In the fifteenth year of the rule of the emperor Tiberius—when Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea and Herod was rulera over Galilee, his brother Philip was rulerb over Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was rulerc over Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas—God's word came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
John went throughout the region of the Jordan River, calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins.
This is just as it was written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet, A voice crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way for the Lord;make his paths straight.5Every valley will be filled,and every mountain and hill will be leveled.The crooked will be made straightand the rough places made smooth.6All humanity will see God's salvation."d7
Then John said to the crowds who came to be baptized by him, "You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon?
Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. And don't even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham's children from these stones.
The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire."