TEXT: Matthew 3:1-4
For over 400 years, there had not been a prophet delivering the word of the Lord among the Jews. This absence of a direct word from God was felt heavily by many of those who longed for the coming of the Messiah. Even the religious establishment regarded the days of the prophets as a high period in Israelite history. So, when John the Baptist began preaching, many people got excited. Like the prophets of old, he came from outside of the establishment and he came with a fiery message: "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."