John the Baptist was aware the Messiah was coming after him, and His identity was revealed (or rather, confirmed) to him in the Jordan though a voice from Heaven.

And yet, it seems John the Baptist did not became one of Jesus's many disciples, nor was he chosen by Jesus as one of the Twelve (whereas two of John's disciples did follow Jesus, one being identified as Andrew). It seemed like they had different tasks altogether and could not mix. I am not aware of an instance where they are preaching together or sharing other moments.

Why John the Baptist did not "follow" Jesus and became one of his disciples? He remained having disciples of himself, which you would imagine being a "less perfect way" than following Jesus.

PD: If needed as per site rules, a Catholic perspective is preferred.

  • 4
    See Malachi 3:1-3 and Mark 1:1-2 as to the reasons. John is the Messenger of Preparation, sent before the Messenger of the Covenant. He does not follow the Messenger of the Covenant (who is the Lord himself). He precedes him.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 1:32
  • 1
    @User14: Yes, an interesting perspective, but certainly not entirely biblical. The Holy Spirit is not just a spirit (small S) but is the third person of the Triune God. At Jesus' baptism by John the baptizer, all three persons of the Triune God "showed up." God the Father, with his declaration concerning Jesus; God the Son; and God the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. Commented Jan 24 at 21:50

10 Answers 10


You ask preferably from a Catholic perspective. Sorry I cannot meet your preference, I am (Reformed) Baptist.

The job of a herald is to announce an important person is coming so the people can make preparation. For example, a herald would go ahead of a monarch into a town. It is heralded to the people assembled for a royal meal to stand up because the monarch is about to enter the room. It is heralded to a court of justice to stand up because the judge is arriving.

John the Baptist was a herald going ahead to tell people to get ready. His ministry adds to our confidence that Jesus was truly the Promised Messiah.. no imposter, as far as I know, has ever had a herald, and certainly not one whose ministry started so much in advance of the one being heralded.

John the Baptist had a very important Commission from God, so important it was prophecied at least 400 years earlier in the Old Testament (Malachi 3:1 & 4:5-6). And the Father did not want him to leave his task, and neither did our Lord Jesus.

So it can be seen that so important was The One that was coming that the people are even given advance notice of His herald!

Jesus humbly allowed John's ministry to come to an end before taking up the same message as John (cf Matt 4:17 with Matt 3:2). Our Lord mostly proclaims himself to be the King in a humble self-effacing way.. "the kingdom of God is at hand". In waiting for the end of John's ministry our Lord Jesus did not try to out-shine John or compete against him; and in taking up the same message after the end of John's ministry Jesus endorsed John.

He praised John in Matt 11:1-19 despite John's uncertainty (Matt 11:3) which probably arose because John did not observe Christ's ministry. God did not call John to observe Christ's ministry, but called him to fulfil his own.

Though the religious leaders & pharisees rejected John, very many of the common people believed he was from God (Luke 20:4-6).

It was doubtless easier for them to believe that John was a prophet of God than that Jesus was the Messiah. John was the sort of man who they recognised as being a man of God, and "Old Testament religious", being ascetic, similar in lifestyle and clothing to Elijah.

And the people had wrong views of what the Messiah would be like - expecting a military ruler (another like King David) to deliver them from the Romans and conquer the Gentiles.

Jesus, on the contrary, was meek, a "glutton" and a wine-drinker, and a friend of tax collectors (who were working for the Romans) & sinners (Matthew 11:19). Probably, none of these were recognised by the people as the kind of attributes the Messiah would have.

So those who heard John's endorsement of Jesus were helped to believe in Jesus, (& Jesus's endorsement of John also helped the people to be more positive about Jesus, Luke 7:29-30).

Another evidence of John's great influence on the common people can be seen in Josephus's history "Antiquities 18.5.2" which was published about AD 93 :

But some of the Jews believed that Herod’s [Herod Antipas] army was destroyed by God, God punishing him very justly for John called the Baptist, whom Herod had put to death. For John was a pious man, and he was bidding the Jews who practiced virtue and exercised righteousness toward each other and piety toward God, to come together for baptism.

