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Johannes Die Doper

My naam is Johannes die Doper. Ek het sopas die voorreg gehad om die Messias waaroor ek gereek het, te kon gedoop het.

Ek sal julle later van hierdie ongelooflike oomblik in my lewe vertel. Ek het aan Hom gevat, onder die water geplaas. Daarna het ek die stem van God die Vader gehoor wat gesê het, “Dit is my geliefde Seun in wie ek ‘n welbahae het.”

En die ander wonder wat ek met julle bespreek, was die betrokkenheid van die Heilige Gees by die doopdiens van Jesus.


My pa se naam was Sagaria en my was Elisabet.

Terwyl my pa in die tempel diens gedoen het, het die engel Gabriël aan hom verskyn. Hy het aan my pa die ongelooflike goeie nuus gebring dat daar vir hom en my ma ‘n seuntjie gebore sou word en hulle moet hom Johannes noem.

He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven’s messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings. {DA 103.3}

God does not send messengers to flatter the sinner. He delivers no message of peace to lull the unsanctified into fatal security. He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer, and pierces the soul with arrows of conviction. The ministering angels present to him the fearful judgments of God to deepen the sense of need, and prompt the cry, “What must I do to be saved?” Then the hand that has humbled in the dust, lifts up the penitent. The voice that has rebuked sin, and put to shame pride and ambition, inquires with tenderest sympathy, “What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?” {DA 104.1}

The tyranny and extortion of the Roman governors, and their determined efforts to introduce the heathen symbols and customs, kindled revolt, which had been quenched in the blood of thousands of the bravest of Israel. All this intensified the national hatred against Rome, and increased the longing to be freed from her power. {DA 104.2}

Amid discord and strife, a voice was heard from the wilderness, a voice startling and stern, yet full of hope: “Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” With a new, strange power it moved the people. Prophets had foretold the coming of Christ as an event far in the future; but here was an announcement that it was at hand. John’s singular appearance carried the minds of his hearers back to the ancient seers. In his manner and dress he resembled the prophet Elijah. With the spirit and power of Elijah he denounced the national corruption, and rebuked the prevailing sins. His words were plain, pointed, and convincing. Many believed him to be one of the prophets risen from the dead. The whole nation was stirred. Multitudes flocked to the wilderness. {DA 104.3}

But John was impressed by the Holy Spirit that many of these men had no real conviction of sin. They were timeservers. As friends of the prophet, they hoped to find favor with the coming Prince. And by receiving baptism at the hands of this popular young teacher, they thought to strengthen their influence with the people. {DA 105.2}
John met them with the scathing inquiry, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance;

“And now also,” said the prophet, “the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”

It had been revealed to him that the Messiah would seek baptism at his hands, and that a sign of His divine character should then be given. Thus he would be enabled to present Him to the people. {DA 109.3}

He pleads with the Father for power to overcome their unbelief, to break the fetters with which Satan has enthralled them, and in their behalf to conquer the destroyer. He asks for the witness that God accepts humanity in the person of His Son. {DA 111.6}

Direct from the throne issue the beams of His glory. The heavens are opened, and upon the Saviour’s head descends a dovelike form of purest light,–fit emblem of Him, the meek and lowly One. {DA 112.1}

The people stood silently gazing upon Christ. His form was bathed in the light that ever surrounds the throne of God. His upturned face was glorified as they had never before seen the face of man. From the open heavens a voice was heard saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” {DA 112.2}

John had been deeply moved as he saw Jesus bowed as a suppliant, pleading with tears for the approval of the Father. As the glory of God encircled Him, and the voice from heaven was heard, John recognized the token which God had promised. He knew that it was the world’s Redeemer whom he had baptized. The Holy Spirit rested upon him, and with outstretched hand pointing to Jesus, he cried, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” {DA 112.4}

And the word that was spoken to Jesus at the Jordan, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” embraces humanity. God spoke to Jesus as our representative. With all our sins and weaknesses, we are not cast aside as worthless. “He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6.

The light which fell from the open portals upon the head of our Saviour will fall upon us as we pray for help to resist temptation. The voice which spoke to Jesus says to every believing soul, This is My beloved child, in whom I am well pleased. {DA 113.1}


John the Baptist was now preaching and baptizing at Bethabara, beyond Jordan. It was not far from this spot that God had stayed the river in its flow until Israel had passed over.


