The life of the glorious and angelic Forerunner as recorded in the Gospels is truly an inspiration and example to all Christians. From his very birth (Luke 1) he became famous throughout Israel by virtue of the divine signs which attended him, so much so that many later thought that he was the Messiah. Denying this, with his customary forthright humility, he proclaimed Jesus as Christ, saying that he was “Not fit to untie the thong of His sandals” (Luke 3:16; Mark 1:7, and John 6:36).
St. John was killed because he reprimanded Herod and Herodias for their unlawful union, and because Herod was pleased at the dancing of Herodias’ daughter Salome. St. John points to Christ in this 14th century Byzantine Serbian icon. He was a fiery and blazing torch of faith and repentance, calling many in Israel to the baptism of repentance before Christ would give the baptism of spirit later. He is an icon of faith, of faithfulness, of repentance, and of love, and by Christ’s own words, “The greatest among those born of woman.” He stands now at Christ’s left hand in His Kingdom that can know no end. Holy St. John pray for us!