Beheading of John the Baptist
Why was John so special? He was the last of the Old Testament prophets and the first of the New. He was the first to proclaim the news that Jesus was the Messiah, the Lamb of God. He was 100% from the lineage of Aaron the High Priest.
Where was he born and what do we know about him? He was born in Ein Kerem west of Jerusalem. Prior to birth he was sanctified in the womb by the Holy Spirit when the Blessed Virgin Mary arrived for the Visitation. He later left for the wilderness where he probably associated with the Essenes at Qumran. Jesus probably met him in the Wilderness. He ate locusts and wild honey so he was a manly man!
Why was John beheaded–getting mixed up in morality and politics John did not get beheaded for preaching Christ, per se, but for criticizing the King. It is similar to us today criticizing and immoral government that requests we deny our consciences to follow their laws. John lost his head for criticizing the powers that be in government.
What sources do we have outside the Bible? The Jewish historian Josephus tells us about John, especially his death which took place in Herod’s Fortress of Machareus on the east side of the Dead Sea in modern country of Jordan
Where is the head of John the Baptist today? There is a lot of controversy on this matter and many have claimed to have his skull. I would not be willing at this point to vouch for any of them.
To read more about John the Baptist, click here for a great resources at New Advent.
Below: The remains of Herod’s Fortress of Machaerus where John was beheaded.