Matthew 3 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
John Prepares the Way for Jesus
3 When it was the right time, John the Baptizer began telling people a message from God. This was out in the desert area of Judea. 2 John said, “Change your hearts and lives, because God’s kingdom is now very near.[a]” 3 John is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he said,
“There is someone shouting in the desert:
4 John’s clothes were made from camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey. 5 People came to John from Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and from all the areas along the Jordan River. 6 They confessed the bad things they had done, and John baptized them in the Jordan.
7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to where John was baptizing people. When John saw them, he said, “You are all snakes! Who warned you to run from God’s judgment that is coming? 8 Change your hearts! And show by the way you live that you have changed. 9 I know what you are thinking. You want to say, ‘but Abraham is our father!’ That means nothing. I tell you, God could make children for Abraham from these rocks. 10 The ax is now ready to cut down the trees.[b] Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with water to show that you have changed your hearts and lives. But there is someone coming later who is able to do more than I can. I am not good enough to be the slave who takes off his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 He will come ready to clean the grain.[c] He will separate the good grain from the straw, and he will put the good part into his barn. Then he will burn the useless part with a fire that cannot be stopped.”
Jesus Is Baptized by John
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River. He came to John, wanting John to baptize him. 14 But John tried to stop him. John said, “Why do you come to me to be baptized? I should be baptized by you!”
15 Jesus answered, “Let it be this way for now. We should do whatever God says is right.” Then John agreed.
16 So Jesus was baptized. As soon as he came up out of the water, the sky opened, and he saw God’s Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 17 A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the one I love. I am very pleased with him.”
Matthew 3 New International Version (NIV)
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with[b] water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”