Why John the Baptist? A Savior Needs the Prophets

Reading the Canticle of Zechariah this morning, I found myself wondering once more about John the Baptist. How would the story of Jesus be different without the presence of John the Baptist?

From a historical angle, we could simply note that there just WAS a pre-existing movement out of which Jesus emerged as a leader. And since there were and still are disciples of John the Baptist (Sabaeans), the gospel writers took pains to depict Jesus and John as cooperative rather than competitive — and to clarify that John himself believed he was preparing for and pointing to the Messiah to come after him. Continue Reading