Preparing The Way
"4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into Prison, he departed into Galilee;
4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven [see The Gospel of The Kingdom of God] is at hand." (Matthew 4:12-17 KJV)
"I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him"
The purpose of the life of John the Baptist was to prepare the way for the ministry of The Christ. John would not even have been born otherwise (see the Fact Finder question below; also When Does "Life" Begin?). In John's own words, stated before his ministry ended:
"3:23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized [see The Origin of Baptism]. 3:24 For John was not yet cast into prison.
3:25 Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples [see also Disciples and Apostles] and the Jews about purifying. 3:26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan [see The Jordan River], to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.
3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
3:28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom [listen to the Sermon The Divorce and Remarriage of Jesus Christ from our Sermons page]: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
3:31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven [see Heavens Below, Heavens Above] is above all. 3:32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. 3:33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. 3:35 The Father [see The Holy Father] loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:23-36 KJV; the book of John was written by the apostle John, not John the Baptist)
When John's ministry ended, Jesus Christ plainly identified John the Baptist as "the Elijah to come" for Christ's first coming (see The Elijah To Come).
"11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison [see John's Last Days] the Works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
11:3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
11:4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 11:6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
11:7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 11:8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
11:9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
11:10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 11:14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matthew 11:2-15 KJV)
Fact Finder: Was John the Baptist born of a miracle? Why?
See The Other Miraculous Birth