John, precursor, prophet, and baptist
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was
John was “filled with the Holy Spirit even from his
by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had
just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth
thus became a visit from God to his people.
John is “Elijah [who] must come.”
The fire of the Spirit
dwells in him and makes him the forerunner of the coming Lord.
In John, the precursor, the Holy Spirit completes the work of
“[making] ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
John the Baptist is “more than a prophet.”
In him, the
Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John
completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah.
the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the “voice” of the
Consoler who is coming.
As the Spirit of truth will also do, John
“came to bear witness to the light.”
In John’s sight, the Spirit thus
brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills
the longing of the angels.
“He on whom you see the Spirit
descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.
And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of
God. . . . Behold, the Lamb of God.”
Finally, with John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the
restoration to man of “the divine likeness,” prefiguring what he
would achieve with and in Christ. John’s baptism was for repen-
tance; baptism in water and the Spirit will be a new birth.