The annunciation of John.

Most Christians vastly underestimate the importance of the prophet John, otherwise known as John the Baptist. Largely it’s because we see him the same way “New Testament Christians” see the Old Testament: He showed up, acted weird, made a lot of noise, preached obedience and repentance… but once Jesus showed up he became entirely irrelevant. He baptized Jesus. Then he went away, and died.

Some Christians believe John was a slightly bigger deal. But only because they wrongly think he was the first prophet to show up in Israel in four centuries. Supposedly, after Malachi wrapped up the Old Testament, God went dark: He said nothing and did nothing, in all that time. This is partly understandable, since these folks haven’t read the Apocrypha (the extra books in non-Protestant bibles) and are clueless about all the between-the-testaments events described in them. But somehow they also skipped two whole prophets in Luke, Simeon and Anna. Not to mention the obvious prophetic abilities of Jesus’s dad Joseph, or Jesus’s mom Mary, or John’s dad Zechariah, or John’s mom Elizabeth. Everybody with a speaking role in the nativity story (save Herod, of course) is a prophet! But, as usual, cessationist dogma trumps reading comprehension.

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