The Prophet In Aenon
The purpose of the life and ministry (see the Fact Finder question below) of the prophet John (commonly known as "John the Baptist") was to announce the arrival of the The Messiah:
"3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance [see The Origin of Baptism]: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with The Holy Ghost, and with fire:
3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire [see Baptism Of Fire]" (Matthew 3:11-12 KJV)
"And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there"
John had a very popular ministry at a time when Jesus was almost unknown. But John made clear that "I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him."
"3:22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples [see Disciples of Christ] into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
3:23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. 3:24 For John was not yet cast into prison. 3:25 Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples 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: 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 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 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 3:22-36 KJV)
Fact Finder: (a) Was the prophet John born of a miracle? Was the entire purpose of his life to be the prophet that would announce the coming of the Christ? Was that mission announced to John's father before John was even conceived? (b) What happened to John after Jesus began His ministry, as John prophesied would come?
(a) Luke 1:11-17, Luke 1:76-80 and see The Other Miraculous Birth
(b) See John's Last Days