The Preaching of John the Baptist
1The beginning of the [facts regarding the] good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2As it is written and forever remains in the [writings of the] prophet Isaiah:
“Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way—
3A voice of one shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight!’ ”
4John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins [that is, requiring a change of one’s old way of thinking, turning away from sin and seeking God and His righteousness]. 5And all the country of Judea and all the people of Jerusalem were continually going out to him; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. 6John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a [wide] leather band around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7And he was preaching, saying, “After me comes He who is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I, and I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the straps of His sandals [even as His slave]. 8As for me, I baptized you [who came to me] with water [only]; but He will baptize you [who truly repent] with the Holy Spirit.”
The Baptism of Jesus
9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10Immediately coming up out of the water, he (John) saw the heavens torn open, and the Spirit like a dove descending on Him (Jesus); 11and a voice came out of heaven saying: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased and delighted!”
12Immediately the [Holy] Spirit forced Him out into the wilderness. 13He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted [to do evil] by Satan; and He was with the wild animals, and the angels ministered continually to Him.
Jesus Preaches in Galilee
14Now after John [the Baptist] was arrested and taken into custody, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of [the kingdom of] God, 15and saying, “The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life] and believe [with a deep, abiding trust] in the good news [regarding salvation].”
16As Jesus was walking by the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon [Peter] and Simon’s brother, Andrew, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men.” 18Immediately they left their nets and followed Him [becoming His disciples, believing and trusting in Him and following His example]. 19Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, who were also in the boat mending and cleaning the nets. 20Immediately Jesus called to them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers, and went away to follow Him [becoming His disciples, believing and trusting in Him and following His example].
21They went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22They were completely amazed at His teaching; because He was teaching them as one having [God-given] authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out [terribly from the depths of his throat], 24saying, “What business do You have with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” 25Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet (muzzled, silenced), and come out of him!” 26The unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions, and screeching with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all so amazed that they debated and questioned each other, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits (demons), and they obey Him.” 28Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere throughout the district surrounding Galilee.
Healing the Crowds
29And immediately they left the synagogue and went into the house of Simon [Peter] and Andrew, accompanied by James and John. 30Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they told Him about her. 31Jesus went to her, and taking her by the hand, raised her up; and the fever left her, and she began to serve them [as her guests].
32Now when evening came, after the sun had set [and the Sabbath Day had ended, in a steady stream] they were bringing to Him all who were sick and those who were under the power of demons, 33until the whole city had gathered together at the door. 34And Jesus healed many who were suffering with various diseases; and He drove out many demons, but would not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him [recognizing Him as the Son of God].
35Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there. 36Simon [Peter] and his companions searched [everywhere, looking anxiously] for Him, 37and they found Him and said, “Everybody is looking for You!” 38He replied, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so I may preach there also; that is why I came [from the Father].” 39So He went throughout Galilee, preaching [the gospel] in their synagogues and casting out demons.
40And a leper came to Him, begging Him and falling on his knees before Him, saying, “If You are willing, You are able to make me clean.” 41Moved with compassion [for his suffering], Jesus reached out with His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42The leprosy left him immediately and he was cleansed [completely healed and restored to health]. 43And Jesus [deeply moved] admonished him sternly and sent him away immediately, 44saying to him, “See that you tell no one anything [about this]; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your purification what Moses commanded, as proof to them [that you are really healed].” 45But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news [of his healing], to such an extent that Jesus could no longer openly enter a city [where He was known], but stayed out in the unpopulated places; yet people were still coming to Him from everywhere.