John the Baptist can seem like a severe figure in the Bible. With his strange clothes, his locust diet and his confrontational manner, it can be hard to understand where he fits as the one who came to announce the arrival of Jesus. It seems strange until we realize his mission. He is charged with making sure that all was ready for the arrival of the King, Jesus. It clearly was not. The Nation that was supposed to rejoice in Jesus was lost in false religion, arrogant nationalism and just plain rebellion against God.
John’s urgent message to the people makes sense in this light.
Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!