Herod imprisoned John the Baptist. His wife had a grudge against John and had him beheaded when an opportunity arose. I have covered this previously at this link (freegiftfromgod.com/2011/01/beheading-of-john-the-baptist/) so will look at a different aspect of John the Baptist’s life this time.
The life and times of John the Baptist was a time of transition. Jesus alluded to this when he said, “The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently.” (Luke 16:16) In the short period that the ministry of John commenced and up until the death of Jesus, the world was going through a transition.
John’s role as was prophesied of him was to prepare the way for the Lord. He commenced his ministry preaching a baptism in water for repentance and the forgiveness of sin. He prepared the people for the coming of the Lord who then took that ministry as a beginning and transitioned people into the New Covenant.
It was necessary that John came for he also bore witness to Jesus, and under the Old Covenant law, a matter was established on the basis of two or more witnesses. It was at this time that Jesus in the scripture quoted above drew a definite line in the sand. He said that the era of the Old Covenant, which is the law and the prophets, ended at John. From John the Baptist onwards then began the preaching of the good news of the kingdom of God.
We see that although John had a powerful ministry, unlike many other religious leaders over the centuries, at his death his ministry ceased. It was not carried on by his followers for John himself taught them that he was only there for a time to prepare the way. He taught them not to follow himself, but to follow the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus Christ. Thus all the followers of John transitioned across to Christ once he appeared and John bore witness to him. We see this evidenced when Paul found a group of John’s disciples at Ephesus. (Acts 19:1-7) On hearing of Jesus they took the teachings of the New Covenant to heart and became Christians.
John the Baptist was truly a change agent and there has never been anyone else like him in history. As Jesus said of John the Baptist, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:11)