1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” Revelation 17:1-2 (NASB)
John the Baptist was the one who was sent to make the way straight, to prepare the way for the one who was to come. Of course the one who was to come is our Lord Jesus Christ the long awaited Messiah of the Jews….
Gabriel told Zechariah, the father of John, “he would be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb, and will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Of course he did that very thing and our Lord was born of a virgin soon after John.
John the Baptist called the Jews to repentance and obedience. His major focus was to call them out of the works based religion which the scribes and Pharisees had created. Their religion, while based within the Law of God, had not the spirit of the Law, but only the letter of it. The focus was not on knowing God through the Law, but on attempting to become acceptable to God via keeping the Law plus the thousands of other rules and regulations the scribes and Pharisees had piled up on top of it. Their religion was all performance with no mercy or grace. John’s message was to turn from this works based religion back to seeking the face of God with a penitent heart. When Jesus came and began his ministry those whom the Father had given the Son believed and followed Him. These had been prepared by the ministry of John. Even some of our Lord’s 12 Apostles were formerly John’s disciples.