This is the beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, "I am sending my messenger ahead of you to prepare the way for you."
"A voice cries out in the desert: 'Prepare the way for the Lord! Make his paths straight!'"
John the Baptizer was in the desert telling people about a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
All Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went to him. As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
John was dressed in clothes made from camel's hair. He wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.
He announced, "The one who comes after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to bend down and untie his sandal straps.
I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan River.
As Jesus came out of the water, he saw heaven split open and the Spirit coming down to him as a dove.
A voice from heaven said, "You are my Son, whom I love. I am pleased with you."
At once the Spirit brought him into the desert,
where he was tempted by Satan for 40 days. He was there with the wild animals, and the angels took care of him.
After John had been put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee and told people the Good News of God.
He said, "The time has come, and the kingdom of God is near. Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News."
As he was going along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were throwing a net into the sea because they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them, "Come, follow me! I will teach you how to catch people instead of fish."
They immediately left their nets and followed him.
As Jesus went on a little farther, he saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat preparing their nets [to go fishing].
He immediately called them, and they left their father Zebedee and the hired men in the boat and followed Jesus.
Then they went to Capernaum. On the next day of worship, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.
The people were amazed at his teachings. Unlike their scribes, he taught them with authority.
At that time there was a man in the synagogue who was controlled by an evil spirit. He shouted,
"What do you want with us, Jesus from Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!"
Jesus ordered the spirit, "Keep quiet, and come out of him!"
The evil spirit threw the man into convulsions and came out of him with a loud shriek.
Everyone was stunned. They said to each other, "What is this? This is a new teaching that has authority behind it! He gives orders to evil spirits, and they obey him."
The news about him spread quickly throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.
After they left the synagogue, they went directly to the house of Simon and Andrew. James and John went with them.
Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever. The first thing they did was to tell Jesus about her.
Jesus went to her, took her hand, and helped her get up. The fever went away, and she prepared a meal for them.
In the evening, when the sun had set, people brought to him everyone who was sick and those possessed by demons.
The whole city had gathered at his door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases and forced many demons out of people. However, he would not allow the demons to speak. After all, they knew who he was.
In the morning, long before sunrise, Jesus went to a place where he could be alone to pray.
Simon and his friends searched for him.
When they found him, they told him, "Everyone is looking for you."
Jesus said to them, "Let's go somewhere else, to the small towns that are nearby. I have to spread [the Good News] in them also. This is why I have come."
So he went to spread [the Good News] in the synagogues all over Galilee, and he forced demons out of people.
Then a man with a serious skin disease came to him. The man fell to his knees and begged Jesus, "If you're willing, you can make me clean."
Jesus felt sorry for him, reached out, touched him, and said, "I'm willing. So be clean!"
Immediately, his skin disease went away, and he was clean.
Jesus sent him away at once and warned him,
"Don't tell anyone about this! Instead, show yourself to the priest. Then offer the sacrifices which Moses commanded as proof to people that you are clean."
When the man left, he began to talk freely. He spread his story so widely that Jesus could no longer enter any city openly. Instead, he stayed in places where he could be alone. But people still kept coming to him from everywhere.