1 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming:
2 »Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.«
3 Isaiah spoke of John when he said: »He is a voice shouting in the wilderness: Prepare the way of Jehovah. Make his paths straight.« (Isaiah 40:3)
4 John wore clothes made from camels hair. He had a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, Judea, and the whole Jordan Valley went to him.
6 They confessed their sins and were baptized by John in the Jordan River.
7 He saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism. »You offspring of vipers,« he said, »who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 »Bear fruit worthy of repentance!
9 »Do not presume that Abraham is your father. I tell you that God can make descendants for Abraham from these stones!
10 »The ax is ready to cut down the trees at the roots. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 »I baptize you with water because of your repentance. He that comes after me is mightier than I. He will baptize you with Holy Spirit and fire. I am not even good enough to carry his sandals.
12 »His winnowing shovel is in his hand. He will clean his threshing floor and gather his wheat into a barn. He will then burn the husks in a fire that cannot be put out.«
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.
14 »I need to be baptized by you,« John said. »Why are you coming to me?«
15 Jesus answered emphatically: »This is the proper way to do everything that God requires. This is the way it must be!«
16 Then Jesus was baptized and came up from the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened. He saw Gods Spirit coming down like a dove.
17 Then a voice from heaven said: »This is my Son whom I love and whom I have approved.«