All men were in expectation of Messiah, but in addition, they were expecting the Prophet Elijah. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Mal. 4:5). Elijah was known to have worn rough clothing, and now along came John the Baptist wearing rough clothing and speaking with authority. Hence many thought he was the predicted Elijah. John spoke with such conviction that the people were willing to be baptized. And they assumed he was doing the very “Elijah” work predicted: “He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Mal. 4:6). The point is that the appearing of John the Baptist in this manner alerted and awakened the nation of Israel so that he could introduce Jesus as someone different.