Matthew 3

1At that time John the Baptizer came and began telling people a message ˻from God˼. This was in the desert area of Judea. 2John said, “Change your hearts and lives, because the kingdom of heaven is coming soon.” 3John the Baptizer is the one that Isaiah the prophet was talking about. Isaiah said: “There is a person shouting in the desert: 'Prepare the way for the Lord. Make his paths straight.’” 4John’s clothes were made from camel’s hair. John had a leather belt around his waist. For food, John ate locusts and wild honey. 5People went to hear John. The people came from Jerusalem and all Judea and all the area around the Jordan River. 6People told the sins they had done, and John baptized them in the Jordan River. 7Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was baptizing people. When John saw them he said to them: “You are all 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 boast and say to yourselves, 'Abraham is our father.’ I tell you that God could make children for Abraham from these rocks here. 10The ax is now ready to cut down the trees. Every tree that does not make good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11”I baptize you with water to show that you changed your hearts and lives. But there is a person coming later that is greater than I am. I am not good enough to take off his shoes for him. 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 straw. He will put the good part of the grain into his barn. And he will burn the part that is not good. He will burn it with a fire that cannot be stopped.” 13At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River. Jesus came to John and wanted John to baptize him. 14But John tried to say that he was not good enough to baptize Jesus. 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 he came up out of the water. The sky opened, and he saw God’s Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 17And a voice spoke from heaven. The voice said, “This ˻(Jesus)˼ is my Son and I love him. I am very pleased with him.”

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