The good news of Jesus Christ - the Message! - begins here,
following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Watch closely: I'm sending my preacher ahead of you; He'll make the road smooth for you.
Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God's arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!
John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins.
People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life.
John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.
As he preached he said, "The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I'm a mere stagehand, will change your life.
I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism - a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit - will change you from the inside out."
At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God's Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him.
Along with the Spirit, a voice: "You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life."
At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild.
For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)