Add parallel Print Page Options

The Work of John the Baptist(A)

·About that time [In the course of time; L In those days] John the Baptist began preaching in the ·desert area [wilderness] of Judea. John said, “·Change your hearts and lives [Repent] because the kingdom of heaven ·is near [has drawn near; is at hand].” ·John the Baptist [L For this] is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he said:

“This is a voice of one
    who ·calls out [shouts; cries out] in the ·desert [wilderness]:
‘Prepare the way for the Lord.
    Make ·the road straight [a clear path] for him [Is. 40:3].’”

John’s clothes were made from camel’s hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist [C reminiscent of the prophet Elijah; 2 Kin. 1:8]. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey [C signifies living off the land]. Many people came from Jerusalem and Judea and all the ·area [region] around the Jordan River to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

Many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was baptizing people. When John saw them, he said, “You ·are snakes [T brood/offspring of vipers]! Who warned you to ·run [slither; L flee] away from God’s coming ·punishment [wrath; retribution]? ·Do the things [L Produce the fruit] ·that show you really have changed your hearts and lives [that prove your repentance; L of repentance]. And don’t ·think you can [presume to] say to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father [C a claim to be God’s special people].’ [L For] I tell you that God could ·make [create; L raise up] children for Abraham from these rocks. 10 The ax ·is now ready to cut down [already lies at the root of] the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire [C a metaphor for judgment].

John Preaches About the Christ(B)

11 “I baptize you with water ·to show that your hearts and lives have changed [for repentence]. But there is one coming after me who is ·greater [mightier; more powerful] than I am, whose sandals I am not ·good enough [fit; qualified] to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 ·He will come ready [L The winnowing fork is in his hand] to clean the grain, ·separating the good grain from the chaff [L to clear his threshing floor]. He will put ·the good part of the grain [L the grain/wheat] into his barn, but he will burn the chaff with ·a fire that cannot be put out [never-ending/unquenchable fire; C a metaphor for judgment, when Jesus will separate the righteous from the wicked].”

Jesus Is Baptized by John(C)

13 ·At that time [Then] Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River ·and wanted John to baptize him [L to be baptized by John]. 14 But John tried to ·stop [deter; dissuade; prevent] him, saying, “·Why do [Do] you come to me to be baptized? I need to be baptized by you!”

15 Jesus answered, “Let it ·be this way for [happen] now. ·We should do all things that are God’s will [or In this way we will do what God requires; L For thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness].” So John ·agreed to baptize Jesus [gave in; consented; allowed it].

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then ·heaven [the sky/heavens] opened, and he saw God’s Spirit ·coming down [descending and lighting/settling] on him like a dove [C either in the form of a dove, or in bird-like descent]. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my ·Son, whom I love [dearly beloved Son; Ps. 2:7; Gen. 22:2], and I am ·very [well] pleased with him [Is. 42:1].”