The beginning of the gospel about myself, the Son of God. 2It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” – 3“a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him’” 4And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9At that time I came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10As I was coming up out of the water, I saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on me like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
12At once the Spirit sent me out into the desert, 13and I was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. I was with the wild animals, and angels attended me.
14After John was put in prison, I went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15“The time has come,” I said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
16As I walked beside the Sea of Galilee, I saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17”Come, follow me,” I said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 18At once they left their nets and followed me.
19When I had gone a little farther, I saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets 20Without delay I called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed me.
21We went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, I went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at my teaching, because I taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24”What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”
25“Be quiet!” I said sternly. “Come out of him!” 26The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching – and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” 28News about me spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
29As soon as we left the synagogue we went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told me about her. 31So I went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on us.
32That evening after sunset the people brought to me all the sick and demon-possessed. 33The whole town gathered at the door, 34and I healed many who had various diseases. I also drove out many demons, but I would not let the demons speak because they knew who I was.
35Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, I got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where I prayed. 36Simon and his companions went to look for me, 37and when they found me, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
38I replied, “Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39So I traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
40A man with leprosy came to me and begged me on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
41Filled with compassion, I reached out my hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” I said. “Be clean!” 42Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
43I sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44”See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45Insetad he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, I could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to me from everywhere.