John the Baptist Prepares the Way
1This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began 2just as the prophet Isaiah had written:
“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way.
3He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”
4This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. 5All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 6His clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey.
7John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”
The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus
9One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
12The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, 13where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
14Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15“The time promised by God has come at last!”he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
The First Disciples
16One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 17Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 18And they left their nets at once and followed him.
19A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. 20He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.
Jesus Casts Out an Evil Spirit
21Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law.
23Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, 24“Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.
27Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.
Jesus Heals Many People
29After Jesus left the synagogue with James and John, they went to Simon and Andrew’s home. 30Now Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. 31So he went to her bedside, took her by the hand, and helped her sit up. Then the fever left her, and she prepared a meal for them.
32That evening after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. 33The whole town gathered at the door to watch. 34So Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases, and he cast out many demons. But because the demons knew who he was, he did not allow them to speak.
Jesus Preaches in Galilee
35Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. 36Later Simon and the others went out to find him. 37When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
38But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” 39So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.
Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy
40A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said.
41Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. 43Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: 44“Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
45But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him.
The NEW LIVING TRANSLATION (NLT)