When John heard in prison what Jesus was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, "Are you the Promised One who is coming, or are we to look for some one else?" Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you see and hear: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are brought back to life, and the poor have the good news told to them. Blessed is the man who does not lose faith in me."
As the disciples of John went away, Jesus talked to the people about John: "What did you go into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Men dressed like that live in palaces. But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet! This is he of whom it is written:
"'Behold, I send my messenger before you,
Who shall make the way ready for you.'
"I tell you, no man has appeared who is greater than John the Baptist; and yet he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.
"To what shall I compare the people of to-day? They are like children sitting in the market-places, who call to their playmates and say:
"'We played the pipes for you but you would not dance;
We cried but you would not lament.'
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and men said, 'He has an evil spirit!' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and men say, 'He is a great eater and drinker, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!' But what I do shows that I am wise and right."
Now when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced in public and delighted him. Thereupon he promised with an oath that he would give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said to him, "Give me here on a dish the head of John the Baptist." Although the king did not wish to do it, yet because of his oath and his guests he ordered that it be given her. So he commanded that John be beheaded in prison, and his head was brought on a dish and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. Then John's disciples came and carried away the body to bury it.