John the Baptist - why he was important in the gospel of Mark

Essay by LittleBrittleHigh School, 10th gradeA+, August 2004

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When news first spread about John the Baptist, all anyone knew was that he lived by himself in the desert, wore camel skins, ate grasshoppers and told people they needed to let God change their lives. But contrary to what you may believe, he wasn't crazy.

Before John was born, the angel Gabriel appeared to his father, Zacharius. Zacharius was told that he and his wife Elizabeth, despite their old age, would bear a son. This boy would be a very important prophet. But Zacharius didn't believe Gabriel, so Gabriel told him that until the baby was born, he would be unable to speak.

So Zacharius couldn't talk again until his son was born. And when Elizabeth finally gave birth to John, Zacharius' tongue was freed, and he said to his son, "And you child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; to give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins."

It took almost thirty years for God to prepare John to announce the arrival of Jesus Christ - for whom Israel had been waiting for centuries. Times weren't good for the Jews, and they were desperate for some good news, so when John began to preach, huge crowds would gather to listen.

John shouted, "As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Hundreds of people listened to his words, and let him baptize them in the Jordan River.

But John actually didn't find out who the Messiah was until he baptized Jesus and saw for himself. He...