John the Baptist
John the Baptist (c. 6 BC – c. AD 36) was an itinerant
Itinerant minister
Itinerant minister is a Christian evangelist who preaches the basic Christian redemption message while traveling around to different groups of people within a relatively short period of time...

Preacher is a term for someone who preaches sermons or gives homilies. A preacher is distinct from a theologian by focusing on the communication rather than the development of doctrine. Others see preaching and theology as being intertwined...

 and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 as a relative of Jesus
The term Desposyni refers to alleged blood relatives of Jesus. The term was coined by Sextus Julius Africanus, a writer of the early 3rd century. Some scholars argue that Jesus' relatives held positions of special honor in the Early Christian Church...

, who led a movement of baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 at the Jordan River. Some scholars maintain that he was influenced by the Essenes
The Essenes were a Jewish sect that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE which some scholars claim seceded from the Zadokite priests...

, who were semi-ascetic, expected an apocalypse
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

, and practiced rituals corresponding strongly with baptism, although there is no direct evidence to substantiate this.