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After some years had passed, John the Baptizer came and told God's word in the desert of Judea.

He said, `Stop doing wrong things and turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven is almost here.'

This is the man that Isaiah the prophet of God spoke about long ago. He said, `A man is calling in the wilderness, "Make the way ready for the Lord. Make the road straight for him." '

John wore clothes made of camel's hair and a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild honey.

People went to him from Jerusalem, from all of Judea, and from all the country near the Jordan River.

He baptised them in the Jordan River when they said how sorry they were for the wrong things they had done.

Many of the Pharisee group and the Sadducee group came to him to be baptised. But when he saw them, he said to them, `You family of snakes! Who told you to run away from God's anger that is coming?

Stop your wrong ways to show that you have turned back to God.

Do not think you can say to your-selves, "Abraham is our father." I tell you, God can make children for Abraham from these stones.

10 The axe is ready to cut down the trees. Every tree that does not have good fruit is cut down and thrown into a fire.

11 `I baptise you with water when you stop your wrong ways. But another person is coming after me. He is greater than I am. I am not good enough to take off his shoes. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

12 He has a cleaning fan in his hand and will fan his grain very clean. He will put the grain into his storehouse. But he will burn the chaff in the fire that never dies.'

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River. He came to John to be baptised by him.

14 John tried to stop him. He said, `I need to be baptised by you. Why do you come to me to be baptised?'

15 But Jesus answered, `Please do it now. In this way we shall do all that is right.' Then John let him be baptised.

16 After Jesus was baptised, he came up out of the water right away. The sky opened. He saw the Spirit of God coming down on him like a dove.

17 A voice from the sky said, `This is my dear Son. I am very pleased with him.'