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John the Baptist

John the Baptist
Matthew

About that time John the Baptist appeared as a preacher in the Judaean wilderness; his theme was:‘Repent; for the kingdom of Heaven is upon you!’It is of him that the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, ‘A voice crying aloud in the wilderness,“Prepare a way for the Lord; clear a straight path for him.”’

John's clothing was a rough coat of camel's hair, with a leather belt round his waist,and his food was locusts and wild honey. They flocked to him from Jerusalem, from all Judaea, and the whole Jordan valley, and were baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them:‘You vipers’brood!Who warned you to escape from the coming retribution? Then prove your your repentance by the fruit it bears; and do not presume to say to yourselves,“We have Abraham for our father.”I tell you that God can make children for Abraham out of these stones here. Already the axe is laid to the roots of the trees; and every tree that fails to produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I baptize you with water, for repentance; but the one who comes after me is mightier than I. I am not fit to take off his shoes. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His shovel is ready in his hand and he will winnow his threshing-floor; the wheat he will gather into his granary, but he will burn the chaff on a fire that can never go out.

Then Jesus arrived at the Jordan from Galilee, and came to John to be baptized by him. John tried to dissuade him. ‘Do you come to me?’he said; ‘I need rather to be baptized by you.’ Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so for the present; we do well to conform in this way with all that God requires.’John then allowed him to come. After baptism Jesus came up out of the water at once, and at that moment heaven opened; he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove to alight upon him; and a voice from heaven was heard saying, ‘This is my Son,my Beloved, on whom my favor rests.’