For thus, it seemed to him, would baptismal ablution be acceptable, if it were not used to beg off from sins committed, but for the purification of the body when the soul had previously been cleansed by righteous conduct. And when everybody turned to John—for they were profoundly stirred by what he said—Herod feared that John’s so extensive influence over the people might lead to an uprising (for the people seemed likely to do everything he might counsel). He thought it much better, under the circumstances, to get John out of the way in advance, before any insurrection might develop, than for himself to get into trouble and be sorry not to have acted, once an insurrection had begun. So because of Herod’s suspicion, John was sent as a prisoner to Machaerus, the fortress already mentioned, and there put to death. But the Jews believed that the destruction which overtook the army came as a punishment for Herod, God wishing to do him harm.

"The testimony of Josephus reminds us that the memory of John lasted a long time after his death."

For more about him, see Who was John the Baptist?

John must have been famous and must have had a very big influence upon the people for this to be written more than sixty years after his death.

The ministry of John the Baptist was rejected by the Pharisees and religious leaders who of course also rejected Christ. This proves that their rejection of Jesus was inexcusible. Their rejection was not because they had trivial prejudices concerning the style of Christ's ministry, they didn't reject him because they couldn't see how his non-ascetic ways could be of God: they rejected him because they didn't want God. This is proven because the one who was ascetic they also rejected (Luke 7:28-35).


Why John the Baptist did not follow Jesus?

First of all, it was St. John the Baptist’s vocation to be the Precursor of the Messiah. He prepared the way of the Lord, but God did not desire that he follow Jesus. He must increase, but I must decrease!

It was also in order to fulfill the Scriptures.

1The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, a the Son of God, b 2as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” c — 3“a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ” d

4And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I baptize you with e water, but he will baptize you with f the Holy Spirit.” - Mark 1:1-8

John the Baptist had a unique role to fulfill in the salvation of mankind.

The principal sources of information concerning the life and ministry of St. John the Baptist are the canonical Gospels. Of these St. Luke is the most complete, giving as he does the wonderful circumstances accompanying the birth of the Precursor and items on his ministry and death. St. Matthew's Gospel stands in close relation with that of St. Luke, as far as John's public ministry is concerned, but contains nothing in reference to his early life. From St. Mark, whose account of the Precursor's life is very meagre, no new detail can be gathered. Finally, the fourth Gospel has this special feature, that it gives the testimony of St. John after the Saviour's baptism. Besides the indications supplied by these writings, passing allusions occur in such passages as Acts 13:24; 19:1-6; but these are few and bear on the subject only indirectly. To the above should be added that Josephus relates in his Jewish Antiquities (XVIII, v, 2), but it should be remembered that he is woefully erratic in his dates, mistaken in proper names, and seems to arrange facts according to his own political views; however, his judgment of John, also what he tells us regarding the Precursor's popularity, together with a few details of minor importance, are worthy of the historian's attention. The same cannot be said of the apocryphal gospels, because the scant information they give of the Precursor is either copied from the canonical Gospels (and to these they can add no authority), or else is a mass of idle vagaries.

Passing, then, with St. Luke, over a period of some thirty years, we reach what may be considered the beginning of the public ministry of St. John (see BIBLICAL CHRONOLOGY). Up to this he had led in the desert the life of an anchorite; now he comes forth to deliver his message to the world. "In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. . .the word of the Lord was made unto John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching" (Luke 3:1-3), clothed not in the soft garments of a courtier (Matthew 11:8; Luke 7:24), but in those "of camel's hair, and a leather girdle about his loins"; and "his meat" — he looked as if he came neither eating nor drinking (Matthew 11:18; Luke 7:33) — "was locusts and wild honey" (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6); his whole countenance, far from suggesting the idea of a reed shaken by the wind (Matthew 11:7; Luke 7:24), manifested undaunted constancy. A few incredulous scoffers feigned to be scandalized: "He hath a devil" (Matthew 11:18). Nevertheless, "Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the country about Jordan" (Matthew 3:5), drawn by his strong and winning personality, went out to him; the austerity of his life added immensely to the weight of his words; for the simple folk, he was truly a prophet (Matthew 11:9; cf. Luke 1:76, 77). "Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2), such was the burden of his teaching. Men of all conditions flocked round him.

