1 THE BEGINNING [of the facts] of the good news (the Gospel) of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 Just as it is written in the prophet Isaiah: Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will make ready Your way-- 3 A voice of one crying in the wilderness [shouting in the desert], Prepare the way of the Lord, make His beaten tracks straight (level and passable)! 4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness (desert), preaching a baptism [ obligating] repentance ( a change of one's mind for the better, heartily amending one's ways, with abhorrence of his past sins) in order to obtain forgiveness of and release from sins. 5 And there kept going out to him [continuously] all the country of Judea and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, as they were confessing their sins. 6 And John wore clothing woven of camel's hair and had a leather girdle around his loins and ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, After me comes He Who is stronger (more powerful and more valiant) than I, the strap of Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to stoop down and unloose. 8 I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.