If we read our Bible in order, Matthew 3 is the first place that we meet John the Baptist, and here we see him preaching a warning at the Pharisees and Sadducees. In Luke1:5-25, however we learn about the unique circumstances of John the Baptist’s conception.
A priest named Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth (who was also of the priestly line because she was an descendant of Aaron’s line) were old and had no children. One day while Zacharias was fulfilling his duties as a priest by burning incense when he went into the temple, an angel of the Lord (Gabriel) appeared to him.
The angel told Zacharias that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son and name him John. John would not drink alcohol and would be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he was born. Because of John, many of the children of Israel would turn to the Lord their God. Because Zacharias did not believe what Gabriel had told him, he could not speak. Elizabeth conceived.
Mary (with child with the son of God) went to visit Elizabeth when Mary was newly pregnant and Elizabeth was five months pregnant and when Mary announced her arrival, both Elizabeth and the unborn John were both filled with the Holy Spirit. Mary, then, prophesied concerning John (Luke 1:39-56) . John is born and the family wants to name him after his father, but Elizabeth said that his name was John.
When the family asked Zacharias, (because he had the final say), because he was still mute wrote on a tablet that his name was John. Immediately, Zacharias could again speak and the first words out of his mouth was to prophecy. (Luke1:57-79. John grew up strong physically and spiritually and lived in the desert until he began his ministry.
John’s ministry was as a priest and a prophet. He was the one to make way for the coming of the Lord. John’s ministry was all about repentance. His represented the best of what man could offer before the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The best that man could bring himself to under the law was to learn that he full of sin and that sin was detestable. John’s ministry pointed at the only one who could save us. That’s where Jesus steps in. He takes us beyond ourselves and into something truly amazing, but first we have to be willing to accept John’s baptism of repentance. We must recognize that we are not able to save ourselves. There is something far more complete–the immersion into the name (authority) of Jesus Christ.