Pharisees and Sadducees were there; the latter attracted perhaps by curiosity and scepticism, the former expecting possibly a word of praise for their multitudinous customs and practices, and all, probably, more anxious to see which of the rival sects the new prophet would commend than to seek instruction. But John laid bare their hypocrisy. Drawing his similes from the surrounding scenery, and even, after the Oriental fashion, making use of a play on words (abanimbanium), he lashed their pride with this well-deserved rebuke: "Ye brood of vipers, who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of penance. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I tell you that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham. For now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doth not yield good fruit, shall be cut down, and cast into the fire" (Matthew 3:7-10; Luke 3:7-9). It was clear something had to be done. The men of good will among the listeners asked: "What shall we do?" (Probably some were wealthy and, according to the custom of people in such circumstances, were clad in two tunics. - Josephus, "Antiq.", XVIII, v, 7). "And he answering, said to them: He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do in like manner" (Luke 3:11). Some were publicans; on them he enjoined not to exact more than the rate of taxes fixed by law (Luke 3:13). To the soldiers (probably Jewish police officers) he recommended not to do violence to any man, nor falsely to denounce anyone, and to be content with their pay (Luke 3:14). In other words, he cautioned them against trusting in their national privileges, he did not countenance the tenets of any sect, nor did he advocate the forsaking of one's ordinary state of life, but faithfulness and honesty in the fulfillment of one's duties, and the humble confession of one's sins.

The Precursor had been preaching and baptizing for some time (just how long is not known), when Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan, to be baptized by him. Why, it might be asked, should He "who did no sin" (1 Peter 2:22) seek John's "baptism of penance for the remission of sins" (Luke 3:3)? The Fathers of the Church answer very appropriately that this was the occasion preordained by the Father when Jesus should be manifested to the world as the Son of God; then again, by submitting to it, Jesus sanctioned the baptism of John. "But John stayed him, saying: I ought to be baptized by thee, and comest thou to me?" (Matthew 3:14). These words, implying, as they do, that John knew Jesus, are in seeming conflict with a later declaration of John recorded in the Fourth Gospel: "I knew him not" (John 1:33). Most interpreters take it that the Precursor had some intimation of Jesus being the Messias: they assign this as the reason why John at first refused to baptize him; but the heavenly manifestation had, a few moments later, changed this intimation into perfect knowledge. "And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so now. For so it becometh us to fulfil all justice. Then he suffered him. And Jesus being baptized, forthwith came out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened to him. . .And, behold, a voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:15-17). - St. John the Baptist (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Salome and the Apparition of the Baptist's Head

Salome and the Apparition of the Baptist's Head

As the Precursor of Christ, St. John paid with his life in preparing the way of the Lord.

The liturgical commemoration of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist is almost as old as that commemorating his birth, which is one of the oldest feasts, if not the oldest, introduced into both the Eastern and Western liturgies to honour a saint.

The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the feast on 29 August, as does the Lutheran Church. Many other churches of the Anglican Communion do so as well, including the Church of England, though some designate it a commemoration rather than a feast day.4

The Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches also celebrate this feast on 29 August. This date in the Julian Calendar, used by the Russian, Macedonian, Serbian and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches, corresponds in the twenty-first century to 11 September in the Gregorian Calendar. The day is always observed with strict fasting, and in some cultures, the pious will not eat food from a flat plate, use a knife, or eat round food on this day.

The Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates the Decollation of St. John on the Saturday of Easter Week, while the Syriac Orthodox, Indian Orthodox, and Syro-Malankara Catholic Churches commemorate his death on 7 January. - Beheading of John the Baptist


OP: Why John the Baptist did not "follow" Jesus and became one of his disciples?

We tend to think in terms of "here on earth", rather than "in eternity". Here is an interesting take on the answer to the OP from Ambrose, Chrysostom, Gregory, and Jerome as shown in Aquinas' work on the Gospel of Matthew. emphasis mine

Greg., Hom in Ev. vi. 1: We must enquire how John [the Baptist], who is a prophet and more than a prophet, who made known the Lord when He came to be baptized, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sine of the world! — why, when he was afterwards cast into prison, he should send his disciples to ask, “Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?”

