Mark's audience was living under domination by Rome. According to Allen & Williamson,
Isaiah was especially popular among the apocalyptists because they used the Babylonian oppressors and the exile to interpret Rome as a latter-day idolatrous and unjust Babylon and their situation of exile as they awaited the apocalypse. Isaiah 40:30 reinforces the theme from Malachi: John prepared the community for the eschatological invasion of the present, broken world by Jesus.
What does Mark mean by "beginning"? Is John the beginning of the good news? Or, is Mark's gospel the beginning of the story that continues to this day? (NT Commentary by Boring & Craddock)
For us, what is wilderness? What is our Babylon? Is it time for us to return from exile? How does the call for repentance relate to our lives?
Lectio Divina: Mark 1:2-4