In those days John the Baptist began preaching in the Judean wilderness. His message was,
"Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near."
Isaiah had spoken of John when he said, "He is a voice shouting in the wilderness: 'Prepare a pathway for the Lord's coming! Make a straight road for him!'"
John's clothes were woven from camel hair, and he wore a leather belt; his food was locusts and wild honey.
People from Jerusalem and from every section of Judea and from all over the Jordan Valley went out to the wilderness to hear him preach.
And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized, he denounced them. "You brood of snakes!" he exclaimed. "Who warned you to flee God's coming judgment?
Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God.
Don't just say, 'We're safe -- we're the descendants of Abraham.' That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of Abraham.
Even now the ax of God's judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire."
"I baptize with water those who turn from their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is far greater than I am -- so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
He is ready to separate the chaff from the grain with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, storing the grain in his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire."
Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.
But John didn't want to baptize him. "I am the one who needs to be baptized by you," he said, "so why are you coming to me?"
But Jesus said, "It must be done, because we must do everything that is right. " So then John baptized him.
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.
And a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him."
Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the Devil.
For forty days and forty nights he ate nothing and became very hungry.
Then the Devil came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, change these stones into loaves of bread."
But Jesus told him, "No! The Scriptures say, 'People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.' "5
Then the Devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple,
and said, "If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, 'He orders his angels to protect you. And they will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.' "
Jesus responded, "The Scriptures also say, 'Do not test the Lord your God.' "8
Next the Devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him the nations of the world and all their glory.
"I will give it all to you," he said, "if you will only kneel down and worship me."
10"Get out of here, Satan," Jesus told him. "For the Scriptures say, 'You must worship the Lord your God; serve only him.' " 11
Then the Devil went away, and angels came and cared for Jesus.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)