John The Baptist Begins His Ministry

Matthew 3:1-12

1 About this time, John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the Judean wilderness, 2 "Repent, because the kingdom from heaven is near!" 3 He was the one the prophet Isaiah was referring to when he said, "He is a voice calling out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way for the Lord! Make his paths straight!'"

4 John had clothing made of camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist. His diet consisted of grasshoppers and wild honey. 5 Then the people of Jerusalem, all Judea, and the entire region along the Jordan began flocking to him, 6 being baptized by him in the Jordan River while they confessed their sins.

7 But when John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he told them, "You children of serpents! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit that is consistent with repentance! 9 Don't think you can say to yourselves, "We have father Abraham!' because I tell you that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones! 10 The ax already lies against the roots of the trees. So every tree that isn't producing good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 I am baptizing you with water as evidence of repentance, but the one who is coming after me is stronger than I am, and I am not worthy to carry his sandals. It is he who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand. He will clean up his threshing floor and gather his grain into the barn, but he will burn the chaff with inextinguishable fire."

Mark 1:1-8

1 This is the beginning of the gospel of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See! I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way. 3 He is a voice calling out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way for the Lord! Make his paths straight!'"

4 John was baptizing in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism about repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 People from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were flocking to him, being baptized by him while they confessed their sins. 6 Now John was dressed in camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist. He ate grasshoppers and wild honey. 7 He kept proclaiming, "The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am, and I am not worthy to bend down and untie his sandal straps. 8 I baptized you with water, but it is he who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Luke 3:1-20

1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Caesar Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 and Annas and Caiaphas high priests, a message from God came to John, the son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. 3 John went throughout the entire Jordan region, proclaiming a baptism about repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "He is a voice calling out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way for the Lord! Make his paths straight! 5 Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be leveled. The crooked ways will be made straight, and the rough roads will be made smooth. 6 Everyone will see the salvation that God has provided.'"

7 John would say to the crowds that were coming out to be baptized by him, "You children of serpents! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit that is consistent with repentance! Don't begin to say to yourselves, "We have father Abraham!' because I tell you that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones! 9 The ax already lies against the roots of the trees. So every tree not producing good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire."

10 The crowds kept asking him, "What, then, should we do?"

11 He answered them, "The person who has two coats must share with the one who doesn't have any, and the person who has food must do the same."

12 Even some tax collectors came to be baptized. They asked him, "Teacher, what should we do?"

13 He told them, "Stop collecting more money than the amount you are told to collect."

14 Even some soldiers were asking him, "And what should we do?" He told them, "Never extort money from anyone by threats or blackmail, and be satisfied with your pay."

15 Now the people were filled with expectation, and all of them were wondering if John was perhaps the Messiah. 16 John replied to all of them, "I'm baptizing you with water, but one is coming who is more powerful than I, and I'm not worthy to untie his sandal straps. It is he who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clean up his threshing floor. He'll gather the grain into his barn, but he'll burn the chaff with inextinguishable fire." 18 With many other exhortations John continued to proclaim the good news to the people. 19 Now Herod the tetrarch had been rebuked by John because he had married his brother's wife Herodias and because of all of the other evil things Herod had done. 20 Added to all this, Herod locked John up in prison.


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