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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
1 IN THOSE days there appeared John the Baptist, preaching in the Wilderness (Desert) of Judea
2 And saying, Repent (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3 This is he who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, The voice of one crying in the wilderness (shouting in the desert), Prepare the road for the Lord, make His highways straight (level, direct). [Isa. 40:3.]
4 This same John's garments were made of camel's hair, and he wore a leather girdle about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. [Lev. 11:22; II Kings 1:8; Zech. 13:4.]
5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the country round about the Jordan went out to him;
6 And they were baptized in the Jordan by him, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee and escape from the wrath and indignation [of God against disobedience] that is coming?
8 Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart];
9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, We have Abraham for our forefather; for I tell you, God is able to raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones!
10 And already the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 I indeed baptize you in (with) water because of repentance [that is, because of your changing your minds for the better, heartily amending your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins]. But He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to take off or carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
12 His winnowing fan (shovel, fork) is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear out and clean His threshing floor and gather and store His wheat in His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with fire that cannot be put out.
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John to be baptized by him.
14 But John protested strenuously, having in mind to prevent Him, saying, It is I who have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?
15 But Jesus replied to him, Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for [both of] us to fulfill all righteousness [that is, to perform completely whatever is right]. Then he permitted Him.
16 And when Jesus was baptized, He went up at once out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he [John] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him.
17 And behold, a voice from heaven said, This is My Son, My Beloved, in Whom I delight! [Ps. 2:7; Isa. 42:1.]