John the Baptist Prepares the Way(A)

In those days John the Baptist(B) came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven(C) has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”[a](D)

John’s(E) clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist.(F) His food was locusts(G) and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized(H) by him in the Jordan River.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers!(I) Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?(J) Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.(K) And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’(L) I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.(M)

11 “I baptize you with[b] water for repentance.(N) But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit(O) and fire.(P) 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”(Q)

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Footnotes

  1. Matthew 3:3 Isaiah 40:3
  2. Matthew 3:11 Or in
  3. Matthew 3:11 Or in

Comfort for God’s People

40 Comfort, comfort(A) my people,
    says your God.
Speak tenderly(B) to Jerusalem,
    and proclaim to her
that her hard service(C) has been completed,(D)
    that her sin has been paid for,(E)
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
    double(F) for all her sins.

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way(G) for the Lord[a];
make straight(H) in the desert
    a highway for our God.[b](I)
Every valley shall be raised up,(J)
    every mountain and hill(K) made low;
the rough ground shall become level,(L)
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory(M) of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.(N)
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”(O)

A voice says, “Cry out.”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”

“All people are like grass,(P)
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers(Q) and the flowers fall,
    because the breath(R) of the Lord blows(S) on them.
    Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers(T) fall,
    but the word(U) of our God endures(V) forever.(W)

You who bring good news(X) to Zion,
    go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[c](Y)
    lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
    say to the towns of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”(Z)
10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes(AA) with power,(AB)
    and he rules(AC) with a mighty arm.(AD)
See, his reward(AE) is with him,
    and his recompense accompanies him.
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:(AF)
    He gathers the lambs in his arms(AG)
and carries them close to his heart;(AH)
    he gently leads(AI) those that have young.(AJ)

12 Who has measured the waters(AK) in the hollow of his hand,(AL)
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?(AM)
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance?(AN)
13 Who can fathom the Spirit[d](AO) of the Lord,
    or instruct the Lord as his counselor?(AP)
14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
    and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,(AQ)
    or showed him the path of understanding?(AR)

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
    they are regarded as dust on the scales;(AS)
    he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.(AT)
16 Lebanon(AU) is not sufficient for altar fires,
    nor its animals(AV) enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations(AW) are as nothing;(AX)
    they are regarded by him as worthless
    and less than nothing.(AY)

18 With whom, then, will you compare God?(AZ)
    To what image(BA) will you liken him?
19 As for an idol,(BB) a metalworker casts it,
    and a goldsmith(BC) overlays it with gold(BD)
    and fashions silver chains for it.
20 A person too poor to present such an offering
    selects wood(BE) that will not rot;
they look for a skilled worker
    to set up an idol(BF) that will not topple.(BG)

21 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?(BH)
Has it not been told(BI) you from the beginning?(BJ)
    Have you not understood(BK) since the earth was founded?(BL)
22 He sits enthroned(BM) above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.(BN)
He stretches out the heavens(BO) like a canopy,(BP)
    and spreads them out like a tent(BQ) to live in.(BR)
23 He brings princes(BS) to naught
    and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.(BT)
24 No sooner are they planted,
    no sooner are they sown,
    no sooner do they take root(BU) in the ground,
than he blows(BV) on them and they wither,(BW)
    and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.(BX)

25 “To whom will you compare me?(BY)
    Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.(BZ)
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:(CA)
    Who created(CB) all these?
He who brings out the starry host(CC) one by one
    and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,(CD)
    not one of them is missing.(CE)

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
    Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
    my cause is disregarded by my God”?(CF)
28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?(CG)
The Lord is the everlasting(CH) God,
    the Creator(CI) of the ends of the earth.(CJ)
He will not grow tired or weary,(CK)
    and his understanding no one can fathom.(CL)
29 He gives strength(CM) to the weary(CN)
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men(CO) stumble and fall;(CP)
31 but those who hope(CQ) in the Lord
    will renew their strength.(CR)
They will soar on wings like eagles;(CS)
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.(CT)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 40:3 Or A voice of one calling in the wilderness: / “Prepare the way for the Lord
  2. Isaiah 40:3 Hebrew; Septuagint make straight the paths of our God
  3. Isaiah 40:9 Or Zion, bringer of good news, / go up on a high mountain. / Jerusalem, bringer of good news
  4. Isaiah 40:13 Or mind