1. In those days John the Forerunner, who baptized and announced the earthly appearance of the Lamb of God, came preaching in the wilderness of Judea
2. and saying, “It’s time for a complete paradigm shift! You must begin to think differently about God and about your relationship to Him, for the kingdom of/from the heavens – the interior, tangible reign of God through Christ where His will is done on earth (in the physical realm) as it is in heaven (in the spiritual realm) – has now become available and accessible because it has come very near to you!”
3. This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord now, and make a straight highway for His entrance!’”
4. John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. His diet consisted completely of the carob-like pods that came from the locust tree, and wild honey.
5. People went out to see and hear him from Jerusalem and all Judea, and the whole region of the Jordan.
6. They willingly confessed their sins to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
7. But when he saw many of the religious leaders, both Pharisees and Sadducees, coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
8. “Produce fruit in keeping with the real changing of your minds,
9. and do not think that you have the right to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
10. “Even now, the ax is already poised at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into God’s purifying fire.
11. “I baptize you in a river of water for transformation through the changing of your minds. But after me comes One who is much more powerful, whose sandals I am not worthy to even carry. He will purify you, not in a physical river of water, but by baptizing you with the Holy Spirit in a spiritual river of consuming fire!
12. “His winnowing fork and fan are in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering His wheat into the barn, and burning up the chaff in your lives with His unquenchable fire.”
13. Then one day Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John to be baptized by him.
14. But John protested passionately, having in mind to prevent Him, saying, “I’m the one who should be baptized by you! What are you thinking by coming to me in this way?”
15. But Jesus replied to him, “John, let’s do this; you must allow it to happen now, for this is the appropriate and most meaningful way for both of us to fulfill all righteousness and to perform wholly whatever is holy.” His direct words convinced John, and so he permitted Him.
16. And when Jesus was baptized, He came up at once out of the water, and immediately the heavens were opened and John saw the Spirit of God descending in the form of a dove and alighting on Him.
17. Just then, a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, My Beloved, in Whom I take pleasure and with Whom I am completely and absolutely delighted!”