The ministry of John the Baptist was short but eventful.  He came to herald the coming of the Messiah, God’s greatest saving act.  He came, preaching in the desert, in the desert of Israel’s existence as it labored under the rule of wealthy and powerful Rome, and under the empty faith of its spiritual leaders.  He preached in the area east of the Jordan, a site that marked both unfaithfulness in Israel’s history as well as renewal.  John’s message of repentance appealed to those looking for God’s forgiveness of sins.   His timely appearance shows yet again that when God’s people are under duress and their hopes bleak, God intervenes powerfully.