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A man named John, also known as the Baptist and Holy Glorious Prophet and Forerunner, was sent from God (Jn 1:6). He appeared and preached in the desert of Judea. "John wore clothing made of camel's hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey." (Mt 3:4). He is the one who prepared and baptized the people pointing the way to Jesus as the Messiah. "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire." (Lk 3:16). He is called the "Forerunner" and "Prophet" because he came immediately before Jesus and announced Him as the Savior and baptized Him in the Jordan River (Mt 3:13).
His father Zechariah was a priest and his mother Elizabeth was from the daughters of Aaron. They had no children because they were both advanced in age and Elizabeth was barren. The angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, during his priestly service, and announced to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of (the) Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord." (Lk 1:13-17).
When Zechariah came out of the sanctuary he was mute and did not speak until everything the angel told him took place. This happened because he doubted the words of the angel. Elizabeth conceived and praised God for recognized what God has done for her. In Elizabeth's sixth month the angel was sent to the Virgin Mary to announce to her that she will conceive Jesus and that her cousin Elizabeth has also conceived.
Mary traveled and went to visit Elizabeth. "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, 'Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.'" (Lk 1:41-45). Mary proclaimed the greatness of the Lord, stayed with Elizabeth till the birth of John and then returned home. The power of speech was returned to Zechariah after everything the angel announced to him were accomplished.


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