The deputies from Jerusalem had demanded of John, “Why baptizest thou?” and they were awaiting his answer. Suddenly, as his glance swept over the throng, his eye kindled, his face was lighted up, his whole being was stirred with deep emotion. With outstretched hands he cried, “I baptize in water: in the midst of you standeth One whom ye know not, even He that cometh after me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose.” John 1:26, 27, R. V., margin. {DA 136.2}


When he beheld Jesus among the throng on His return from the desert, he confidently looked for Him to give the people some sign of His true character. Almost impatiently he waited to hear the Saviour declare His mission; but no word was spoken, no sign given. Jesus did not respond to the Baptist’s announcement of Him, but mingled with the disciples of John, giving no outward evidence of His special work, and taking no measures to bring Himself to notice. {DA 136.4}

The next day John sees Jesus coming. With the light of the glory of God resting upon him, the prophet stretches out his hands, declaring, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is become before me. . . . And I knew Him not; but that He should be made manifest to Israel, for this cause came I baptizing in water. . . . I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven; and it abode upon Him. And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize in water, He said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon Him, the same is He that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” John 1:29-34, R. V., margin. {DA 137.1}


The next day John sees Jesus coming. With the light of the glory of God resting upon him, the prophet stretches out his hands, declaring, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is become before me. . . . And I knew Him not; but that He should be made manifest to Israel, for this cause came I baptizing in water. . . . I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven; and it abode upon Him. And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize in water, He said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon Him, the same is He that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” John 1:29-34, R. V., margin. {DA 137.1}

Was this the Christ? With awe and wonder the people looked upon the One just declared to be the Son of God.

But who was this One greater than John the Baptist? In His dress and bearing there was nothing that betokened rank. He was apparently a simple personage, clad like themselves in the humble garments of the poor. {DA 137.2}

At His baptism they had seen His countenance transfigured in the light of heaven; now, pale, worn, and emaciated, He had been recognized only by the prophet John. {DA 137.3}

But as the people looked upon Him, they saw a face where divine compassion was blended with conscious power. Every glance of the eye, every feature of the countenance, was marked with humility, and expressive of unutterable love. He seemed to be surrounded by an
atmosphere of spiritual influence.

Jesus came in poverty and humiliation, that He might be our example as well as our Redeemer. If He had appeared with kingly pomp, how could He have taught humility?

On the following day, while two disciples were standing near, John again saw Jesus among the people. Again the face of the prophet was lighted up with glory from the Unseen, as he cried, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The words thrilled the hearts of the disciples. They did not fully understand them. What meant the name that John had given Him,–“the Lamb of God”? John himself had not explained it. {DA 138.4}


John the Baptist had been first in heralding Christ’s kingdom, and he was first also in suffering. From the free air of the wilderness and the vast throngs that had hung upon his words, he was now shut in by the walls of a dungeon cell. He had become a prisoner in the fortress of Herod Antipas. In the territory east of Jordan, which was under the dominion of Antipas, much of John’s ministry had been spent. Herod himself had listened to the preaching of the Baptist. The dissolute king had trembled under the call to repentance. “Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy; . . . and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” John dealt with him faithfully, denouncing his iniquitous alliance with Herodias, his brother’s wife. For a time Herod feebly sought to break the chain of lust that bound him; but Herodias fastened him the more firmly in her toils, and found revenge upon the Baptist by inducing Herod to cast him into prison. {DA 214.1}


The life of John had been one of active labor, and the gloom and inaction of his prison life weighed heavily upon him. As week after week passed, bringing no change, despondency and doubt crept over him.


His disciples did not forsake him. They were allowed access to the prison, and they brought him tidings of the works of Jesus, and told how the people were flocking to Him. But they questioned why, if this
new teacher was the Messiah, He did nothing to effect John’s release. How could He permit His faithful herald to be deprived of liberty and perhaps of life?

These questions were not without effect. Doubts which otherwise would never have arisen were suggested to John. Satan rejoiced to hear the words of these disciples, and to see how they bruised the soul of the Lord’s messenger. Oh, how often those who think themselves the friends of a good man, and who are eager to show their fidelity to him, prove to be his most dangerous enemies! How often, instead of strengthening his faith, their words depress and dishearten! {DA 215.1}


Like the prophet Elijah, in whose spirit and power he had come to Israel, he looked for the Lord to reveal Himself as a God that answereth by fire. {DA 215.2}


And now from his dungeon he watched for the Lion of the tribe of Judah to cast down the pride of the oppressor, and to deliver the poor and him that cried. But Jesus seemed to content Himself with gathering disciples about Him, and healing and teaching the people. He was eating at the tables of the publicans, while every day the Roman yoke rested more heavily upon Israel, while King Herod and his vile paramour worked their will, and the cries of the poor and suffering went up to heaven. {DA 215.3}

John would not discuss his doubts and anxieties with his companions. He determined to send a message of inquiry to Jesus. This he entrusted to two of his disciples, hoping that an interview with the Saviour would confirm their faith, and bring assurance to their brethren. And he longed for some word from Christ spoken directly for himself. {DA 216.4}
The disciples came to Jesus with their message, “Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” {DA 216.5}

