1 Now 1 many have undertaken to compile an account 2 of the things 3 that have been fulfilled 4 among us, 2 like the accounts 5 passed on 6 to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word 7 from the beginning. 8 3 So 9 it seemed good to me as well, 10 because I have followed 11 all things carefully from the beginning, to write an orderly account 12 for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know for certain 13 the things you were taught. 14
5 During the reign 15 of Herod 16 king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah who belonged to 17 the priestly division of Abijah, 18 and he had a wife named Elizabeth, 19 who was a descendant of Aaron. 20 6 They 21 were both righteous in the sight of God, following 22 all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. 23 7 But they did not have a child, because Elizabeth was barren, 24 and they were both very old. 25
8 Now 26 while Zechariah 27 was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 28 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, 29 to enter 30 the holy place 31 of the Lord and burn incense. 10 Now 32 the whole crowd 33 of people were praying outside at the hour of the incense offering. 34 11 An 35 angel of the Lord, 36 standing on the right side of the altar of incense, appeared 37 to him. 12 And Zechariah, visibly shaken when he saw the angel, 38 was seized with fear. 39 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, 40 and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son; you 41 will name him John. 42 14 Joy and gladness will come 43 to you, and many will rejoice at 44 his birth, 45 15 for he will be great in the sight of 46 the Lord. He 47 must never drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 48 16 He 49 will turn 50 many of the people 51 of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go as forerunner before the Lord 52 in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, 53 to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.”
18 Zechariah 54 said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? 55 For I am an old man, and my wife is old as well.” 56 19 The 57 angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands 58 in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring 59 you this good news. 20 And now, 60 because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, 61 you will be silent, unable to speak, 62 until the day these things take place.”
21 Now 63 the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they began to wonder 64 why he was delayed in the holy place. 65 22 When 66 he came out, he was not able to speak to them. They 67 realized that he had seen a vision 68 in the holy place, 69 because 70 he was making signs to them and remained unable to speak. 71 23 When his time of service was over, 72 he went to his home.
24 After some time 73 his wife Elizabeth became pregnant, 74 and for five months she kept herself in seclusion. 75 She said, 76 25 “This is what 77 the Lord has done for me at the time 78 when he has been gracious to me, 79 to take away my disgrace 80 among people.” 81
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 82 the angel Gabriel 83 was sent by 84 God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 85 27 to a virgin engaged 86 to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of David, 87 and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The 88 angel 89 came 90 to her and said, “Greetings, favored one, 91 the Lord is with you!” 92 29 But 93 she was greatly troubled 94 by his words and began to wonder about the meaning of this greeting. 95 30 So 96 the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, 97 Mary, for you have found favor 98 with God! 31 Listen: 99 You will become pregnant 100 and give birth to 101 a son, and you will name him 102 Jesus. 103 32 He 104 will be great, 105 and will be called the Son of the Most High, 106 and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father 107 David. 33 He 108 will reign over the house of Jacob 109 forever, and his kingdom will never end.” 34 Mary 110 said to the angel, “How will this be, since I have not had sexual relations with 111 a man?” 35 The angel replied, 112 “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow 113 you. Therefore the child 114 to be born 115 will be holy; 116 he will be called the Son of God.
36 “And look, 117 your relative 118 Elizabeth has also become pregnant with 119 a son in her old age – although she was called barren, she is now in her sixth month! 120 37 For nothing 121 will be impossible with God.” 38 So 122 Mary said, “Yes, 123 I am a servant 124 of the Lord; let this happen to me 125 according to your word.” 126 Then 127 the angel departed from her.
39 In those days 128 Mary got up and went hurriedly into the hill country, to a town of Judah, 129 40 and entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When 130 Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped 131 in her 132 womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 133 42 She 134 exclaimed with a loud voice, 135 “Blessed are you among women, 136 and blessed is the child 137 in your womb! 43 And who am I 138 that the mother of my Lord should come and visit me? 44 For the instant 139 the sound of your greeting reached my ears, 140 the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 141 45 And blessed 142 is she who believed that 143 what was spoken to her by 144 the Lord would be fulfilled.” 145
46 And Mary 146 said, 147
“My soul exalts 148 the Lord, 149
47 and my spirit has begun to rejoice 150 in God my Savior,
48 because he has looked upon the humble state of his servant. 151
For 152 from now on 153 all generations will call me blessed, 154
49 because he who is mighty 155 has done great things for me, and holy is his name;
50 from 156 generation to generation he is merciful 157 to those who fear 158 him.
51 He has demonstrated power 159 with his arm; he has scattered those whose pride wells up from the sheer arrogance 160 of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the mighty 161 from their thrones, and has lifted up those of lowly position; 162
53 he has filled the hungry with good things, 163 and has sent the rich away empty. 164
54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering 165 his mercy, 166
55 as he promised 167 to our ancestors, 168 to Abraham and to his descendants 169 forever.”
56 So 170 Mary stayed with Elizabeth 171 about three months 172 and then returned to her home.
57 Now the time came 173 for Elizabeth to have her baby, 174 and she gave birth to a son. 58 Her 175 neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown 176 great mercy to her, and they rejoiced 177 with her.
59 On 178 the eighth day 179 they came to circumcise the child, and they wanted to name 180 him Zechariah after his father. 60 But 181 his mother replied, 182 “No! He must be named 183 John.” 184 61 They 185 said to her, “But 186 none of your relatives bears this name.” 187 62 So 188 they made signs to the baby’s 189 father, 190 inquiring what he wanted to name his son. 191 63 He 192 asked for a writing tablet 193 and wrote, 194 “His name is John.” And they were all amazed. 195 64 Immediately 196 Zechariah’s 197 mouth was opened and his tongue 198 released, 199 and he spoke, blessing God. 65 All 200 their neighbors were filled with fear, and throughout the entire hill country of Judea all these things were talked about. 66 All 201 who heard these things 202 kept them in their hearts, 203 saying, “What then will this child be?” 204 For the Lord’s hand 205 was indeed with him.
67 Then 206 his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, 207
68 “Blessed 208 be the Lord God of Israel,
because he has come to help 209 and has redeemed 210 his people.
69 For 211 he has raised up 212 a horn of salvation 213 for us in the house of his servant David, 214
70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from long ago, 215
71 that we should be saved 216 from our enemies, 217
and from the hand of all who hate us.
72 He has done this 218 to show mercy 219 to our ancestors, 220
and to remember his holy covenant 221 –
73 the oath 222 that he swore to our ancestor 223 Abraham.
This oath grants 224
74 that we, being rescued from the hand of our 225 enemies,
may serve him without fear, 226
75 in holiness and righteousness 227 before him for as long as we live. 228
76 And you, child, 229 will be called the prophet 230 of the Most High. 231
For you will go before 232 the Lord to prepare his ways, 233
77 to give his people knowledge of salvation 234 through the forgiveness 235 of their sins.
78 Because of 236 our God’s tender mercy 237
the dawn 238 will break 239 upon us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 240
to guide our feet into the way 241 of peace.”
80 And the child kept growing 242 and becoming strong 243 in spirit, and he was in the wilderness 244 until the day he was revealed 245 to Israel.