.
- May have been an Essene.
- Identified, by his dress, as a prophet.
- He angered and awed Herod. He had no problem killing people but was reluctant to kill John.
- He clearly heard from the Holy Spirit as to his mission in life.
- He lived his life for his mission. He possibly never heard the accolades that Jesus spoke about him.