Letter to the Editor

A bad risk

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dear Editor,

Could John the Baptist be insured by a modern-day life insurance policy?

Probably not. If one could be issued to him, it would be very expensive because of his hazardous life.

His birth was a miracle. Zacharias, his father, was a priest at the Temple in Jerusalem. He and his wife, Elizabeth, were childless for many years.

Then, in Luke 1:13-15, the angel Gabriel appeared to him in the temple. He told Zacharias that Elizabeth would conceive a son and that his son would be called John.

When mary, the mother of Jesus visited her cousin, Elizabeth in the hill country of Judea, both women shared the exciting news of their pregnancies. Each of them knew their babies had special missions in life. (See Luke 1:5-60).

John the Baptist was born six months before Jesus. Three months later, Jesus was born at Bethlehem in a stable. (Read Matthew 2:1-8)

Unfortunately, Herod the Great, a ruler put in office by the Romans, did not react well to Christ's birth. In Matthew 2:16, he ordered children under age 2 killed. Joseph was warned by an angel in a dream to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt. They left in the middle of the night. (Matthew 2:13-14).

Meanwhile, in Luke 11:51=54, it describes the murder of Zacharias in the temple by some Scribes and Pharisees. (They were a major obstacle to spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ among the Jews).

Elizabeth fled with John to the area near Hebron. Herod the Great had people killed if they thwarted his plans. Killing of young children was not limited to Bethlehem. The semi-desert region south of Jerusalem was 20 miles away from certain death for young John and his mother. If Herod's men didn't kill John, the Pharisees might kill Elizabeth.

He grew up eating locusts and honey. Camel skins kept him warm. Locusts are said to taste like shrimp when cooked. Arabs in desert regions have eaten locusts for years, when food is scarce (Read Leviticus 11:21-22 and Matthew 3:4).

After Herod the Great's death, John was busy baptizing people who became apostles of Jesus Christ. Matthew 3:11 quotes John as saying that he baptized with water, but that Jesus baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire.

John's end was tragic and bloody. The children and descendents of Herod the Great made sure he was decapitated and imprisoned. He head was delivered on a platter to Herodias, sister of Herod Agrippa. She had eloped with her step uncle, Herod Antipas. John said this union was against Jewish law.

Previously, she was married to her uncle, Herod Philip. She convinced her daughter, Salome, to dance and ask for John's head.

Note: Herod the Great had multiple wives and children.

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Nebraska

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