Sunday, June 24th: The Nativity of St. John the Baptizer

On Sunday, June 24th, we will celebrate the Nativity (birth) of St. John the Baptizer.

St. John the Baptizer, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, was born into a priestly family.  An angel of the Lord announced his forthcoming birth to his father (Luke 1:5-23), and shortly after his birth, his aged father sang a hymn of praise (1:67-79).  We call this hymn the Benedictus, which serves as the traditional Gospel Canticle in the Church’s Service of Morning Prayer.

Accounts in all four of the Gospels tell us of the events of John’s life and his teachings.  In the wilderness of Judea, near the Jordan River, John began to preach a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4).  He told the crowds “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  John denounced the immoral life of the Herodian rulers, resulting in Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee, arresting and imprisoned him in the huge fortress of Machaerus near the Dead Sea.  There, Herod had him beheaded (Mark 6:17-29).


We remember and honor John as the one who with his preaching pointed to “the Lamb of God,” and with his dying “prepared the way” for the coming of the Messiah.