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John the Baptist Prepares the Way(A)

About this time,[a] John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the Judean wilderness, “Repent, because the kingdom from[b] heaven is near!” He was the one the prophet Isaiah was referring to when he said,

“He is a voice calling out in the wilderness:
    ‘Prepare the way for the Lord![c]
        Make his paths straight!’”[d]

John had clothing made of camel’s hair and wore[e] a leather belt around his waist. His diet consisted of grasshoppers[f] and wild honey.

Then the people of[g] Jerusalem, all Judea, and the entire region along the Jordan began flocking to him, being baptized by him in the Jordan River while they confessed their sins.

But when John[h] saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing,[i] he told them, “You children of serpents! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit that is consistent with repentance! Don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have father Abraham!’ because I tell you that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones! 10 The ax already lies against the roots of the trees. So every tree that isn’t producing good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I am baptizing you with[j] water as evidence of repentance,[k] but the one who is coming after me is stronger than I am, and I am not worthy to carry his sandals. It is he who will baptize you with[l] the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand. He will clean up his threshing floor and gather his grain into the barn, but he will burn the chaff with inextinguishable fire.”

Jesus is Baptized(B)

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to stop him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and are you coming to me?”

15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be this way for now, because this is the proper way for us to fulfill all righteousness.”[m]

At this, he permitted him to be baptized.[n] 16 When Jesus had been baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Suddenly, the heavens opened up for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him. 17 Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love. I am pleased with him!”


  1. Matthew 3:1 Lit. In those days
  2. Matthew 3:2 Lit. of
  3. Matthew 3:3 MT and DSS source citations read Lord
  4. Matthew 3:3 Cf. Isa 40:3
  5. Matthew 3:4 The Gk. lacks wore
  6. Matthew 3:4 Or locust-shaped carob seed pods
  7. Matthew 3:5 The Gk. lacks the people of
  8. Matthew 3:7 Lit. he
  9. Matthew 3:7 Lit. to his baptism
  10. Matthew 3:11 Or in
  11. Matthew 3:11 Lit. for repentance
  12. Matthew 3:11 Or in
  13. Matthew 3:15 Cf. Dan 9:24
  14. Matthew 3:15 The Gk. lacks to be baptized