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.”