1 In those days, John the Immerser went into the desert of Judea preaching [to Jews], saying, 2 "You must repent [i.e., change your hearts and lives], for the kingdom of heaven will soon be here." 3 For this is the man who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, who said, [Isa. 40:3], "[It is] the voice of a man who speaks out in the desert, [urging people to] make the road for the Lord ready [for Him to travel]; to make a straight pathway for Him [to walk on]."
4 Now John dressed in clothing made of camel's hair and he wore a leather belt around his waist; he ate grasshoppers and wild honey [i.e., for his regular diet]. 5 [People from] Jerusalem and all over Judea and the region around the Jordan River all went out [to the desert] to [hear] him, 6 and people were immersed by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be immersed, John said to them, "You children of snakes, who warned you to run away from the coming wrath [of God]? 8 Demonstrate by your lives that you have [really] repented, 9 and quit thinking to yourselves, we claim Abraham as our forefather, because I tell you, God is able to make Abraham's children out of these stones. 10 And even now the axe is ready to chop down the trees [i.e., you Jewish people]. Every tree [i.e., person] that does not produce wholesome fruit [i.e., godly, repentant lives] will be cut down and thrown into the fire [i.e., the final punishment of the wicked]. 10 and 12].
11 "I certainly am immersing you in water following [your] repentance, but the One who follows my [ministry], whose sandals I do not deserve to remove [as His slave], will immerse you people with the Holy Spirit and with fire [i.e., the punishment in hell. See verses 12 His winnowing shovel [Note: This was a process whereby grain was tossed into the air so that the wind could blow the husks away, leaving only good grain on the ground] is in His hand and He will completely clear off His threshing floor [by removing all of the husks]. And He will gather His wheat into the barn, but will burn up the husks with a fire that will never go out."
13 Jesus then came from [the province of] Galilee to be immersed by John in the Jordan River. 14 But John tried to discourage Him [from being immersed], saying, "I should be immersed by you, and you are coming to me [for immersion]?"
15 But Jesus answered him, "Allow it [to be done], for it is proper for us to complete everything that is right [before God]." So, John agreed to it.