Chapter 3

In those days, John the Baptist preached in the Judean desert. 2He said, “Change your ways! Heaven’s Empire is near!” 3He is the one that the word, spoken through the prophet Isaiah, talked about saying, “A voice crying out in the desert: Get the Lord’s road ready! Make His paths straight!” 4Now, John wore clothes made of camel hair with a leather belt around his hips, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 5All the people who lived in Jerusalem and Judea and everyone out in the country around the Jordan came to see him. 6They were baptized in the Jordan River by him and they confessed their sins.

7When John saw that many of the Pharisees and Sadducees were coming to be baptized he said, “You bunch of snakes! Who warned y’all to flee from the wrath that’s coming? 8Make fruit worthy of repentance, 9and don’t think y’all are safe because y’all can say, ‘We are Abraham’s children.’ Listen to me! God can take these stones and make children of Abraham. 10The ax has already been laid down by the roots of the trees, and any tree that don’t make good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire! 11Yes, I baptize y’all with water for changing your ways, but coming after me is Someone stronger than me, and I ain’t worthy enough to even carry His sandals. He’ll baptize you by fire and by the Holy Spirit! 12His winnowing fork is in His hands. He will completely clean His threshing floor, gather His wheat together, and put it into the granary. But the chaff will be burnt in a fire that can’t be put out!”

13Then Jesus came down from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14But John stopped him and said, “I should be baptized by You, and yet You come to me?” 15But Jesus said to him, “Do it. It must be done to fulfill all righteousness.” So John agreed. 16Once Jesus was baptized, he came straight up out of the water. And look! The heavens were opened up to him, and he saw God’s Spirit come down on him like a dove 17and a voice came out of the heavens and said, “This is my beloved Son. I’m very happy with Him.”

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