Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, 2 in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. 3 And he came into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; 4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“The voice of one calling out in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight!
5 Every ravine will be filled,
And every mountain and hill will be lowered;
The crooked will become straight,
And the rough roads smooth;
6 And all flesh will see the salvation of God!’”
7 So he was saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore produce fruits that are consistent with repentance, and do not start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children for Abraham. 9 But indeed the axe is already being laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what are we to do?” 11 And he would answer and say to them, “The one who has two tunics is to share with the one who has none; and the one who has food is to do likewise.” 12 Now even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what are we to do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.” 14 And soldiers also were questioning him, saying, “What are we to do, we as well?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone, nor harass anyone, and be content with your wages.”
15 Now while the people were in a state of expectation and they all were thinking carefully in their hearts about John, whether he himself perhaps was the Christ, 16 John responded to them all, saying, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but He is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the straps of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
18 So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people. 19 But when Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by him regarding Herodias, his brother’s wife, and regarding all the evil things which Herod had done, 20 Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up in prison.