Matthew 3:1-11

Matthew 3:1-2-11-12 The Message (MSG)

While Jesus was living in the Galilean hills, John, called “the Baptizer,” was preaching in the desert country of Judea. His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.” John and his message were authorized by Isaiah’s prophecy: Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight! John dressed in a camel-hair habit tied at the waist by a leather strap. He lived on a diet of locusts and wild field honey. People poured out of Jerusalem, Judea, and the Jordanian countryside to hear and see him in action. There at the Jordan River those who came to confess their sins were baptized into a changed life. When John realized that a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees were showing up for a baptismal experience because it was becoming the popular thing to do, he exploded: “Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to make any difference? It’s your life that must change, not your skin! And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as father. Being a descendant of Abraham is neither here nor there. Descendants of Abraham are a dime a dozen. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire. “I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama—compared to him I’m a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”

Matthew 3:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming! Clear the road for him!’” John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Matthew 3:1-11 New Century Version (NCV)

About that time John the Baptist began preaching in the desert area of Judea. John said, “Change your hearts and lives because the kingdom of heaven is near.” John the Baptist is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he said: “This is a voice of one who calls out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way for the Lord. Make the road straight for him.’ ” John’s clothes were made from camel’s hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey. Many people came from Jerusalem and Judea and all the area around the Jordan River to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River. Many 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 coming punishment? Do the things that show you really have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father.’ I tell you that God could make children for Abraham from these rocks. The ax is now ready to cut down the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water to show that your hearts and lives have changed. But there is one coming after me who is greater than I am, whose sandals I am not good enough to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Matthew 3:1-11 Amplified Bible (AMP)

In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea [along the western side of the Dead Sea] and saying, “Repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is the one who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE SHOUTING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘PREPARE THE ROAD FOR THE LORD, MAKE HIS HIGHWAYS STRAIGHT (level, direct)!’ ” Now this same John had clothing made of camel’s hair and a [wide] leather band around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. 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 from the [divine] wrath and judgment to come? So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin]; and do not presume to say to yourselves [as a defense], ‘We have Abraham for our father [so our inheritance assures us of salvation]’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children (descendants) for Abraham. And already the axe [of God’s judgment] is swinging toward the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “As for me, I baptize you with water because of [your] repentance [that is, because you are willing to change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret your sin and live a changed life], but He (the Messiah) who is coming after me is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to remove [even as His slave]; He will baptize you [who truly repent] with the Holy Spirit and [you who remain unrepentant] with fire (judgment).

Matthew 3:1-11 The Passion Translation (TPT)

It was at this time that John the Baptizer began to preach in the desert of Judah. His message was this: “The realm of heaven’s kingdom is about to appear—so you’d better keep turning away from evil and turn back to God!” Isaiah was referring to John when he prophesied: A thunderous voice! One will be crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare yourself for the Lord’s coming and level a straight path inside your hearts for him.” Now, John wore clothing made from camel’s hair, tied at his waist with a leather strap, and his food consisted of dried locusts and wild honey. A steady stream of people from Jerusalem, all the surrounding countryside, and the region near the Jordan came out to the wilderness to be baptized by him. And while they were publicly confessing their sins, he would immerse them in the Jordan River. But when he saw many coming from among the wealthy elite of Jewish society and many of the religious leaders known as Pharisees coming to witness the baptism, he began to denounce them, saying, “You offspring of vipers! Who warned you to slither away like snakes from the fire of God’s judgment? You must prove your repentance by a changed life. And don’t presume you can get away with merely saying to yourselves, ‘But we’re Abraham’s descendants!’ For I tell you, God can awaken these stones to become sons of Abraham! The axe is now ready to cut down the trees at their very roots. Every fruitless, rotten tree will be chopped down and thrown into the fire. Those who repent I baptize with water, but there is coming a Man after me who is more powerful than I am. In fact, I’m not even worthy enough to pick up his sandals. He will submerge you into union with the Spirit of Holiness and with a raging fire!