Did he not know Him whom he had pointed out to others; or was he uncertain whether this was He, whom by foretelling, by baptizing, and by making known, he had proclaimed to be He?

Did John not only not follow Jesus, but also "disown" Christ? Heaven's no. Then why not follow Christ? The answer is John's prophetic office was not limited in time to his earthly ministry.

Greg.: But this question may be answered in a better way if we attend to the order of time. At the waters of Jordan he had affirmed that this was the Redeemer of the world: after he was thrown into prison, he enquires if this was He405 that should come — not that he doubted that this was the Redeemer of the world, but he asks that he may know whether He who in His own person had come into the world, would in His own person descend also to the world below.

Jerome: Hence he frames his question thus, “Art thou he that is to come?” Not, Art Thou He that hast come? And the sense is, Direct me, since I am about to go down into the lower parts of the earth, whether I shall announce Thee to the spirits beneath also; or whether Thou as the Son of God may not taste death, but will send another to this sacrament?

So, John didn't follow Jesus because John's job wasn't yet completed.

PS. Chrysostom disagrees, saying one may only be saved in earth's time (while on earth alive).


The Bible itself gives the answer. For example, see John 1:15-37 where the Baptist answered the question put to him, as to who he was. This shows why he did not follow Jesus in the way that some of his disciples did by followed Jesus while John remained faithful to his God-given commission to prepare the way before Jesus:

"John bare witness of him and cried, sating, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me, for he was before me... he confessed, I am not the Christ... I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaiah [40:3]... I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not. He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose... The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, 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 preferred before me: for he was before me." John 1:15-37 A.V.

John then explains how he knew who Jesus was, and why some of his disciples started to follow Jesus. In chapter 3 he answered those who pointed out that Jesus was gaining followers: he was but a rejoicing friend of the bridegroom (Christ). "He must increase but I must decrease."

John the Baptist's ministry was to prepare the way of the Lord, to point to Christ, to go before the promised Messiah to get ready those of his Jewish people who would then be prepared to respond to Christ in faith and thus be saved from the wrath of God. John's preaching is mentioned twice. The first preaching was in the wilderness. Then there was baptism in Jordan, with confession of sins. Note this comment in this book:

"Forgiveness of sins is not mentioned. Confession of sins is entailed in receiving John's words and being baptised as a result. This baptism was unto remission of sins. It, itself, is not the actual remission of sins. Under John's ministry, sins are exposed; sins are admitted; sins are confessed. No more... The baptism of John was administered only to those who went out of Israel, Israelites, and attended his baptism in Jordan... His preaching exposed conditions and his preaching heralded the One who could answer those conditions." The Beginning of the Gospel, pp39-40, Nigel Johnstone, 2012, http://www.belmontpublications.co.uk

John was the culmination of all the prophets who had gone before him, being the link from the old to the new. He had to preach repentance to prepare people to receive the Messiah, the Messenger of the Covenant. People had to confess their sins and be baptised in recognition that their sins were exposed. He came to turn people from darkness to the Light of the World, Jesus Christ (John 1:7). Those who turned to the Light John pointed to could then receive this Light and have the power to become the sons of God by being born again (John 1:12-13).

"Being born again necessitates a preparation by God Almighty himself, by the words of the preparative messenger which he, himself, authorises and sends. Receiving these words, there will be a cleansing that will separate a soul and remove from that soul that which prohibits the growth of the word within it. This, and this only, is the beginning of the gospel." (Ibid. p 75)

"Repentance is to have the mind itself changed, not merely its contents. Repentance is to have a different mind, with a different way of working. The beginning of the gospel is the changed mind which results from the ministry of a preparative messenger... When God gives a man a new mind, in which he writes his laws; and a new heart, in which he also writes his laws; then, in such a condition, after such a baptism, is a man ready to receive the messenger of the covenant... The ministry of John the Baptist, the preparative messenger, is a ministry that prepares the heart and mind for the coming of Christ to the soul, as conveyed in the gospel. It, itself, does not convey Christ. It prepares for that event. And if the preparation is not received, nor will Christ be received. (Ibid. pp 45-46)

John's preaching was the beginning of the gospel. John's message had to be received and acted upon if anyone was to then discover Jesus Christ to be the Salvation of God. John was a voice of preparation, and he pointed to Christ for salvation.

