Long ago God spoke to a man, his name was Isaiah. God said to him,
“I will send a boss for people.
I will send another man ahead of that boss,
with a message for them.”
That man that goes ahead will be out in the bush / desert [= anywhere not close to anyone's camp]. He will say to people, 'Our (inc.) boss will come. Make a straight road* for him.'”In that way God spoke to Isaiah.
That (man) Isaiah wrote the word for them in a book.
After a really long time that man appeared now. His name was John. His poor-quality clothes were made from camel-hair. With a tying thing made of skin he used to tie up his waist. He used to eat bush-tucker, grasshoppers and honey.
Really many were coming to John in order to hear him. From the country of Judea they were coming to him, from the big town, too, from what's-its-name, from Jerusalem.
He was saying to them,
“You (pl.) have been ignoring / disobeying God. Be ashamed! Come this way! Come to God! Then God won't look at you with anger, he will feel good about you / well-disposed towards you. After that I will baptise you”.
In that sort of way John used to tell them.
The ones who took notice of John's message one by one used to say to God,
“It is really true that I have been ignoring / disobeying you. I am ashamed of myself. I want to come back to you.”
In that sort of way they used to tell God. Then John baptised them in the river, in what's-its-name, in Jordan.
John used to say to them,
“Fairly soon another man will come. He is really truly a big boss. Not like me, I am just nothing, I'm only rubbish. This other one is the really big boss. I shouldn't even nudge his shoes. I merely baptise you in water. This other one will send God's Spirit to you (and/or, for your benefit).”
In that sort of way John used to tell them.
Then Jesus came to John from the town of Nazareth, from the country of Galilee. There John baptised Jesus in that river Jordan.
As Jesus was emerging from the water he looked up. Then God tore the sky. The Spirit of God came down to Jesus like a dove and sat on him.
From above God spoke to Jesus,
“You are my very own son. I love you.§
* 9: Translating the metaphor literally at this point. 9: This formula is often used when introducing a place-name likely to be unfamiliar to the hearer. 9: Literally 'do you in water'. Janpa-nga ji-, 'water-in do-', lit. 'will do you in water', a technical term for baptism coined by the first Nyangumarta Christians, in contrast to janpa ji-, 'wash it'. § 9: Literally 'you are in my stomach/centre of emotions/feelings. I feel good about you / well-disposed towards you.” 1 We kept the metaphor here, but it really needs to be explained. 2 This expression must always be used the first time a strange name is mentioned in a discourse. 3 Literally 'do you in water'. 4 Literally 'you are in my stomach/centre of emotions/feelings.