1 THE beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ [the Son of God]. 2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, Here I send my messenger before your face to prepare the way for you: 3 the voice of one who cries in the desert, 'Make the way ready for the Lord, level the paths for him' ??4 John appeared baptizing in the desert and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 5 and the whole of Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him and got baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins. 6 John was dressed in camel's hair, with a leather girdle round his loins, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He announced, "After me one who is mightier will come, and I am not fit to stoop and untie the string of his sandals: 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the holy Spirit."
9 Now it was in those days that Jesus arrived from Nazaret in Galilee and got baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 And the moment he rose from the water he saw the heavens cleft and the Spirit coming down upon him like a dove; 11 then said a voice from heaven, 'Thou art my Son, the Beloved, in thee is my delight.'
12 Then the Spirit drove him immediately into the desert, 13 and in the desert he remained for forty days, while Satan tempted him; he was in the company of wild beasts, but angels ministered to him.
14 After John had been arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the gospel of God; 15 he said, "The time has now come, God's reign is near: repent and believe in the gospel."
16 Now as he passed along the sea of Galilee he saw Simon and Simon's brother Andrew netting fish in the sea ??for they were fishermen;
17 so Jesus said to them, "Come, follow me and I will make you fish for men." 18 At once they dropped their nets and went after him. 19 Then going on a little further he saw James the son of Zebedaeus and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending their nets; 20 he called them at once, and they left their father Zebedaeus in the boat with the crew and went to follow him.
21 They then entered Capharnahum. As soon as the sabbath came, he at once began to teach in the synagogue; 22 and people were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them like an authority, not like the scribes.
23 Now there was a man with an unclean spirit in their synagogue, who at once shrieked out, 24 "Jesus of Nazaret, what business have you with us? Have you come to destroy us? We know who you are, you are God's holy One."
25 But Jesus checked it; "Be quiet," he said, "come out of him." 26 And after convulsing him the unclean spirit did come out of him with a loud cry.
27 Then they were all so amazed that they discussed it together, saying, "Whatever is this?" "It's new teaching with authority behind it!" "He orders even unclean spirits!" "Yes, and they obey him!" 28 So his fame at once spread in all directions through the whole of the surrounding country of Galilee.
29 On leaving the synagogue they went straight to the house of Simon and Andrew, accompanied by James and John. 30 Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with fever, so they told him at once about her, 31 and he went up to her and taking her hand made her rise; the fever left her at once and she ministered to them.
32 Now when evening came, when the sun set, they brought him all who were ill or possessed by daemons ??33 indeed the whole town was gathered at the door ??34 and he cured many who were ill with various diseases and cast out many daemons; but as the daemons knew him he would not let them say anything.
35 Then in the early morning, long before daylight, he got up and went away out to a lonely spot. 36 He was praying there when Simon and his companions hunted him out 37 and discovered him; they told him, "Everybody is looking for you,"
38 but he said to them, "Let us go somewhere else, to the adjoining country-towns, so that I may preach there as well; that is why I came out here." 39 And he went preaching in their synagogues throughout the whole of Galilee, casting out daemons.
40 A leper came to him beseeching him on bended knee, saying, "If you only choose, you can cleanse me;"
41 so he stretched his hand out in pity and touched him saying, "I do choose, be cleansed." 42 And the leprosy at once left him and he was cleansed. 43 Then he sent him off at once with the stern charge, 44 "See, you are not to say a word to anybody; away and show yourself to the priest and offer what Moses prescribed for your cleansing, to notify men." 45 But he went off and proceeded to proclaim it aloud and spread news of the affair both far and wide. The result was that Jesus could no longer enter any town openly; he stayed outside in lonely places, and people came to him from every quarter.