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Matthew 3

3
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
1In those days John the Baptist came and preached in the desert around Judea. 2He said, “Turn away from your sins! The kingdom of heaven is near.” 3John is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he said,
“A messenger is calling out in the desert,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ”
4John’s clothes were made out of camel’s hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey. 5People came out to him from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and the whole area around the Jordan River. 6They confessed their sins, and John baptized them in the Jordan.
7But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized, John said to them, “You little snakes! Who warned you to try to escape the punishment that’s coming? 8If you have turned away from your sins, you have to live in a way that shows that. 9Don’t think you’re safe just because you can say, ‘We come from Abraham.’ I tell you, God can raise up children for Abraham even from these stones. 10The ax is already at the tree roots, and any tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11“I’m baptizing you with water so you can show that you’ve turned away from your sins. But someone is coming after me who’s more powerful than I am. I’m not even worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12He’ll have a tool with him and use it to sort out everything on his threshing floor. He’ll gather the wheat into his barn, but he’ll burn up the husks in a fire that can’t be put out.”
Jesus Is Baptized
13Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River so that John could baptize him. 14But John didn’t want to. He told Jesus, “I need to be baptized by you, so why are you coming to me?”
15Jesus answered, “Please agree to this. It’s right for us to do everything that God is asking of people now.” So then John agreed.
16Right after Jesus was baptized, as he was coming up out of the water, at that moment, heaven was opened and Jesus saw the Spirit of God coming down on him like a dove. 17A voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son. I’m very pleased with him.”
3
The Work of John the Baptist
1About that time John the Baptist began preaching in the desert area of Judea. 2John said, “Change your hearts and lives because the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3John the Baptist is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he said:
“This is a voice of one
who calls out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way for the Lord.
Make the road straight for him.’ ”#Isaiah 40:3
4John’s clothes were made from camel’s hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey. 5Many people came from Jerusalem and Judea and all the area around the Jordan River to hear John. 6They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.
7Many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was baptizing people. When John saw them, he said, “You are snakes! Who warned you to run away from God’s coming punishment? 8Do the things that show you really have changed your hearts and lives. 9And don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father.’ I tell you that God could make children for Abraham from these rocks. 10The ax is now ready to cut down the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11“I baptize you with water to show that your hearts and lives have changed. But there is one coming after me who is greater than I am, whose sandals I am not good enough to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12He will come ready to clean the grain, separating the good grain from the chaff. He will put the good part of the grain into his barn, but he will burn the chaff with a fire that cannot be put out.”
Jesus Is Baptized by John
13At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River and wanted John to baptize him. 14But John tried to stop him, saying, “Why do you come to me to be baptized? I need to be baptized by you!”
15Jesus answered, “Let it be this way for now. We should do all things that are God’s will.” So John agreed to baptize Jesus.
16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven opened, and he saw God’s Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with him.”