Matthew 3:1-12 New Life Version (NLV)
John the Baptist Makes the Way Ready for Jesus
3 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the desert in the country of Judea. 2 He said, “Be sorry for your sins and turn from them! The holy nation of heaven is near.” 3 The early preacher Isaiah spoke of this man. He said, “Listen! His voice calls out in the desert! ‘Make the way ready for the Lord. Make the road straight for Him!’”
4 John wore clothes made of hair from camels. He had a leather belt around him. His food was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then the people of Jerusalem and of all the country of Judea and those from near the Jordan River went to him. 6 Those who told of their sins were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 7 He saw many proud religious law-keepers and other people of the religious group who believe no one will be raised from the dead. They were coming to him to be baptized. He said to them, “You family of snakes! Who told you how to keep from God’s anger that is coming? 8 Do something to show me that your hearts are changed. 9 Do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can make children for Abraham out of these stones.
10 “Even now the ax is on the root of the trees. Every tree that does not give good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 For sure, I baptize with water those who are sorry for their sins and turn from them. The One Who comes after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is greater than I. I am not good enough to take off His shoes. 12 He comes ready to clean the grain. He will gather the grain in and clean it all. The clean grain He will put into a building. He will burn that which is no good with a fire that cannot be put out.”
Luke 3:1-18 New Life Version (NLV)
John the Baptist Makes the Way Ready for Jesus
3 Tiberius Caesar had been ruler for fifteen years. Pontius Pilate was ruler of the country of Judea. Herod was the ruler of the country of Galilee. His brother Philip was the ruler of the countries of Ituraea and Trachonitis. Lysanias was the ruler of the country of Abilene. 2 Annas and Caiaphas were the head religious leaders.
The Word of God came to John the Baptist, the son of Zacharias. John was in the desert. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan River. He preached that people should be baptized because they were sorry for their sins and had turned from them, and they would be forgiven. 4 The early preacher Isaiah wrote these words: “His voice calls out in the desert. ‘Make the way ready for the Lord. Make the road straight for Him! 5 Every valley will be filled and every mountain and hill will be brought down. The turns in the road will be made straight and the rough places will be made smooth. 6 And all men will see God saving people from the punishment of their sins.’”
7 John said to the people who came to be baptized by him, “You family of snakes! Who told you how to keep from the anger of God that is coming? 8 Do something to let me see that you have turned from your sins. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you, God can make children for Abraham out of these stones. 9 Even now the ax is on the root of the trees. Every tree that does not give good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10 The people asked him, “Then what should we do?” 11 He answered them, “If you have two coats, give one to him who has none. If you have food, you must share some.” 12 Tax-gatherers came to be baptized also. They asked him, “Teacher, what are we to do?” 13 He said to them, “Do not take more money from people than you should.” 14 Also soldiers asked him, “What are we to do?” He answered them, “Take no money from anyone by using your own strength. Do not lie about anyone. Be happy with the pay you get.”
15 The people were looking for something to happen. They were thinking in their hearts about John the Baptist. They wondered if he might be the Christ. 16 But John said to all of them, “I baptize you with water. There is One coming Who is greater than I. I am not good enough to get down and help Him take off His shoes. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 He comes ready to clean the grain. He will gather the grain and clean it all. He will put the clean grain into a building. But He will burn that which is no good with a fire that cannot be put out.”
John the Baptist Is Put in Prison
18 John spoke much more as he preached the Good News to the people.
John 1:15-28 New Life Version (NLV)
John the Baptist Makes the Way Ready for Jesus Christ
15 John told about Christ and said, “I have been telling you about this One. I said, ‘He is coming after me. He is more important than I because He lived before me.’” 16 From Him Who has so much we have all received loving-favor, one loving-favor after another. 17 The Law was given through Moses, but loving-favor and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 The much-loved Son is beside the Father. No man has ever seen God. But Christ has made God known to us.
19 The Jews sent their religious leaders and men from the family group of Levi to ask John, “Who are you?” 20 He told them without holding back any words, “I am not the Christ!” 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not!” Then they asked, “Are you the special One Who was to come to speak for God?” John said, “No.” 22 Then they asked him, “Who are you? We must tell those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
23 John said, “I am the voice of one crying in the desert. ‘Make the road straight for the Lord,’ as the early preacher Isaiah said.”
24 Those who had been sent were from the proud religious law-keepers. 25 They asked John again, “Then why do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or that special One Who was to come to speak for God?” 26 John answered, “I baptize with water. But there is One standing among you Whom you do not know. 27 He is the One Who is coming after me. I am not good enough to get down and help Him take off His shoes.” 28 All this happened when John was baptizing in the town of Bethany. He was on the other side of the Jordan River.