John the Baptist
John, called the Baptist (in Hebrew: יוחנן המטביל?; In Greek: Ιωάννης ο Πρόδρομος, "John the Forerunner"; in ancient Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτίζων; in Latin: Ioannes Baptista; Ain Karem - late 1st century 29 and 32 AD), was an ascetic from a historical Jewish priestly family.
Among the most important personalities of the Gospels, venerated by all Christian Churches and considered holy by all those who admit the cult of saints, his life and preaching are constantly intertwined with the work of Jesus Christ; together with the latter, John the Baptist is mentioned five times in the Koran with the name of Yahyā b. Zakariyyā, as one of the greatest prophets who preceded Muhammad; in the religion of the Mandaeans, with the name of Jahia Iuhana, he is considered the greatest of all the prophets.
Numerous popular beliefs have grown around the figure of him. John the Baptist also has a prominent place in the calendar of Freemasonry.
The main source on the life and figure of the Baptist are the Gospels. They claim that he was conceived by Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah, when the couple were in old age. Similarly, an angel foretold Isaac's birth to Abraham when the patriarch was old.
The announcement is first given to Zechariah (Luke 1: 1-7) and then to Mary.
The announcement to Zechariah Significantly, Zechariah receives the announcement while he is in the Temple of Jerusalem before the altar of the Lord, after having finished his priestly service. To the Levite high priest of the class of Abia (Luke 1: 5) the angel foretells the birth of a righteous man, immune from the habit of drinking, who would carry out the dual mission of gathering the Israelites around their Lord and bringing the children back together. to their fathers, overcoming the hardness of the hearts of the fathers and bringing the children back to the Davidic wisdom of the righteous patriarchs. The children are defined as "rebels", an epithet also reserved for Satan, and are opposed to John, who recognized the divinity of Jesus from the womb.
The angel equates John to the prophet Elijah, who had the privilege of manifesting himself together with Moses and Jesus in Mount Tabor. The words reserved by St. Gabriel for John are no less celebratory than those of Jesus, since no other man named in the entire Bible was ever compared to Moses or Elijah.
Like Elijah, John is filled with the Holy Spirit and his charisms, as well as the strength necessary to unite families within them and then the Twelve of Tribes around the king of Israel. The link with the Levitical priesthood is therefore twofold: the high priest Zechariah, in the full performance of his functions in the Temple, is prophesied of the birth of a new high priest who with Saint Elijah would share the aim of converting Israel and the necessary gifts of the Holy Spirit. and strength.
Unlike the apostles and like Jesus, his divine mission on earth does not follow a call in adulthood, but is known to the family from birth and is implicit in his name.
John is not present at the descent of the Holy Spirit on the solemnity of Pentecost because he is (dead ref. Matthew 14: 1-2) filled with the Holy Spirit "from his mother's womb" (Luke 1.15), similar to the Virgin who it was filled at the moment of his assent, at the Annunciation. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the infant John is manifested in the leap in the womb which indicates the recognition of Jesus as God.
The Annunciation to Mary The archangel Gabriel reveals to the latter that her relative Elizabeth, whom everyone said sterile, was in the sixth month of gestation; when she went to visit Elizabeth, her unborn child leapt for joy in her mother's womb. For having known Jesus directly and for having announced his arrival even before he was born, John is remembered as "the Forerunner" or "the greatest of