The Work of John the Baptist
1About that time John the Baptist came and began preaching in the desert area of Judea. 2John said, “Change your hearts and lives because the kingdom of heaven is coming soon.” 3John the Baptist is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about. Isaiah said:
“This is a voice of a man
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. He wore a leather belt around his waist. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey. 5Many people went to hear John preach. They came from Jerusalem and all Judea and all the area around the Jordan River. 6They told of the sins they had done, and John 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 anger that is coming? 8You must do the things that show that you have really changed your hearts and lives. 9And don’t think that 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. Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.# This means that God is ready to punish his people who do not obey him.
11“I baptize you with water to show that your hearts and lives have changed. But there is one coming later who is greater than I am. I am not good enough to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12He will come ready to clean the grain. He will separate the good grain from the chaff. He will put the good part of the grain into his barn. And he will burn the chaff with a fire that cannot be put out.”# This means that Jesus will come to separate the good people from the bad people, saving the good and punishing the bad.
Jesus Is Baptized by John
13At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River. He came to John and wanted John to baptize him. 14But John tried to stop him. John said, “Why do you come to me to be baptized? I should be baptized by you!”
15Jesus answered, “Let it be this way for now. We should do all things that are right.” So John agreed to baptize Jesus.
16Jesus was baptized and came up out of the water. Heaven opened, and he saw God’s Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 17And a voice spoke from heaven. The voice said, “This is my Son and I love him. I am very pleased with him.”