John the Baptist was in the wilderness. He went there with a message. It takes courage to cry out to the occupiers of the wilderness with a vision of hope. He did it with nerve, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
The crowds were there from all regions. It seems they came hoping for hope. Naming their wilderness, the crowds found the courage to “repent, for the kingdom of heaven [had] come near.”
“Repent”: John’s persistent refrain in the wilderness. He was “crying out,” the gospel tells us, not whimpering or gently prompting. The message is both warning and promise. The one who is coming—the embodiment of the kingdom of heaven come near to us—offers repentance and grace.
excerpt from sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2019 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.