1. In due course John the Baptist appeared; he proclaimed this message in the desert of Judaea,
2. 'Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.'
3. This was the man spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said: A voice of one that cries in the desert, 'Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.'
4. This man John wore a garment made of camel-hair with a leather loin-cloth round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.
5. Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him,
6. and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins.
7. But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, 'Brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming retribution?
8. Produce fruit in keeping with repentance,
9. and do not presume to tell yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father," because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones.
10. Even now the axe is being laid to the root of the trees, so that any tree failing to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire.
11. I baptise you in water for repentance, but the one who comes after me is more powerful than I, and I am not fit to carry his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
12. His winnowing-fan is in his hand; he will clear his threshing-floor and gather his wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.'
13. Then Jesus appeared: he came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John.
14. John tried to dissuade him, with the words, 'It is I who need baptism from you, and yet you come to me!'
15. But Jesus replied, 'Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that uprightness demands.' Then John gave in to him.
16. And when Jesus had been baptised he at once came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him.
17. And suddenly there was a voice from heaven, 'This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.'