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John the Baptist

The life and death of John the Baptist.
Contributed by Lars-Goran Ronnberg
Story also available on our translated website: Spanish
You are going to hear a story from the Bible about a man named John. There are many different people in the Bible named John and so this man is often known as John the Baptist. – Slide 1
John had been given the task by God to prepare the people of Israel for the arrival of Jesus, the Son of God. John lived in the desert where he could pray and be in silence before God. He lived simply and wore clothes made of camel skin, and ate wild honey and locusts. – Slide 2
John prayed day and night and really wanted to obey God. – Slide 3
After a while many heard about John in the desert and they went out to him to hear teach how God wanted them to love. – Slide 4
Many felt in their hearts how wrong they had lived and disobeyed God. They asked John what they should do. John said they must turn to God and ask Him for forgiveness. John also said that they should be baptised in the Jordan River to show that they wanted to obey God. – Slide 5
Many followed John down to the Jordan River to be baptised. – Slide 6
One by one they went into the water ... – Slide 7
... and John baptised them. – Slide 8
All who were baptised were so happy to turn away from the wrong ways they had lived and receive God's forgiveness and blessing. – Slide 9
Many wondered if John was the Saviour God had promised to send, but he explained that he was only a servant sent to prepare the way for God’s Son. He explained that the Saviour who was soon to arrive was much more important than him. ‘I am not worthy to serve Him,’ John explained. – Slide 10
The priests and religious leaders became annoyed that many were going to hear John preach rather than listen to them in the great temple in Jerusalem. – Slide 11
They thought that John was not a true servant of God. Instead, they were the ones who knew everything about God and how to live. So they went to hear what John was preaching so they could say he was a fake. – Slide 12
But when they came to John he told them, 'You think you are such good servants of God, but God knows your hearts and you also need to repent.’ This made the priests even more annoyed with John. – Slide 13
One day Jesus came to John to be baptised. John protested and said that it was he who needed to be baptised by Jesus instead. But Jesus insisted that John should baptise Him. Not because Jesus had committed any sin, as Jesus is the only person who has walked the earth who has not committed any sin, but because Jesus wanted to show He obeyed God and was ready to start the mission God had sent Him to do. – Slide 14
When John had baptised Jesus, heaven was opened and everyone heard a voice that said: ‘You are my beloved Son and I am well pleased with you.’ It was God speaking. At the same time the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus like a dove. – Slide 15
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look! There is the person God has sent to take away our sin! He is much greater than I. He is the Son of God.’ – Slide 16
The King of part of Israel was called Herod Antipas. King Herod fell in love with Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. Herodias left Philip to marry Herod. Philip was very sad, but Herod and Herodias were very happy. – Slide 17
When Herod went to where John was preaching, John had a message for him, ‘You have taken your brother’s wife and that is against God’s laws.’ When Herod heard what John was saying he was scared while his new wife, Herodias, became very angry. – Slide 18
When they returned to their castle, Herodias shouted that Herod must send soldiers and arrest John and put him in prison. Herod didn't want to do that because he knew people respected John as a true prophet of God. – Slide 19
However, because Herodias was so upset, he sent soldiers to seize John and put him in prison. John was innocent and his followers were very sad. – Slide 20
When John had been in prison for some time, he began to wonder if had been right to say Jesus was the Son of God. – Slide 21
Some of John’s followers agreed to go and meet Jesus to see what He was doing and ask whether He was the Son of God. – Slide 22
Jesus told them to tell John what they saw. ‘Greet John and tell him that the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear and that the poor hear good news.’ – Slide 23
When they reported back to John in prison, he was happy to learn that Jesus had the power of God to tell the good news and heal the sick. All he had said about Jesus being the Saviour of the world was true. – Slide 24
On Herod’s birthday there was a big party in the castle. Herodias' daughter, Salome, came in and danced for Herod and all the guests. Herod was so delighted that he promised Salome that she could choose anything she wanted as a gift.’ – Slide 25
Salome quickly went to her mother Herodias to asked what she should choose as a gift. Herodias hated John and had long wished for him to be killed. So she told Salome to ask Herod to execute John. (If there are young children listening, it may be inappropriate to talk about the beheading!) – Slide 26
Salome went straight to Herod and said: ‘Uncle Herod! I want you to send a soldier to execute John in the prison!’ – Slide 27
Herod was completely terrified and didn’t want to do this. – Slide 28
But all his guests had heard what he had promised Salome and he would look weak to refuse her request. He did not dare to do anything other than to send a soldier and execute John.  <br/>John died and went to be with God in heaven. – Slide 29
When Jesus heard that John had been killed, He was very sad and said that of all the people born on earth, John was the greatest. – Slide 30
Jesus prayed often to His Father in heaven so that He would have the strength to do what God wanted. God would let His own Son be killed and rise from the dead so that all who believe in Him could receive His forgiveness and eternal life. – Slide 31
Slide 32