31At that time John the Baptist came to the desert of Judah and started preaching. 2
“Turn away from your sins,” he said, “because the Kingdom of heaven is near!” 3
John was the man the prophet Isaiah was talking about when he said:
“Someone is shouting in the desert,
‘Prepare a road for the Lord;
make a straight path for him to travel!’ ”
John's clothes were made of camel's hair; he wore a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5People came to him from Jerusalem, from the whole province of Judea, and from all the country near the River Jordan. 6They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan.
When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him to be baptized, he said to them, “You snakes — who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send? 8Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins. 9
And don't think you can escape punishment by saying that Abraham is your ancestor. I tell you that God can take these stones and make descendants for Abraham! 10
The axe is ready to cut down the trees at the roots; every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire. 11I baptize you with water to show that you have repented, but the one who will come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. He is much greater than I am; and I am not good enough even to carry his sandals. 12He has his winnowing shovel with him to thresh out all the grain. He will gather his wheat into his barn, but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out.”
13At that time Jesus arrived from Galilee and came to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14But John tried to make him change his mind. “I ought to be baptized by you,” John said, “and yet you have come to me!”
15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so for now. For in this way we shall do all that God requires.” So John agreed.
16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and alighting on him. 17
Then a voice said from heaven, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased.”
Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the Devil. 2After spending forty days and nights without food, Jesus was hungry. 3Then the Devil came to him and said, “If you are God's Son, order these stones to turn into bread.”
But Jesus answered, “The scripture says, ‘Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every word that God speaks.’ ”
5Then the Devil took Jesus to Jerusalem, the Holy City, set him on the highest point of the Temple, 6
and said to him, “If you are God's Son, throw yourself down, for the scripture says:
‘God will give orders to his angels about you;
they will hold you up with their hands,
so that not even your feet will be hurt on the stones.’ ”
Jesus answered, “But the scripture also says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
8Then the Devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in all their greatness. 9“All this I will give you,” the Devil said, “if you kneel down and worship me.”
Then Jesus answered, “Go away, Satan! The scripture says, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!’ ”
11Then the Devil left Jesus; and angels came and helped him.
When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he went away to Galilee. 13
He did not stay in Nazareth, but went to live in Capernaum, a town by Lake Galilee, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14This was done to make what the prophet Isaiah had said come true:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
on the road to the sea, on the other side of the Jordan,
Galilee, land of the Gentiles!
16The people who live in darkness
will see a great light.
On those who live in the dark land of death
the light will shine.”
From that time Jesus began to preach his message: “Turn away from your sins, because the Kingdom of heaven is near!”
18As Jesus walked along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two brothers who were fishermen, Simon (called Peter) and his brother Andrew, catching fish in the lake with a net. 19Jesus said to them, “Come with me, and I will teach you to catch people.” 20At once they left their nets and went with him.
21He went on and saw two other brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in their boat with their father Zebedee, getting their nets ready. Jesus called them, 22and at once they left the boat and their father, and went with him.
Jesus went all over Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the Good News about the Kingdom, and healing people who had all kinds of disease and sickness. 24The news about him spread through the whole country of Syria, so that people brought to him all those who were sick, suffering from all kinds of diseases and disorders: people with demons, and epileptics, and paralytics — and Jesus healed them all. 25Large crowds followed him from Galilee and the Ten Towns, from Jerusalem, Judea, and the land on the other side of the Jordan.
51Jesus saw the crowds and went up a hill, where he sat down. His disciples gathered round him, 2and he began to teach them:
3“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor;
the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
Happy are those who mourn;
God will comfort them!
Happy are those who are humble;
they will receive what God has promised!
Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires;
God will satisfy them fully!
7Happy are those who are merciful to others;
God will be merciful to them!
Happy are the pure in heart;
they will see God!
9Happy are those who work for peace;
God will call them his children!
Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires;
the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
“Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers. 12
Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted.
13“You are like salt for the whole human race. But if salt loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again. It has become worthless, so it is thrown out and people trample on it.
“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15
No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead he puts it on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. 16
In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.
17“Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets. I have not come to do away with them, but to make their teachings come true. 18
Remember that as long as heaven and earth last, not the least point nor the smallest detail of the Law will be done away with — not until the end of all things.5.18 the end of all things; or all its teachings come true. 19So then, whoever disobeys even the least important of the commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be least in the Kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys the Law and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the Kingdom of heaven. 20I tell you, then, that you will be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven only if you are more faithful than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees in doing what God requires.
“You have heard that people were told in the past, ‘Do not commit murder; anyone who does will be brought to trial.’ 22But now I tell you: whoever is angry5.22 whoever is angry; some manuscripts have whoever without cause is angry. with his brother will be brought to trial, whoever calls his brother ‘You good-for-nothing!’ will be brought before the Council, and whoever calls his brother a worthless fool will be in danger of going to the fire of hell. 23So if you are about to offer your gift to God at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God.
25“If someone brings a lawsuit against you and takes you to court, settle the dispute with him while there is time, before you get to court. Once you are there, he will hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the police, and you will be put in jail. 26There you will stay, I tell you, until you pay the last penny of your fine.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28But now I tell you: anyone who looks at a woman and wants to possess her is guilty of committing adultery with her in his heart. 29
So if your right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose a part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell. 30
If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose one of your limbs than for your whole body to go to hell.
“It was also said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce.’ 32
But now I tell you: if a man divorces his wife, for any cause other than her unfaithfulness, then he is guilty of making her commit adultery if she marries again; and the man who marries her commits adultery also.
“You have also heard that people were told in the past, ‘Do not break your promise, but do what you have vowed to the Lord to do.’ 34
But now I tell you: do not use any vow when you make a promise. Do not swear by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35
nor by earth, for it is the resting place for his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36Do not even swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. 37Just say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ — anything else you say comes from the Evil One.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too. 40And if someone takes you to court to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well. 41And if one of the occupation troops forces you to carry his pack one kilometre, carry it two kilometres. 42When someone asks you for something, give it to him; when someone wants to borrow something, lend it to him.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’ 44But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. 46Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! 47And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that! 48
You must be perfect — just as your Father in heaven is perfect!