Matthew 3 (GOD'S WORD Translation)

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1 Later, John the Baptizer appeared in the desert of Judea. His message was, 2 "Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near." 3 Isaiah the prophet spoke about this man when he said, "A voice cries out in the desert: 'Prepare the way for the Lord! Make his paths straight!'" 4 John wore clothes made from camel's hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His diet consisted of locusts and wild honey. 5 Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole Jordan Valley went to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized, he said to them, "You poisonous snakes! Who showed you how to flee from God's coming anger? 8 Do those things that prove you have turned to God and have changed the way you think and act. 9 Don't think you can say, 'Abraham is our ancestor.' I can guarantee that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones. 10 The ax is now ready to cut the roots of the trees. Any tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire. 11 I baptize you with water so that you will change the way you think and act. But the one who comes after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will clean up his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into a barn, but he will burn the husks in a fire that can never be put out." 13 Then Jesus appeared. He came from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to stop him and said, "I need to be baptized by you. Why are you coming to me?" 15 Jesus answered him, "This is the way it has to be now. This is the proper way to do everything that God requires of us." Then John gave in to him. 16 After Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up from the water. Suddenly, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down as a dove to him. 17 Then a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love--my Son with whom I am pleased."
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