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The Ministry of John the Baptist

3:1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,1 when Pontius Pilate2 was governor of Judea, and Herod3 was tetrarch4 of Galilee, and his brother Philip5 was tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias6 was tetrarch of Abilene, 3:2 during the high priesthood7 of Annas and Caiaphas, the word8 of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.9 3:3 He10 went into all the region around the Jordan River,11 preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.12

3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice13 of one shouting in the wilderness:14

‘Prepare the way for the Lord,

make15 his paths straight.

3:5 Every valley will be filled,16

and every mountain and hill will be brought low,

and the crooked will be made straight,

and the rough ways will be made smooth,

3:6 and all humanity17 will see the salvation of God.’ ”18

3:7 So John19 said to the crowds20 that came out to be baptized by him, “You offspring of vipers!21 Who warned you to flee22 from the coming wrath? 3:8 Therefore produce23 fruit24 that proves your repentance, and don’t begin to say25 to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’26 For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones!27 3:9 Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees,28 and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be29 cut down and thrown into the fire.”

3:10 So30 the crowds were asking31 him, “What then should we do?” 3:11 John32 answered them,33 “The person who has two tunics34 must share with the person who has none, and the person who has food must do likewise.” 3:12 Tax collectors35 also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 3:13 He told them, “Collect no more36 than you are required to.”37 3:14 Then some soldiers38 also asked him, “And as for us—what should we do?”39 He told them, “Take money from no one by violence40 or by false accusation,41 and be content with your pay.”

3:15 While the people were filled with anticipation42 and they all wondered43 whether perhaps John44 could be the Christ,45 3:16 John answered them all,46 “I baptize you with water,47 but one more powerful than I am is coming—I am not worthy48 to untie the strap49 of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.50 3:17 His winnowing fork51 is in his hand to clean out his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his storehouse,52 but the chaff he will burn up with inextinguishable fire.”53

3:18 And in this way,54 with many other exhortations, John55 proclaimed good news to the people. 3:19 But when John rebuked Herod56 the tetrarch57 because of Herodias, his brother’s wife,58 and because of all the evil deeds59 that he had done, 3:20 Herod added this to them all: He locked up John in prison.


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