Jesus submitted to John's baptism to authenticate John's preparatory ministry. Once that was done, all was fulfilled - Malachi 3 had happened, and thus the old covenant era was ended, John being its last herald. But the ministry of John the Baptist is relevant to all. He preached and baptized in the wilderness - representing the wilderness of the whole world. If a man exists, then John preaches to him, whether he will hear or not. This ministry of preparation shall continue to the end of time, wherever the Gospel shall be preached.

The way to find the answer to this question is to grasp how John came before Jesus in time and ministry, yet Jesus was ahead of him once his ministry started; thereafter John was actually following after Christ. He heralded Christ before Jesus' ministry started, then after baptising the Christ, he was heralding Christ from behind, as it were.

  • But why did he not become a disciple of Jesus, like many others?
    – luchonacho
    Commented Jan 31 at 18:23
  • Jesus called all 12 of the men who were to start following him, after a night of prayer. John the Baptist was not one of them. If he had been, we may be sure John would have started following.
    – Anne
    Commented Jan 31 at 19:07

I think the problem with the traditional understanding of John the Baptist is that Christians typically assume that everything that happened surrounding the coming of Christ, from conception to His death and resurrection, happened according to God's predestined plan and will.

The record shows that human beings often went against God's will (as we see in the Old Testament), disobeying His commands and failing their missions. Why would that suddenly change at the time of Christ? This unfortunate pattern started with Adam and Eve in the Garden. Why do we try to make excuses for John the Baptist's failure to follow Jesus, rather than objectively observing and asking God for His perspective?

Until Jesus appeared, no one was greater than John (Matthew 11:11).

When John received the revelation from God about who Jesus (his cousin) really was, he was faced with a choice. He could either humble himself and bring all of his followers to Jesus, or he could stay number one in his own territory. Think how things may have been different if all the thousands of followers of John followed him to Jesus, rather than them being confused by John's keeping his distance from Jesus.

God always desires humility and obedience. Unfortunately, when it came to the most difficult challenge in John's life, he failed. That's why "the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than (John)".

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE! and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others. I would also recommend reading the Help Center's sections on asking and answering questions.
    – agarza
    Commented Jan 28 at 4:55

We can glean some reasons from the text of the scriptures as to why John did not follow Jesus. First, John denied that he was Elijah (John 1:21), but Jesus indicated that John actually was supposed to act as that prophet:

Matthew 17:12

I tell you that Eli′jah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of man will suffer at their hands.”

John had a stricter external discipline that Jesus. John taught his disciples to fast and refrain from wine. Jesus did not.

Matthew 9:14

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”

John was outspoken politically on the issue of Herod Antipas' marriage, which was unlawful according to the Torah. Jesus is not recorded as saying anything about this.

Matthew 14

Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Hero′di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; 4 because John said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”

Despite his spiritual experiences confirming Jesus' identity at the Jordan, John seems to have doubted whether Jesus was actually the messiah:

Matthew 11

2 John... sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see... and blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”

Based on these scriptures, we can identify four reasons why John refrained from joining Jesus as his disciple: 1) He did not agree with Jesus that he was to play the role of Elijah. 2) He taught a more ascetic discipline than Jesus did. 3) He felt it was important to speak out against Herod Antipas while Jesus did not. 4) He doubted that Jesus was "he who is do come," apparently because he took offense an some aspect of Jesus' teaching or person.

We may speculate about other reasons: John, as Jesus' older cousin, was in the archetypal position of the biblical elder brother who has to subordinate himself to the blessed younger brother. This is never easy, and John's pride may have played a role in his "taking offense" at Jesus. In addition, Jesus recruited his first disciples from the ranks of John's followers (Jn 1). John may have felt that Jesus was a "sheep-stealer." Finally, there is a tradition among the Mandaeans (a contemporary Gnostic group that traces it roots back to John the Baptist) that Jesus was supposed to remain with John and support him. This, of course, contradicts the Biblical account, but there may be a kernel of history in it that could help explain why John did not follow Jesus.

The above factors may have all contributed to the fact that John did not follow Jesus.


