Did Jesus Need a Precursor?



I understand that John the Baptist is the precursor of Jesus. John points to Jesus and leads the way for his coming.

But, why did Jesus NEED a precursor? Was John’s function to foretell prophecy so that it might be recognized? Or was a precursor necessary to reflect back on the relationship between Elijah and Elisha? Jesus is the Messiah… so did he NEED someone to “pave the way” for his coming, and if so, why?

Can someone help point me in the right direction on this question? It seems like there is something obvious that I’m missing.

Many thanks and peace!


Jesus didn’t need John to announce him… we did. :wink:

We need Scriptural prophecy to help us recognize the hand of God in action.
We need John’s call to repentance.
We need a witness to Jesus in the world.


Thanks, Gorgias. That’s perfect. :slight_smile:


Jesus DID NOT NEED a precursor. But, MAN needed a precursor for Christ, whether from being slow to understand, hard of heart, weak of faith, etc., so John was sent to open our hearts through repentance and conversion.

St. John Chrystosom makes a great point:

“…once the earth has received the seeds, it is immediately fruitful and does not need a second sowing. But in the case of our soul this is not so… the words sink with difficulty into the mind because… numberless thorns, and …many scheming foes to steal away the seed.”

So John was the first sowing, and because it did not immediately bear fruit in the souls of many, Christ’s death and resurrection was the second sowing that with the help of the Holy Spirit has become fruitful.

Hope this helps.

Peace and all good!


also the precursors were not just John, but also Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Joshua, David, etc.

Man needed the profits to foretell Christ’s coming so we would recognize him.

God Bless.



We did!


man needed the prophets,jesus needed the enablers to take one for the team. that gives us perspective


I love that St John the Baptist played such an important role in salvation history. The Father showed us how important cousins are by prompting St Mary to visit her cousin St Elizabeth and St John being pre-sanctified at the sound of St Mary’s voice.

St John the Baptist was described by his dad a Jewish priest at his birth as one that was:
Luke 1: 77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
To the best of my knowledge the sins of the people would for the first time be forgiven not by sacrifice in the Temple but in a new way; by John’s Baptism with water.

And when the Word of God came upon him in the desert and he began his ministry of preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins he did not exactly roll out the red carpet.

Luke 3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?


It is WE who needed a precursor to Jesus Christ more than He Himself did. He just needed to be baptized so He could sanctify the waters. I think God ordained a precursor mostly for our own sakes, so that we could be better disposed to receive Jesus Christ, baptism, and His graces. God bless you.


You’re welcome! :thumbsup:


Actually a precursor is defined as “a person or thing that comes before another of the same kind”

Since John the Baptist was not God or even the Messiah, I’d say that is the wrong term.


The Church teaches that John the Baptist is the precursor of Jesus Christ, so the word here on this thread is being properly used. God bless you.


I have seen him referred to as the forerunner, not precursor.


A citation of this assertion would be most convincing.

In The New Jerome Biblical Commentary published about 23 years ago, the statement is made that the Church has made very few official pronouncements or interpretations of scripture.

I think the whole question is a bit too overly interpretive. The entire Old Testament is a precursor or preparation for the arrival of Christ. In The Jewish People and their Scriptures in the Christian Bible, Pope Benedict XVI and the Pontifical Biblical Commission who composed that document assert that the New Testament scriptures would be meaningless without the Old Testament.

And, I would embellish that last sentence with something from the liturgy of the Lord’s Baptism which the Church just observed a week or two ago, where I heard it said that the New Testament really begins with the Baptism of Christ.

The Gospels attest to Christ’s fulfillment of the prophecies of the Jewish Scriptures. Jesus is, if you will, the “new Moses.” Moses as a prophet and law-giver is a precursor of Christ. Moses is mentioned 80 times in the New Testament scriptures (according my count, using Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).


There have been, there are now, and there will many self-proclaiming prophets. Jesus would have been one of them if not for the precursor. This is why the Pprophets prophesied that there would be a precursor. Even now, people still desire not to believe.


“Precursor” is a Latin-derived word.

“pre-” (before)
“cursor” (runner, chariot racer, courier, messenger, footman running ahead)

“precursor” - forerunner, member of an advance guard.

“Forerunner” is an English-derived word. It was created as an exact one to one translation of the elements that make up “precursor.” Because the word has existed in English for a fairly long time, it has picked up meanings and connotations that don’t exist in the Latin word.

But the Latin word has been used to discuss St. John the Baptist for a lot longer than the English newbie word, and it’s a perfectly good technical and Biblical term in all Christian theology.


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