2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way;
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
‘Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight.’”
4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6 John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. 7 And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. 8 I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
12 Immediately the Spirit *impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.
The good news of the Messiah had begun. John the Baptist was sent of God to prepare a way for the Messiahs Kingdom to be ushered in. In order to prepare for this imminent Kingdom and King, John preached to Israel (the people) a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Baptism was part of Jewish culture and tradition, especially in regards to ablutions surrounding temple practices. Baptism was to signify and aform part of holy living and to prepare for the attainment of a closer communion with God. The Greek word for repentance used in Marks gospel is “metanoia” meaning a change of mode of thought and feeling, or to turn. John publicly announces that Israel must change their mind in regards to the coming Messiah and His Kingship; they must turn to God and be prepared for His coming. John not only proclaims a water baptism, but something far greater, namely the Christ who will baptise with the Holy Spirit, and in Matthews gospel is associated with fire, in Jewish thought true baptism was to be performed with fire. The Holy Spirit would enable those who receive Him to have true communion with God.