The Gospel according to Matthew

3:1It was in those days that John the Immerser came along, proclaiming in the Judean wilderness,3:2“Change your minds, for the kingdom of the heavens has arrived!”3:3He was the one mentioned by the prophet Isaiah: “A voice calls out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the road for the Master! Straighten his paths!’ ”3:4John dressed himself with cloth made from camel hair, his belt was made of leather, and he lived on locusts and wild honey.

3:5Then everyone from Jerusalem, Judea, and the area around the Jordan went out to him.3:6They were immersed by him in the Jordan River as they admitted their faults.3:7But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was immersing, he said to them, “You den of poisonous snakes! Who advised you to run away from impending doom?3:8Prove that you’ve changed your minds.3:9And don’t think to yourselves, ‘Our father is Abraham!’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham out of these stones!

3:10“The ax is already poised to strike the root of the tree, and any tree not producing good fruit is to be chopped down and thrown into the fire.3:11I do indeed immerse you in water to signify a change of mind. But after me comes someone stronger than I am, whose shoes I am unworthy to carry, and he will immerse you in the Holy Spirit and fire.3:12He has a broom in his hand, and he is about to sweep the floor clean! He will collect his grain and store it away, but the chaff will be burned in a fire that cannot be extinguished.”

3:13Jesus came from Galilee to be immersed by John in the Jordan.3:14But John objected, “I’m the one who needs to be immersed by you, yet you come to me?”

3:15“It has to be this way for now,” replied Jesus, “for we must do what is right.”

3:16So he consented to immerse him. And immediately as Jesus came up out of the water, suddenly the heavens opened up, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and landing on him.3:17At that moment there was a voice from heaven saying, “This is my dear son; I am quite pleased with him!”