I took the picture below at the Philadelphia museum awhile ago. Don’t know the artist’s name; he obviously didn’t know what Palestine looked like where John the Baptist preached, but he got the story right, I think.
The group listening to John are surrounded by the over-powering wilderness. How did they ever find him, or how did he find them? Have they been baptized yet, or will they go down with him to the Jordan, which is so much wider in our picture than the real river? John will have to put them on the road and get them on their way; they wont make it on their own.
That’s what he’s there for, to guide them. We’ll always have guides. Did he get lonely or fearful or hungry here? “What did you go out to see?” Jesus said. “a reed shaken by the wind? A man in soft garments?” John took his place in this fearful land and stayed there without wavering. That’s why Jesus praised him.