John the Forerunner, John, son of Zachary
Date of Birth:
c. 6–2 BC
Date of Death:
c. 36 AD
June 24, August 29
Saint John persuaded throngs of people to atone for their sins and live a pure life.
He baptized a multitude of people to cleanse their souls, including Jesus (although Jesus bore no sins).
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River. Some scholars maintain that he was influenced by the Essenes, who were semi-ascetic, expected an apocalypse, and practiced rituals corresponding strongly with baptism, although there is no direct evidence to substantiate this. John is regarded as a prophet in Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, and Mandaeism.
Most biblical scholars agree that John baptized Jesus at "Bethany beyond the Jordan," by wading into the water with Jesus from the eastern bank.[unreliable source?][not in citation given] John the Baptist is also mentioned by Jewish historian Josephus, in Aramaic Matthew, in Pseudo-Clementine, and in the Qur'an. Accounts of John in the New Testament appear compatible with the account in Josephus. There are no other historical accounts of John the Baptist from around the period of his lifetime.
John anticipated a messianic figure who would be greater than himself, and, in the New Testament, Jesus is the one whose coming John foretold. Christians commonly refer to John as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, since John announces Jesus's coming. John is also identified with the prophet Elijah. Some of Jesus's early followers had previously been followers of John.