1. The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2. It is written in the prophet Isaiah: Look, I am going to send my messenger in front of you to prepare your way before you.
3. A voice of one that cries in the desert: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.
4. John the Baptist was in the desert, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins.
6. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey.
7. In the course of his preaching he said, 'After me is coming someone who is more powerful than me, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals.
8. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.'
9. It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John.
10. And at once, as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him.
11. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.'
12. And at once the Spirit drove him into the desert
13. and he remained there for forty days, and was put to the test by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels looked after him.
14. After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the gospel from God saying,
15. 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel.'
16. As he was walking along by the Lake of Galilee he saw Simon and Simon's brother Andrew casting a net in the lake -- for they were fishermen.
17. And Jesus said to them, 'Come after me and I will make you into fishers of people.'
18. And at once they left their nets and followed him.
19. Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending the nets.
20. At once he called them and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.
21. They went as far as Capernaum, and at once on the Sabbath he went into the synagogue and began to teach.
22. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.
23. And at once in their synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit, and he shouted,
24. 'What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.'
25. But Jesus rebuked it saying, 'Be quiet! Come out of him!'
26. And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him.
27. The people were so astonished that they started asking one another what it all meant, saying, 'Here is a teaching that is new, and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.'
28. And his reputation at once spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.
29. And at once on leaving the synagogue, he went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew.
30. Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed and feverish, and at once they told him about her.
31. He went in to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to serve them.
32. That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils.
33. The whole town came crowding round the door,
34. and he cured many who were sick with diseases of one kind or another; he also drove out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.
35. In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house and went off to a lonely place and prayed there.
36. Simon and his companions set out in search of him,
37. and when they found him they said, 'Everybody is looking for you.'
38. He answered, 'Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can proclaim the message there too, because that is why I came.'
39. And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out devils.
40. A man suffering from a virulent skin-disease came to him and pleaded on his knees saying, 'If you are willing, you can cleanse me.'
41. Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said to him, 'I am willing. Be cleansed.'
42. And at once the skin-disease left him and he was cleansed.
43. And at once Jesus sternly sent him away and said to him,
44. 'Mind you tell no one anything, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your cleansing prescribed by Moses as evidence to them.'
45. The man went away, but then started freely proclaiming and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but stayed outside in deserted places. Even so, people from all around kept coming to him.