Luke 3:1-20New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
3 Tiberius Caesar had been ruling for 15 years. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea. Herod was the ruler of Galilee. His brother Philip was the ruler of Iturea and Traconitis. Lysanias was ruler of Abilene. 2 Annas and Caiaphas were high priests. At that time God’s word came to John, son of Zechariah, in the desert. 3 He went into all the countryside around the Jordan River. There he preached that people should be baptized and turn away from their sins. Then God would forgive them. 4 Here is what is written in the book of Isaiah the prophet. It says,
“A messenger is calling out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord. Make straight paths for him. 5 Every valley will be filled in. Every mountain and hill will be made level. The crooked roads will become straight. The rough ways will become smooth. 6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’ ” (Isaiah 40:3–5)
7 John spoke to the crowds coming to be baptized by him. He said, “You are like a nest of poisonous snakes! Who warned you to escape the coming of God’s anger? 8 Live in a way that shows you have turned away from your sins. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father.’ I tell you, God can raise up children for Abraham even from these stones. 9 The ax is already lying at the roots of the trees. All the trees that don’t produce good fruit will be cut down. They will be thrown into the fire.”
10 “Then what should we do?” the crowd asked.
11 John answered, “Anyone who has extra clothes should share with the one who has none. And anyone who has extra food should do the same.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” John told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
John replied, “Don’t force people to give you money. Don’t bring false charges against people. Be happy with your pay.”
15 The people were waiting. They were expecting something. They were all wondering in their hearts if John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I am will come. I’m not good enough to untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His pitchfork is in his hand to toss the straw away from his threshing floor. He will gather the wheat into his barn. But he will burn up the husks with fire that can’t be put out.” 18 John said many other things to warn the people. He also announced the good news to them.
19 But John found fault with Herod, the ruler of Galilee, because of his marriage to Herodias. She was the wife of Herod’s brother. John also spoke strongly to Herod about all the other evil things he had done. 20 So Herod locked John up in prison. Herod added this sin to all his others.
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