1- And John, the son of Zacharias, too, was given wisdom and good judgment even as a youth:

    2- He grew up in the wilderness to be tender to all creatures; and he was pure and devout;

    3- Kind to his parents; and he was not overbearing or rebellious. (Note 1)

    4- He renounced the pleasures of this world and preferred garments of camel's hair over soft raiment;

      and he did eat locusts and wild honey. (Note 2)

    5- And in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,

     and Herod Antipas was the Tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip the Tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region

     of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the Tetrarch of Abilene; and when Caiaphas and his father-in-law were the

    high priests,

    6- A word from God came to John in the wilderness, and he began to preach in the country about the river


    7- Saying, Repent and reform for the day of the Lord is drawing near.

    8- And he administered the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

    9- Then went out to him whole Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region round about Jordan,

    10-To be baptized of him in Jordan and to confess their sins.

    11-And baptizing them, he said, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to


    12-Bring forth, therefore, fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say that we have Abraham to our

    father: for I say to you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

    13-And now also the axe is laid unto the roots of the trees: every tree, therefore, which brings not forth

    good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.

    14-And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

    15-He answered and said to them, He that has two coats, let him impart one to him that has none; and he

    that has meat, let him do likewise.

    16-And there also came tax collectors to be baptized and said to him, Master, what shall we do?

    17-And he said to them, Exact no more than that which is appointed to you.

    18-And soldiers likewise asked him, saying, And what shall we do?

    19-And he said to them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your

    wages. (Note 3)

    20-And as the people were in expectation, all men mused in their hearts of John whether he was the

    Messiah of Aaron, or the Messiah of Israel, or that Prophet. (Note 4)

    21-John answered, saying to them all, I indeed am anointed to be the priest of the house of Aaron, who

   was to come in the last days,

    22-And from among my disciples whom I have baptized there shall arise the Messiah of Israel.

    23-And as for that prophet, of whom God has been promising through the mouths of all his messengers,

    he will come after us to be a light for the nations.

Go to Chapter 6

Notes (Chapter 5)

1Qur`an 19:12-14. [return]

2Mark 1:6, Matt. 3:4. [return]

3Matt. 3:1-10; Luke 3:7-14. [return]

4Cf. Luke 3:15; John 1:20-23. Our messianic titles are derived from the Qumran scrolls, where, in the Community Rule IX, men of the Qumran community are commanded to stick to the primitive precepts in which they "were first instructed until there shall come the prophet and the messiahs of Aaron and Israel." The Gospel of John refers to the three messianic figures as "that prophet," "Elias," and "the Christ" (= "the Messiah"). We have already noted (see Note 8, Chapter 1) that the priestly Messiah of Aaron and Elias were sometimes identified and that in thinking of John's messianic role it is better to think in terms of the former figure than of Elias.