1This is the beginning of the wonderful news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. 2It starts with Isaiah the prophet, who wrote: Listen! I am sending my messenger ahead of you and he will prepare your way! 3He is a thunderous voice of one who shouts in the wilderness: “Prepare your hearts for the coming of the Lord Yahweh, and clear a straight path inside your hearts for him!” 4John the Baptizer was the messenger who appeared in an uninhabited region, preaching a baptism of repentance for the complete cancellation of sins. 5A steady stream of people came to be dipped in the Jordan River as they publicly confessed their sins. They came from all over southern Israel, including nearly all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 6John wore a rough garment made from camel hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and honey of the wilderness. 7And this is the message he kept preaching: “There is a man coming after me who is greater and a lot more powerful than I am. I’m not even worthy to bend down and untie the strap of his sandals. 8I’ve baptized you into water, but he will baptize you into the Spirit of Holiness!” 9One day, Jesus came from the Galilean village of Nazareth and had John immerse him in the Jordan River. 10The moment Jesus rose up out of the water, John saw the heavenly realm split open, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and rested upon him. 11At the same time, a voice spoke from heaven, saying: “You are my Son, my cherished one, and my greatest delight is in you!” 12Immediately after this he was compelled by the Holy Spirit to go into an uninhabited desert region. 13He remained there in the wilderness for forty days, enduring the ordeals of Satan’s tests. He encountered wild animals, but also angels who appeared and ministered to his needs. 14Later on, after John the Baptizer was arrested, Jesus went back into the region of Galilee and preached the wonderful gospel of God’s kingdom realm. 15His message was this: “At last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for the realm of God’s kingdom to be experienced in its fullness! Turn your lives back to God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!” 16As Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he noticed two brothers fishing: Simon and Andrew. He watched them as they were casting their nets into the sea 17and said to them, “Come follow me and I will transform you into men who catch people instead of fish!” 18Immediately they dropped their nets and left everything behind to follow Jesus. 19Walking a little farther, Jesus found two other brothers sitting in a boat, along with their father, mending their nets. Their names were Jacob and John, and their father Zebedee. 20Jesus immediately walked up to them and invited the two brothers to become his followers. At once, Jacob and John dropped their nets, stood up, left their father in the boat with the hired men, and followed Jesus.