John the Baptizer
11-3 The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
Watch closely: I’m sending my preacher ahead of you;
He’ll make the road smooth for you.
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!
4-6 John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.
7-8 As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”
9-11 At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”
God’s Kingdom Is Here
12-13 At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.
14-15 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”
16-18 Passing along the beach of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew net-fishing. Fishing was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions. They dropped their nets and followed.
19-20 A dozen yards or so down the beach, he saw the brothers James and John, Zebedee’s sons. They were in the boat, mending their fishnets. Right off, he made the same offer. Immediately, they left their father Zebedee, the boat, and the hired hands, and followed.
21-22 Then they entered Capernaum. When the Sabbath arrived, Jesus lost no time in getting to the meeting place. He spent the day there teaching. They were surprised at his teaching—so forthright, so confident—not quibbling and quoting like the religion scholars.
23-24 Suddenly, while still in the meeting place, he was interrupted by a man who was deeply disturbed and yelling out, “What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you’re up to! You’re the Holy One of God, and you’ve come to destroy us!”
25-26 Jesus shut him up: “Quiet! Get out of him!” The afflicting spirit threw the man into spasms, protesting loudly—and got out.
27-28 Everyone there was incredulous, buzzing with curiosity. “What’s going on here? A new teaching that does what it says? He shuts up defiling, demonic spirits and sends them packing!” News of this traveled fast and was soon all over Galilee.
29-31 Directly on leaving the meeting place, they came to Simon and Andrew’s house, accompanied by James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed, burning up with fever. They told Jesus. He went to her, took her hand, and raised her up. No sooner had the fever left than she was up fixing dinner for them.
32-34 That evening, after the sun was down, they brought sick and evil-afflicted people to him, the whole city lined up at his door! He cured their sick bodies and tormented spirits. Because the demons knew his true identity, he didn’t let them say a word.
35-37 While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a secluded spot and prayed. Simon and those with him went looking for him. They found him and said, “Everybody’s looking for you.”
38-39 Jesus said, “Let’s go to the rest of the villages so I can preach there also. This is why I’ve come.” He went to their meeting places all through Galilee, preaching and throwing out the demons.
40 A leper came to him, begging on his knees, “If you want to, you can cleanse me.”
41-45 Deeply moved, Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there the leprosy was gone, his skin smooth and healthy. Jesus dismissed him with strict orders: “Say nothing to anyone. Take the offering for cleansing that Moses prescribed and present yourself to the priest. This will validate your healing to the people.” But as soon as the man was out of earshot, he told everyone he met what had happened, spreading the news all over town. So Jesus kept to out-of-the-way places, no longer able to move freely in and out of the city. But people found him, and came from all over.
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
1This is the beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. 2 Long ago Isaiah the prophet wrote,
“I will send my messenger ahead of you.
He will prepare your way.” (Malachi 3:1)
3 “A messenger is calling out in the desert,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord.
Make straight paths for him.’ ” (Isaiah 40:3)
4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the desert. He preached that people should be baptized and turn away from their sins. Then God would forgive them. 5 All the people from the countryside of Judea went out to him. All the people from Jerusalem went too. When they admitted they had sinned, John baptized them in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothes made out of camel’s hair. He had a leather belt around his waist. And he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 Here is what John was preaching. “After me, there is someone coming who is more powerful than I am. I’m not good enough to bend down and untie his sandals. 8 I baptize you with water. But he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus Is Baptized and Tempted
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee. John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. 10 Jesus was coming up out of the water. Just then he saw heaven being torn open. Jesus saw the Holy Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 11 A voice spoke to him from heaven. It said, “You are my Son, and I love you. I am very pleased with you.”
12 At once the Holy Spirit sent Jesus out into the desert. 13 He was in the desert 40 days. There Satan tempted him. The wild animals didn’t harm Jesus. Angels took care of him.
Jesus Preaches the Good News
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee. He preached the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Turn away from your sins and believe the good news!”
Jesus Chooses His First Disciples
16 One day Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee. There he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were throwing a net into the lake. They were fishermen. 17 “Come and follow me,” Jesus said. “I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
19 Then Jesus walked a little farther. As he did, he saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat preparing their nets. 20 Right away he called out to them. They left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men. Then they followed Jesus.
Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit
21 Jesus and those with him went to Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue. There he began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching. That’s because he taught them like one who had authority. He did not talk like the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue cried out. He was controlled by an evil spirit. He said, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are. You are the Holy One of God!”
25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus firmly. “Come out of him!” 26 The evil spirit shook the man wildly. Then it came out of him with a scream.
27 All the people were amazed. So they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching! And with so much authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits, and they obey him.” 28 News about Jesus spread quickly all over Galilee.
Jesus Heals Many People
29 Jesus and those with him left the synagogue. Right away they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was lying in bed with a fever. They told Jesus about her right away. 31 So he went to her. He took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her. Then she began to serve them.
32 That evening after sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who were sick. They also brought all who were controlled by demons. 33 All the people in town gathered at the door. 34 Jesus healed many of them. They had all kinds of sicknesses. He also drove out many demons. But he would not let the demons speak, because they knew who he was.
Jesus Prays in a Quiet Place
35 It was very early in the morning and still dark. Jesus got up and left the house. He went to a place where he could be alone. There he prayed. 36 Simon and his friends went to look for Jesus. 37 When they found him, they called out, “Everyone is looking for you!”
38 Jesus replied, “Let’s go somewhere else. I want to go to the nearby towns. I must preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled all around Galilee. He preached in their synagogues. He also drove out demons.
Jesus Heals a Man Who Had a Skin Disease
40 A man who had a skin disease came to Jesus. On his knees he begged Jesus. He said, “If you are willing to make me ‘clean,’ you can do it.”
41 Jesus became angry. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing to do it,” Jesus said. “Be ‘clean’!” 42 Right away the disease left the man, and he was “clean.”
43 Jesus sent him away at once. He gave the man a strong warning. 44 “Don’t tell this to anyone,” he said. “Go and show yourself to the priest. Offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded. It will be a witness to the priest and the people that you are ‘clean.’ ” 45 But the man went out and started talking right away. He spread the news to everyone. So Jesus could no longer enter a town openly. He stayed outside in lonely places. But people still came to him from everywhere.