Thus the day wore away, the disciples of John seeing and hearing all. At last Jesus called them to Him, and bade them go and tell John what they had witnessed, adding, “Blessed is he, whosoever shall find none occasion of stumbling in Me.” Luke 7:23, R. V. The evidence of His divinity was seen in its adaptation to the needs of suffering humanity. His glory was shown in His condescension to our low estate. {DA 217.1}

Aside from the joy that John found in his mission, his life had been one of sorrow. His voice had been seldom heard except in the wilderness. His was a lonely lot. And he was not permitted to see the result of his own labors. It was not his privilege to be with Christ and witness the manifestation of divine power attending the greater light. It was not for him to see the blind restored to sight, the sick healed, and the dead raised to life. He did not behold the light that shone through every word of Christ, shedding glory upon the promises of prophecy. The least disciple who saw Christ’s mighty works and heard His words was in this sense more highly privileged than John the Baptist, and therefore is said to have been greater than he. {DA 220.3}


Herod waited in vain to be released from his oath; then he reluctantly commanded the execution of the prophet. Soon the head of John was brought in before the king and his guests. Forever sealed were those lips that had faithfully warned Herod to turn from his life of sin. Never more would that voice be heard calling men to repentance. The revels of one night had cost the life of one of the greatest of the prophets. {DA 222.1}

All who follow Christ will wear the crown of sacrifice. They will surely be misunderstood by selfish men, and will be made a mark for the fierce assaults of Satan. It is this principle of self-sacrifice that his kingdom is established to destroy, and he will war against it wherever manifested. {DA 223.4}


As the followers of Jesus should languish in lonely cells, or perish by the sword, the rack, or the fagot, apparently forsaken by God and man, what a stay to their hearts would be the thought that John the Baptist, to whose faithfulness Christ Himself had borne witness, had passed through a similar experience! {DA 224.2}


Though no miraculous deliverance was granted John, he was not forsaken. He had always the companionship of heavenly angels, who opened to him the prophecies concerning Christ, and the precious promises of Scripture. These were his stay, as they were to be the stay of God’s people through the coming ages. To John the Baptist, as to those that came after him, was given the assurance, “Lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the end.” Matthew 28:20, R. V., margin. {DA 224.4}


God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory
of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him.


Not Enoch, who was translated to heaven, not Elijah, who ascended in a chariot of fire, was greater or more honored than John the Baptist, who perished alone in the dungeon. “Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Philippians 1:29

And of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor. {DA 224.5}

1. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ and son of Zechariah (KJV “Zacharias”), a priest of the course of “Abia,” and Elizabeth (Lk 1:5). It was while Zacharias was performing his priestly function of burning incense in the Temple that Gabriel informed him of the birth of the child and instructed him to call his name John and to bring him up as a Nazirite. The angel predicted that the child would be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb, and would go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (vs 8–17). Remembering his own and his wife’s advanced age, Zacharias expressed doubt at the word of the angel, and because of his unbelief was struck dumb (vs 18–22). In due course the child was born, and 8 days later was circumcised. The neighbors and relatives assumed that the child would be called Zacharias. However, Elizabeth, following the directions of the angel (v 13), insisted upon the name John. When Zacharias was consulted by means of signs, he wrote upon a tablet that the name should be John. At that very moment his speech was restored. These strange happenings astonished the people of the area, so that all wondered what kind of child John would be (vs 57–66). John’s father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied that his son would be called “the prophet of the Highest” for he would “go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways” (vs 67–79).
John grew up in the wilderness, where he remained until his ministry began (Lk 1:80). This wilderness was probably the “wilderness of Judaea” mentioned in Mt 3:1, a region of barren hills between the Dead Sea and the highest parts of the central mountain range of Palestine . The Bible offers no information concerning the early life and training of John beyond stating that “the child grew, and waxed stron waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel” (Lk 1:80).
John was a cousin of Jesus, and was about 6 months older than He (Lk 1:36), hence probably began his ministry 6 months before Jesus, also about the age of 30. This was the age at which Jews regarded a man as having reached his full maturity and as being therefore eligible for the responsibilities of public life (cf. ch 3:23).

