“Thou Shalt Call His Name John”
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
President Thomas S. Monson said:
“Many years ago I marveled at the cover of one of our Church publications which featured a magnificent reproduction of a Carl Bloch painting. The scene which the artist captured in his mind and then—with a touch of the Master’s hand—transferred to canvas depicted Elisabeth, wife of Zacharias, welcoming Mary, the mother of Jesus. Both were to bear sons—miracle births.
“The son born of Elisabeth became known as John the Baptist. As with Jesus, son of Mary, so with John—precious little is recorded of their years of youth. A single sentence tells us all that we know of John’s life from his birth to his public ministry: ‘And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel’ [Luke 1:80].
“John’s message was brief. He preached faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, and the bestowal of the Holy Ghost by an authority greater than that possessed by himself. ‘I am not the Christ,’ he told his faithful disciples, ‘but . . . I am sent before him’ [John 3:28]. ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh . . . : he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire’ [Luke 3:16].
“Then occurred the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist. Later Jesus testified, ‘Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist’ [Matt. 11:11].
“All of us living in the world today need points of reference—even models to follow. John the Baptist provides for us a flawless example of unfeigned humility, as he deferred always to the One who was to follow—the Savior of mankind.”
(“Models to Follow,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 60.)