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Article: June 24 + Saint John the Baptist

June 24 + Saint John the Baptist - VENXARA®

June 24 + Saint John the Baptist

At the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to inform her that she would conceive of the Holy Ghost, he also informed her that Elizabeth, her cousin, was already six months pregnant. Mary then journeyed to visit Elizabeth. Luke's Gospel recounts that the baby "leapt" in Elizabeth's womb at the greeting of Mary.

The sole biblical account of the birth of John the Baptist comes from the Gospel of Luke. John's parents, Zechariah (Zachary) — a Jewish priest — and Elizabeth, were without children and both were beyond the age of child-bearing. During Zechariah's rotation to serve in the Temple in Jerusalem, he was chosen by lot to offer incense at the Golden Altar in the Holy Place. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that he and his wife would give birth to a child, and that they should name him John, a name which was unfamiliar in Zechariah and Elizabeth's families.

However, because Zechariah did not believe the message of Gabriel, he was rendered speechless until the time of John's birth. At that time, his relatives wanted to name the child after his father, and Zechariah wrote, "His name is John" whereupon he recovered his ability to speak. Following Zechariah's obedience to the command of God, he was given the gift of prophecy, and foretold the future ministry of Jesus.

Jesus called John the greatest of all those who had preceded him: “I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John ...” The greatness of John, his pivotal place in the history of salvation, is seen in the great emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself — both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus.

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