Only the gospels of Matthew and Luke contain the birth stories of Jesus. Luke is the only one which has the birth story of John the Baptist.
That gospel recounts the incident in the Temple when Zechariah was told that his wife Elizabeth was going to give birth to their son, John, who had very important work to do.
John had to prepare the people for Jesus’ mission to the world.
This incident happened prior to Mary being told about the baby that she was going to give birth to. To begin with Zechariah did not believe what he was told and he lost his speech.
It was only restored when it was obvious that he believed what he had been told.
Many years later, as recounted in all four gospels, John the Baptist began his work to encourage people to repent of their sins and change their ways.
Large crowds of people came to hear what he had to say and accepted his teaching and were baptised by him.
Some of them thought that he was the Messiah – the person for many years that they had been looking for, to improve their lives.
However John the Baptist informed them that while he was not the Messiah but there was someone who was going to come later who would provide them with what they needed.
John recognised the fact that while he had important work to do, the even more important work was going to be done by Jesus himself.
John recognised that he had a part to play in getting people to think about their lives and about how they should behave towards God and towards one another.
John was important because he was someone who was prepared to do all that God required of him.