Scripture for the day:
Thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, who formed you, O Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
For you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your scattered children from the east,
and from the west I will gather you;
I will say to the north, "Give back those you have taken away,"
and to the south, "Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away,
my daughters from the end of the earth,
every child that was taken from me--
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod Antipas was ruler of Galilee, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah while he was in the wilderness. He traveled through all the region around the Jordan River, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make God’s paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made level,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all people shall see the salvation of God.’”
John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We are safe, for we have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God could raise up children of Abraham from these river stones. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
And the crowds asked him, “Then what should we do?” He answered, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”
The people’s hearts were full of expectation, wondering if John might be the Messiah. John answered all of them, saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him, in a physical form that looked like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
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