John was in a tough situation. He was imprisoned because he condemned the actions of Herod (Matt. 14:3-4). He was understandably confused and distraught. He knew that he was the one announcing the arrival of Messiah and that Yeshua was to set up the Kingdom. But if that is the case, then why was he (John) in prison??
John comes out of the wilderness and steps into the picture. His message is short and very clear. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The coming kingdom is the prevailing theme in Matthew. It is mentioned some fifty times in this book. John says to “repent.” To “repent” means to turn away from the ways of the world and turn toward the Torah of Elohim (Isaiah 55:7, Ezekiel 18:30-32, 33:11). We are told in Scripture that if we do not repent we will perish (Luke 13:3, Jer. 26:3-6).