John may have been confused by the fact that Jesus was his cousin. Joel Marcus, the theologian from Duke Divinity School, writes a whole book on how John perceived his mission being the end-time prophet that ushers in the Kingdom of God on Earth. He sees a competition between them. https://bit.ly/48QrDCN.

John asks Jesus from prison if he was the one or should wait for another. (Luke 7:20).

I think Christians elevate John as a saint when he actually confused his followers and led them away from Jesus. Think about it. Many thought he was the Messiah so when he encounters Jesus, God is trying to alert John with a sign of the dove that his mission was to lead the Jewish people and bind them to Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17).

Everyone has their own portion of responsibility to decide to follow God's will or not. That applies to John as well. They had been promised the Messiah would come to them. They are the chosen people to receive the Messiah because of the lineal foundation. When John messages Jesus that he has doubt then that makes Jesus's mission more difficult.

We are all John the Baptist, just like John came in the power of Elijah. Would you abandon Jesus if you understood who he was? Andrew immediately recognized Jesus as the Messiah and left John to support Jesus's ministry. (John 1: 40-42)

The next thing we know about John is he is condemning Herodias for marrying her brother-in-law, King Herod. That was not the smartest thing to do and he lost his head over it.

Jesus mourned (Matthew 14:13) when he hears John is beheaded because John's foundation of bringing the people was lost. This did not need to happen else Jesus would celebrate and declare it God's will. It was not. We can disagree on John's mission but it is clear we need to stop thinking he was great for not supporting Jesus when "Those born of women there is no one greater than John, Yet is least in the Kingdom of Heaven."

Jesus is telling us John did not fulfill his mission because this would not have happened if he became his number one disciple (Luke 7:28). I could never understand why John says (John 3:30) “He must increase, but I must decrease” when he could have united with the messiah and assisted him. He does not have the humility everyone perceives him to have. If you have humility then you follow God's direction and serve the Messiah.

  • Hello. I edited this to make it easier to read, and to add a scriptural reference for Andrew immediately following Jesus. Commented Jan 23 at 22:28
  • Thank you. We've been studying Twelve Ordinary Men and the more we understand who the John the Baptist was, we can look at own faith and the path we decide to take.
    – lionmane
    Commented Jan 24 at 3:57

Matthew 3:13-17 (KJV):

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Luke 7:28 (KJV):

For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

Matthew 3:11 (ESV):

I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

John the Baptist, known as "The Prophet of the Restoration of All Things," proclaimed a baptism of repentance using water as a symbol. When Jesus, the incarnation of divinity, came to John to be baptized, John hesitated, recognizing Jesus' superiority. Jesus insisted, explaining the need to fulfill all divine righteousness.

The paradox arises when John, the greatest prophet born of women, acknowledges his need to be baptized by Jesus. While John offers a baptism of water for repentance, Jesus brings a deeper transformation, baptizing with the Holy Spirit and fire.

John's attitude reflects humility and an understanding of Jesus' spiritual superiority. Although John wanted to follow Jesus, Jesus' human part submitted to John's baptism to fulfill divine justice. Thus, "The Prophet of the Restoration of All Things" recognized the need to be baptized by the Messiah. This submission illustrates the harmony between Jesus' human side and divine will, marking a significant moment in their spiritual journey.


