John Prepares the Way for Jesus
(Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-9, 15-17; John 1:19-28)
1 When it was the right time, John the Baptizer began telling people a message from God. This was out in the desert area of Judea. 2 John said, “Change your hearts and lives, because God’s kingdom is now very near.* is now very near Or “is coming soon” or “has come.”” 3 John is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he said,
“There is someone shouting in the desert:
‘Prepare the way for the Lord.
Make the road straight for him.’ ” Isaiah 40:3
4 John’s clothes were made from camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey. 5 People came to John from Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and from all the areas along the Jordan River. 6 They confessed the bad things they had done, and John baptized them in the Jordan.
7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to where John was baptizing people. When John saw them, he said, “You are all snakes! Who warned you to run from God’s judgment that is coming? 8 Change your hearts! And show by the way you live that you have changed. 9 I know what you are thinking. You want to say, ‘but Abraham is our father!’ That means nothing. I tell you, God could make children for Abraham from these rocks. 10 The ax is now ready to cut down the trees.† trees The people who don’t obey God. They are like “trees” that will be cut down. Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with water to show that you have changed your hearts and lives. But there is someone coming later who is able to do more than I can. I am not good enough to be the slave who takes off his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 He will come ready to clean the grain.‡ clean the grain Meaning that Jesus will separate the good people from those who are bad. He will separate the good grain from the straw, and he will put the good part into his barn. Then he will burn the useless part with a fire that cannot be stopped.”
Jesus Is Baptized by John
(Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22)
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River. He came to John, wanting John to baptize him. 14 But John tried to stop him. John said, “Why do you come to me to be baptized? I should be baptized by you!”
15 Jesus answered, “Let it be this way for now. We should do whatever God says is right.” Then John agreed.
16 So Jesus was baptized. As soon as he came up out of the water, the sky opened, and he saw God’s Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 17 A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the one I love. I am very pleased with him.”
*3:2 is now very near Or “is coming soon” or “has come.”
†3:10 trees The people who don’t obey God. They are like “trees” that will be cut down.
‡3:12 clean the grain Meaning that Jesus will separate the good people from those who are bad.