John was apparently a rugged man in both character and appearance. He did not hesitate to speak cutting truth when it was necessary (Mt 3:7–11; Lk 3:7–9). He was a man of austere, indeed what might even appear to be almost unsocial, habits (Mt 11:19; Lk 7:33), who ate the simplest foods, foods *locusts and “wild honey” (Mt 3:4; Mk 1:6). His clothing was a garment woven of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle about his waist (Mt 3:4; Mk 1:6; cf. Mt 11:8).
All of John’s preaching, it would seem, was done in the “wilderness of Judaea” (Mt 3:1). Luke states that he labored in the country about Jordan, and that his preaching in desert areas was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah that he would preach in the wilderness (Lk 3:3, 4). One reason for his preaching near the Jordan was doubtless the suitability of the river for baptisms (cf. Jn 3:23). The power of his message is attested by the fact that crowds streamed out of the cities and from the countryside around to hear him and to be baptized of him (Mt 3:5,6; Mt 1:4, 5; Lk 3:7). Not only did his preaching bear fruit among the Jews and of Judea (see Jos. Ant. xviii. 5.2., 2), but the effects of his message spread to areas outside Palestine (Acts 18:25; Acts 19:3).
The peak, and the beginning of the decline, of John’s ministry was reached on the day he baptized Jesus (Jn 1:33). When Jesus came to the Baptist requesting immersion, John demurred, stating that he himseld himself needed to be baptized by Jesus, but Jesus requested him to perform the ceremony, “for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (Mt 3:13–15). After the baptism John saw the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descending upon Jesus, and heard a voice from heaven attesting that Jesus was the Son of God (Mt 3:16, 17; Mk 1:9–11; Lk 3:21, 22; Jn 1:30–34). “The next day” John pointed out Christ to those around him as the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29). Later, when he repeated his statement 2 of his disciples who heard his words began to follow Jesus (vs 36–42), symbols of the shift of the multitudes away from John to the new and greater Teacher (ch 3:26).
At no time was John’s greatness more apparent than when some of his disciples came to him with the message that all men were going after Jesus. His answer was one of complete self-abnegation, and self-surrender to the will of God: “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.… He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn 3:25–36).
Some months, perhaps a year or more, after the baptism of Jesus, John was imprisoned by Herod Antipas (see Herod, 3), whom he had fearlessly reproved for abandoning his wife in order to marry his niece Herodias, who was already the wife of his half brother, Herod Philip (Mt 14:3, 4; Lk 3:19, 20).
Some time after his incarceration John sent 2 of his disciples to Jesus to inquire whether or not He was the Messiah. Jesus told the disciples to tell John of the things they had seen and heard; how the sick were healed, the dead were raised to life, and the gospel was preached to the poor (Mt 11:2–6; Lk 7:18–23) After their departure Jesus delivered a wonderful eulogy concerning John; John was not wavering and irresolute, as a reed bent in whatever direction the wind blows; he was not a man of courtly dress and manners, but he was a prophet, and much more than a prophet, to whom had been given the great task of heralding the Messiah (Mt 11:7–18; Lk 7:24–35).
Perhaps some 6 months after this event even John was beheaded. His death was brought about through the scheming of Herodias, who hated John for his reproval of Herod’s actions concerning her (Mk 6:19). On the occassion of one of Herod’s birthdays, when he was entertaining some important guests, Salome, the daughter of Herodias by Herod Philip, danced before them. Her performance so pleased Herod that he offered to give her whatever she asked, even to half of his kingdom. Salome consulted her mother, who directed her to request the head of John. This greatly upset Herod, for he had respect for, and fear of, John. However, he felt he could not withdraw his promise; so he gave orders that the prophet be beheaded. This command was performed, and the Baptist’s head was delivered to Herodias’ daughter on a platter (Mt 14:3, 6–11; Mk 6:19–28). John’s body was buried by his disciples (Mt 14:12; Mk 6:29). When later Herod heard of Jesus and His marvelous works, he thought of that Jesus was John, risen from the dead (Mt 14:1, 2; Mk 6:14, 16; Lk 9:7). According to Josephus, John’s imprisonment and death occurred in the fortress of Machaerus in Perea, east of the Dead Sea (Jos. Ant. xviii. 5. 2).
The Dead Sea scrolls, discovered since 1947, and the excavations at Qumran reveal several close parallels between the Qumran sect and John the Baptist with regard to customs and teachings. Like John, the members of the Qumram community, probably Essenes, lived in the desert of Judah and denied themselves most of the comforts of life. They believed in a separation from the world and in a life of self-denial in order to “clear the way of the Lord” quoting, as did John, Is 40:3 (1 QS viii. 13–16; cf. Mt 3:3). They practiced ritual washings in tanks, in rivers, and in the sea, and novices seem to have had to submit to a kind of baptism. Their beliefs, as contained in their books, with regard to their expectation of the Messiah and other teachings also show parallels to those of John. These parallels have led some to suggest that before his public ministry John may have been a member of the Qumran community, and as such had shared many of their convictions and ideals, but that he had broken with them and their world-removed life when God called him to a public work that would prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry (see W. H. Brownlee, in The Scrolls and the New Testament [New York, Harper, 1957], pp. 33–35).

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