In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.'” And John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
John the Baptist preached in the wilderness of Judea and baptized people in the Jordan River to repentance. Moreover, John was personally chosen and specifically sent by God to prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. It’s important to remember John did not baptize people for the remission of sins, because neither John nor anyone else can do anything to remove our sins. John the Baptist’s role was to announce the imminent arrival and Jesus and prepare the hearts of the people through repentance to receive the King of the Universe, who is Christ Jesus our Lord. Why? Because John helped the people to understand that repentance is necessary for salvation. Repentance must come before salvation. In other words, we must first understand the situation we’re in because of sin. Then we must turn away from our sin and turn toward Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. That’s why John was the forerunner of Jesus Christ. And John the Baptist was prophesied long ago by Isaiah the prophet who spoke of a forerunner who would announce the arrival of the Messiah. John “is the voice of one crying in the wilderness to prepare and make straight the path of the Lord.”
John’s role was to announce the arrival of Jesus and to prepare the people by calling them to repentance. Repentance doesn’t mean to just acknowledge sin, but in our hearts to have remorse over our sin and turn completely in the opposite direction. That is to turn from our sins and follow the Lord. Dear child of God, we must understand this is really a condition of the heart. Because to say we repent, is not only to have remorse over our sin, but more importantly to love the Lord more than we love our sin and more than we love this fallen world. Repentance is also turning our hearts away from sin and back to God. This is then followed by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Because through Jesus the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and our salvation is secure in Him. But first we must understand the consequences of our sin, have repented and then believe in Jesus as we are personally called by God. The Holy Spirit touches our lives and our hearts, helping us to understand the Gospel message and our need for a Savior, by which we are saved through our faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. As the Apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians, “we have been saved by grace through faith and not by works.” Why? Because faith involves repentance, whereas works involves pride and in pride there is no repentance.