Rome invented the word dictatorship. Roman Emperor Tiberius reigned 14-37 AD. He was a gloomy and reclusive man, infamous for his cruelty and shameless debauchery. Pontius Pilate, Herod, Philip and Lysanias were various local Roman governors in and around Judea. Annas and Caiaphas were puppet high priests over the Roman Judea, appointed by the local Roman governor, yet with great power over the Jewish people. The allusion to this world’s great and corrupt leaders sets the scene for what is to follow beginning in an insignificant corner of Israel. Do not despise the day of small things (Zechariah 4:9-10), because God’s great works often begin small yet are of far greater significance than what’s currently in the news headlines. John’s ministry began in the wilderness, picturing a new Exodus and a new beginning preparing the way for Christ.