I believe that if we strip away all the theories of the theologians and clergy have and look at the facts, we can find the truth. For 2,000 years, few have examined why John walked away from Jesus because it then forces us to relook at the entire Gospel from a logical perspective. It puts those of the established teachings on the defense but truth brings sunlight. In the past when anyone challenged the accepted interpretations, they were considered heretics and burned at the stake. Martin Luther protested and was condemned for it (https://www.worldhistory.org/Martin_Luther/). Why not question everything as it is easy to make things up to fit a narrative. Throughout my life, I'm told by ministers, "John was the greatest saint." Does that mean it is the truth? I am a person of common sense not a product of what someone else believes what John's actions mean. I see a man with a great mission with flaws, not a messiah, who strives to follow God's path. God has shown throughout the Bible, great figures failing to follow his will at key moments. Just like Abraham fails to cut the doves and pigeons (Genesis 15:10), he must then offer his son Isaac. I've met many theologians who lack a faith in God so why should I believe everything they tell us? There are too many signs that John could not humble himself to Jesus. Theories abound but that is all they are - Theories. I see a tension after John baptizes Jesus. It does not add up that John decides he must go his own way. I ask myself, if I was given the sign that Jesus was the messiah then I better pay attention and listen. At that moment God is telling me to support his son, not walk away. His will is eternal, absolute and unchanging. It is like gravity that acts like a magnet pulling everyone to the center where God dwells. We need to put ourselves in that moment to understand what is happening. Let's relook at this and consider that God is revealing to John the Christ and his mission now is to stop baptizing people and set the example to serve and assist Jesus. It is interesting there is no record of Jesus baptizing anyone as he is doing it with truth. Prove me wrong but no one knows what John was thinking. Look at a persons's actions and it appears John refuses to support Jesus. The fate of Israel rests on John's decision. The moment of truth. Jesus needs John to unite because he represents a lineage of 28 generations God has laid since Abraham to bring the messiah (Matthew 1-17; Genesis 12:1-3). Many thought John was the messiah so by leaving Jesus, many people continued to follow him. (Matthew 14:14) This is at the beginning of Jesus' ministry so from reading over the discourse between John and the replies from Jesus, it is very clear Jesus was offended John failed to recognize him as the messiah (Luke 7:18-28). One must then deduce that Jesus needed John in the beginning. Jesus even says John is Elijah (Matthew 11:14) but John denies it. At that point, followers were confused about who is telling the truth. Do I follow Jesus or John? My conclusion makes sense but for 2000 years few have wanted to explore this idea that John's possible failure might conflict with the Council of Nicea's declarations of faith that were overseen by a pagan emperor (see First Council of Nicaea). There is a fear to this day that even the notion that John may have failed his mission would weaken the greatness of Jesus. To me, it bolsters my belief in Jesus because we see Christianity failing to uphold Christ and allowing popular culture to invade it (see Pop Culture: How Should A Christian Respond?). Understanding John the Baptist's mission and his human actions is critical to understanding the present-day Christian faith which gives license to disobeying God's commands. When he speaks to us, he means business as he has shown throughout the Bible. We must elevate our understanding and faith that may collide with prevailing doctrine. I believe it is the single most important topic of the New Testament. At the time of the Second Advent, would we be able to recognize Christ? All signs point to the time we live in is the 2nd Advent and will Christians be like John and abandon the Christ for some self-ordained mission?

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    Commented Jan 27 at 5:02
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    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 28 at 13:33
  • Added references to posts.
    – lionmane
    Commented Jan 28 at 13:38

John was not given the wisdom to follow Jesus. Following Jesus would have saved him a lot. The voice from heaven told him what to do but his ears somehow didn't Listen. Some things happen to fulfill prophecy.

(Matthew 3:17) "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

The saint and forerunner heard these words clearly. Later events will prove he really didn't listen as he dared ask Jesus this

(Matthew 11:3) "And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another."

If he received the same wisdom given to those who heard the voice when He spoke the second time (matthew 17:5), it clearly said "Listen to him" So he Jesus was the focus. I asked myself the question, who was saint John listening to when he asked if Jesus was the messaiah.

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    "The voice from heaven told him what to do but his ears somehow didn't Listen." What exactly are you referring to here?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 9 at 8:04
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    – agarza
    Commented Jan 9 at 15:01
  • (Matthew 3:17) "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The saint and forerunner heard these words clearly. Later events will prove he really didn't listen as he dared ask Jesus this (Matthew 11:3) "And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another." If he received the same wisdom given to those who heard the voice when He spoke the second time (matthew 17:5), it clearly said "Listen to him" So he Jesus was the focus. I asked myself the question, who was saint John listening to when he asked if Jesus was the messaiah Commented Jan 9 at 22:57
  • I think it would be helpful if you took that comment and edited into your answer to better support your initial effort at answering the question. Welcome to Christianity SE. 😊 Your answer needs some support, and there you have some scriptural support. Commented Jan 23 at 22:21
  • OK, in order to illustrate what I meant by my comment, I went ahead and copied your comment into your answer. Please take a look and edit/reorganize your answer, and perhaps provide some more support. Comments are generally not part of an answer. Answers need to stand by themselves. Commented Jan 24 at 12:50

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