13-The Mystery of Childhood

Highlighting Children in the Bible

Part 13: The Story of John the Baptist Baptist

1-Zecharia & angel

Elderly priest Zechariah was carefully tending to his duties in the temple, when an angel suddenly appeared beside him. Like us, he’d never seen an angel before, so he began to tremble with fright. The angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah, I’ve come to tell you that your wife Elizabeth is going to have a baby and you must call him John.”

In barely a whisper Zechariah asked, “B-b-but how can this be? My wife Elizabeth and myself are old.”

The angel shook his head sadly, “I’m Gabriel, and I’ve been sent to bring you good news, but obviously you haven’t believed what I’ve told you, so you’re not going to be able to talk at all until this actually happens.”

3 Zech writes

Poor old Zechariah! When he came out to the people waiting on the other side of a heavy curtain, he couldn’t talk. All he could do was make signs with his hands.

Though Zechariah didn’t believe at first,  Elizabeth, deep down in her heart, did believe that what the angel said would really happen. Many years had passed since she’d started praying for a child of her own and now she was sure that God was about to answer her prayer even though it seemed impossible.”

As the days passed and Elizabeth’s tummy grew bigger and bigger, she knew that people would snicker and gossip about her, because old people don’t have babies. So she stayed home where she patiently waited and prayed for her special baby.

2-Nativ.John the happy

Finally the day came when her baby was born—a strong and healthy little boy—and eight days after the birth, Zechariah and Elizabeth took their baby to the temple where the name of the baby would be announced by another priest. In those days, it was the custom to have a feast—or a party— when the name was announced and when brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, and friends all came to hear the name announced and then to have a dinner afterwards. It was also common for a first-baby to be named after the father, so when the priest was about to call the baby “Zecharia,” both parents stopped him by shaking their heads. Zechariah then wrote on a tablet, “His name is John!” Now the priest and all the family and friends were shocked. There was no “John” in their family! But seeing Zechariah and Elizabeth’s firm faces, he announced it the way they wanted.

At that moment Zechariah was able to talk again, and now words from God came to his lips as he told how their son would preach good news and prepare people all around for their long-awaited Savior.

Some of the friends and family around them got all excited because they’d read and studied the old scrolls, that were parts of the Bible we have today, and knew that the Savior—or Messiah—might come soon, so this was wonderful news. Others, perhaps, laughed and shrugged their shoulders at the peculiar announcement.


After that, baby John grew to be a clever little boy who heard man stories read to him from the scrolls, and as he grew older, he liked to study outside where he could sit among the flowers and hear birds singing in the trees. There He also felt close to God whom He knew had created all that was around him. One day as he was reading a scroll some words caused him to think and wonder. “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, but God hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6 KJV). What could this mean?

Up till then the people around him offered sacrifices of innocent lambs to remind themselves that someday the Savior-Messiah would come and offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sins, and after that no other sacrifices would be needed. The more he read from the scrolls the more He realized that his cousin Jesus, who was born to Mary, had come for that very special purpose. This brought goose bumps over his whole body.


When he grew up John went away from his home and stayed near a river called Jordan, where he began to teach the people and to baptize them, or dunk them in the river to help them understand that they needed to have their sins washed away. In doing this he was preparing them or making them ready for Jesus.


Then one day as he was teaching the people and calling them to be sorry for their sins he saw Jesus coming toward him. He stopped a moment, and then raised his arm and pointed at Jesus as he said,  “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29 ESV).

10b-Jesus asks John-

When Jesus asked John to baptize Him, John at first refused. “I’m not worthy,” he said.

11-Jesus baptized

But Jesus insisted, so John obeyed, and while people stared in wonder, a dove came down from the sky and perched on Jesus’ head while  a voice from heaven said, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

For those of us who now live long after Jesus’ horrible death on the cross, baptism is a very special ceremony as it is a symbol or picture that helps us understand that Jesus took upon Himself all our sins when He died on the cross, and his blood washed them all away. Now we are free to live for Him who did so much for us.

Cross - Behold_the_Lamb_of_God_001

Later  John, who was called in the Bible the greatest man that ever lived, would be arrested and then killed by an evil king, Today we can be thankful for this man who teaches us so many important lessons from his own life and especially for his gracious words regarding Jesus, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Like John, we too can point others to Jesus and remind them that the blood of Jesus can wash their sins away too.

Here’s an old song that can help us remember all that Jesus has done for us:

“What can wash away my sins,

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Who can make me whole again,

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

O! precious is the flow,

That makes me white as snow.

No other fount I know,

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”


Comments are closed.