Hymns 398, 226,396
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
Luke 1:13 Fear, 15-20, 57, 59-66
Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. … For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. … Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. … And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judæa. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.
John 1:19-21, 23
¶ And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. … He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
¶ After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judæa; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
¶ And John also was baptizing in Ænon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison.
¶ Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.
Mark 1:4, 6-11
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. … And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Mark 6:1, 6, 14-19, 22, 24, 26, 27
And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. … And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: … And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. … And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. … And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
Matt 11:7-11 (to : )
¶ And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:
John the Baptist prophesied the coming of the immaculate Jesus, and John saw in those days the spiritual idea as the Messiah, who would baptize with the Holy Ghost, — divine Science.
The word martyr, from the Greek, means witness; but those who testified for Truth were so often persecuted unto death, that at length the word martyr was narrowed in its significance and so has come always to mean one who suffers for his convictions. The new faith in the Christ, Truth, so roused the hatred of the opponents of Christianity, that the followers of Christ were burned, crucified, and otherwise persecuted; and so it came about that human rights were hallowed by the gallows and the cross.
When our great Teacher came to him for baptism, John was astounded. Reading his thoughts, Jesus added: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” Jesus’ concessions (in certain cases) to material methods were for the advancement of spiritual good.
Baptism. Purification by Spirit; submergence in Spirit.
S&H 35:19 (only)
Our baptism is a purification from all error.
Our Master taught no mere theory, doctrine, or belief. It was the divine Principle of all real being which he taught and practised. His proof of Christianity was no form or system of religion and worship, but Christian Science, working out the harmony of Life and Love. Jesus sent a message to John the Baptist, which was intended to prove beyond a question that the Christ had come: “Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” In other words: Tell John what the demonstration of divine power is, and he will at once perceive that God is the power in the Messianic work.
Prophet. A spiritual seer; disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth.
The mission of Jesus confirmed prophecy, and explained the so-called miracles of olden time as natural demonstrations of the divine power, demonstrations which were not understood. Jesus’ works established his claim to the Messiahship. In reply to John’s inquiry, “Art thou he that should come,” Jesus returned an affirmative reply, recounting his works instead of referring to his doctrine, confident that this exhibition of the divine power to heal would fully answer the question. Hence his reply: “Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” In other words, he gave his benediction to any one who should not deny that such effects, coming from divine Mind, prove the unity of God, — the divine Principle which brings out all harmony.
The question then as now was, How did Jesus heal the sick? His answer to this question the world rejected. He appealed to his students: “Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” That is: Who or what is it that is thus identified with casting out evils and healing the sick? They replied, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” These prophets were considered dead, and this reply may indicate that some of the people believed that Jesus was a medium, controlled by the spirit of John or of Elias.
This ghostly fancy was repeated by Herod himself. That a wicked king and debauched husband should have no high appreciation of divine Science and the great work of the Master, was not surprising; for how could such a sinner comprehend what the disciples did not fully understand? But even Herod doubted if Jesus was controlled by the sainted preacher. Hence Herod’s assertion: “John have I beheaded: but who is this?” No wonder Herod desired to see the new Teacher.
It is “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,” than for sinful beliefs to enter the kingdom of heaven, eternal harmony. Through repentance, spiritual baptism, and regeneration, mortals put off their material beliefs and false individuality. It is only a question of time when “they shall all know Me [God], from the least of them unto the greatest.” Denial of the claims of matter is a great step towards the joys of Spirit, towards human freedom and the final triumph over the body.
To suppose that persecution for righteousness’ sake belongs to the past, and that Christianity to-day is at peace with the world because it is honored by sects and societies, is to mistake the very nature of religion. Error repeats itself. The trials encountered by prophet, disciple, and apostle, “of whom the world was not worthy,” await, in some form, every pioneer of truth.
One’s aim, a point beyond faith, should be to find the footsteps of Truth, the way to health and holiness. We should strive to reach the Horeb height where God is revealed; and the corner-stone of all spiritual building is purity. The baptism of Spirit, washing the body of all the impurities of flesh, signifies that the pure in heart see God and are approaching spiritual Life and its demonstration.
The prophet of to-day beholds in the mental horizon the signs of these times, the reappearance of the Christianity which heals the sick and destroys error, and no other sign shall be given.
Let us learn of the real and eternal, and prepare for the reign of Spirit, the kingdom of heaven, — the reign and rule of universal harmony, which cannot be lost nor remain forever unseen.
GET 12.18.13 John The Baptist HERE