St. John the Baptist is proclaimed by Jesus as the greatest of the Old Testament Prophets sent to prepare Israel for the time when the Messiah would make His appearance. As we see in the above quote, the Prophet Isaiah, centuries before, foretold the coming and mission of John.
St. John is also recognized as the first witness to the New Testament. He preached a baptism of repentance by water and told of the imminent coming of the Christ. He was a prophet, sent by God, to herald the coming of the true light and would touch the hearts of men and women who for so long had been living in a world covered by a spiritual darkness. There is little written of him—but enough that we know how he was conceived and to what purpose, how he lived, what he preached and how people were drawn to him, and how he died for the faith.Lessons from St. John the Baptist — Integrated Catholic Life™