John the Baptiser got the people ready
Many years later, while Jesus was still in Nazareth, John the Baptiser started his work. He went to the bush in Judea country, and he started to tell everybody his message. He said, “Listen. God is going to show everyone how they can be in his family. So you have to stop doing bad things. You have to turn around and live God’s way.”*
John was the man that Isaiah wrote about, a long time ago. Isaiah was one of Gods men, and God got him to write this in Gods book,
A man will be out in the bush,
and he will call out to people.
He will say, ‘You mob get ready.
God is coming to this country,
so you have to get ready for him.
It is like when a big boss comes,
and you have to make a good road for him.’ ”*
John wore rough clothes, made of camels hair, and he wore a leather belt. He ate grasshoppers and bush honey.* A lot of people went out to see John, and to listen to him. They went out from Jerusalem city, and from all of Judea country, and from all the country around the Jordan River. And, after those people said they were sorry for the bad things they did, John took them through a special washing ceremony, that is, he baptised them in the Jordan River.
Some men came to that place to watch John baptise people. Some of them were from the Pharisee mob, that were strong for the Jewish law, and some of them were from the mob called Sadducees. John saw them and said, “You mob are bad, and you are tricky. You are just like a mob of cheeky snakes. Did somebody tell you that God is really angry with you, so you want to do something to stop him from punishing you?* If you really are sorry for the bad things you did, and if you are turning around properly to live God’s way, show us. If we see you doing good things, then we will know it is true. But don’t just say to yourselves, ‘We are in Abraham’s family, so we’ll be all right.’ Listen, God can turn these stones here into Abraham’s family.* 10 So you look out. God is going to punish you. He is like a man lifting up an axe to cut the roots of a tree. You are like trees that haven’t got good fruit, so men chop them down and throw them into a fire. God will punish you like that. He will throw you into a fire.”*
11 John kept on talking to the people. He said, “If you say you are sorry for the bad things you did, and if you turn to God, then I will baptise you with water. But somebody is coming soon, and he is more important than me. I’m not even good enough to carry his shoes. I’m just nothing. He will put the Holy Spirit in you, that is, he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire. 12 You know the way a farmer gets all the seeds from the plants he grows. He hits the seed heads with a stick and throws them in the air, so that the seeds fall off the plants. Then he gathers all the seeds and puts them in his shed. But he burns all the rest. It is rubbish, and he burns it in a fire. Well, God is like that farmer. He’s got that stick in his hand right now. If you turn around and live God’s way, he will look after you. But if you don’t, he will throw you in the fire that never goes out.”
John baptised Jesus
13 At that time, Jesus left his home in Galilee country, and he went south to the Jordan River. Jesus wanted John to baptise him. 14 But John didn’t agree with him. He said, “No. Don’t come to me. I cant baptise you. You are better than me, so really, you have to baptise me.”
15 But Jesus said, “We have to do it the way God wants. So now, while you are baptising people, you can baptise me too.” Then John agreed with him.
16 So John baptised Jesus. And as Jesus came up out of the water, the sky opened up, and Jesus saw the spirit of God coming down like a pigeon, and landing on him. 17 And God talked from heaven. He said, “This is my son. I love him very much, and I’m very happy with him.”*
* 3:2 Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15 * 3:3 Isaiah 40:3 * 3:4 2 Kings 1:8 * 3:7 Matthew 12:34; 23:33 * 3:9 John 8:33 * 3:10 Matthew 7:19 * 3:17 Genesis 22:2; Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 12:18; 17:5; Luke 9:35