John the Baptist
REPENT! You brood of vipers!!
Jesus called him, the greatest, in the spectrum of all who have been born on earth... And, Outside of Jesus - John is my favorite Biblical legend. Just as Christ's birth was foretold (both by prophets & the angel Gabriel), so it was with John's. In Isaiah 53:2
The Gospel of Luke adds an account of John's infancy, introducing him as the miraculous son of Zechariah, an old man, and his wife Elizabeth, who was past the menopause stage and therefore, unable to have children.. But desperately wanted them..
Enter - John the Baptist..
He was born in the late 1st century, BC, in this spot, (here is a wide pic of 'the spot' )... In Ein Karem, Jerusalem, Israel. From the time he could walk, John was an adventurist. Spending lots of time, in the wilderness. As he came into his own, he relocated into the wilderness.. eventually starting his own ministry.. Bringing fruition of the Isaiah prophecy. His attire consisted of a garment made of camel's hair (which he wore around his loins), and he had a leather belt around his waist.. I imagine it would've looked a little like this.. His diet consisted of locust (mmhmm eeyeah - grasshoppers) .. & wild honey. Not exactly a popular meal combo (not to mention, very filling) - but nevertheless - 'his' choice of meal.
As the was 'the one' spoken of in Isaiah that came to make the path of the Lord clear... He would go out here.. Speaking to Israel & all who were in earshot to repent! This was also the spot where he would baptize Jesus. It was just behind this church along the Jordan. (Not to confuzzle you but.. The church is Catholic - NOT Baptist!! Who woulda thunk it?!?)
Place where John the Baptist - Baptized broods & vipers. This is also the place where Jesus was baptized & God descended from the clouds & said 'This is My beloved Son - In whom I am well pleased!'
In the time of John, Herod ruled.. though he liked to hear John preach & liked him as a person... Herod, who was tetrarch, or sub-king, of Galilee under the Roman Empire, had imprisoned John the Baptist here, because he reproved Herod for divorcing his wife (Phasaelis, daughter of King Aretas of Nabataea) and unlawfully taking Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Philip I.)
On Herod's birthday, Herodias' daughter (whom Josephus identifies as Salome) danced before the king and his guests. Her dancing pleased Herod so much that in his drunkenness he promised to give her anything she desired, up to half of his kingdom. When Salome asked her mother what she should request, she was told to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. According to some Biblical scholars... Herod went several times, himself, to the cell John was being held within his palace.. & implored him to give him a reason he should let him free - but John refused every time - saying his mission was complete. (AGAIN - this is the conclusion of some Biblical scholars, and has been added to several films.. Howev - I have been unable to solidly confirm this.) Although Herod was appalled by the request, he reluctantly agreed and had John executed in the prison.
John is entombed here.. though unclear where his head was buried - most believe here, where he spent the last days of his life imprisoned. No doubt - as his mission was finished- John preferred death... and it's safe to assume his treasure in heaven was great!