1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that ahave been accomplished among us, 2 bjust as those who cfrom the beginning were deyewitnesses and eministers of fthe word ghave delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write han orderly account for you, imost excellent jTheophilus, 4 that you may have kcertainty concerning the things lyou have been taught.
Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
5 mIn the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah,1 nof othe division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both prighteous before God, walking qblamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because rElizabeth was barren, and sboth were advanced in years.
8 Now twhile he was serving as priest before God when uhis division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot vto enter wthe temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people xwere praying youtside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of zthe altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and afear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for byour prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and cyou shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will drejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be egreat before the Lord. And fhe must not drink wine or strong gdrink, and ghe will be hfilled with the Holy Spirit, ieven from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and jhe will go before him kin the spirit and power of Elijah, lto turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and mthe disobedient to the wisdom of the just, nto make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
18 And Zechariah said to the angel, o“How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am pGabriel. qI stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, ryou will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in sthe temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in sthe temple. And the kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And uwhen his time of vservice was ended, he went to his home.
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, wto take away my reproach among people.”
26 In the sixth month the angel xGabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named yNazareth, 27 zto a virgin betrothed2 to a man whose name was Joseph, aof the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, bO favored one, cthe Lord is with you!”3 29 But dshe was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for eyou have found favor with God. 31 And behold, fyou will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and gyou shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of hthe Most High. And the Lord God iwill give to him the throne of jhis father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob kforever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”4
35 And the angel answered her, l“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of hthe Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born5 will be called mholy—nthe Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her owho was called barren. 37 For pnothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant6 of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And qthe angel departed from her.
39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into rthe hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth swas filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, t“Blessed are you among women, and ublessed is vthe fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of wmy Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And xblessed is she who believed that there would be7 a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat
46 And Mary said,
y“My zsoul amagnifies the Lord,
47 band my zspirit rejoices in cGod my Savior,
48 for dhe has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations ewill call me blessed;
49 for fhe who is mighty ghas done great things for me,
and hholy is his name.
50 And ihis mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 jHe has shown strength with his arm;
khe has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 jhe has brought down the mighty from their thrones
land exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled mthe hungry with good things,
and the rich nhe has sent away empty.
54 He has ohelped phis servant Israel,
qin remembrance of his mercy,
55 ras he spoke to our fathers,
qto Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord shad shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And ton the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; uhe shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And vthey made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for wa writing tablet and wrote, u“His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 xAnd immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue yloosed, and he spoke, zblessing God. 65 And afear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all bthe hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them claid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For dthe hand of the Lord was with him.
67 And his father Zechariah ewas filled with the Holy Spirit and fprophesied, saying,
68 g“Blessed be the Lord hGod of Israel,
for he has ivisited and jredeemed his people
69 and khas raised up la horn of salvation for us
min the house of his servant David,
70 nas ohe spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 pthat we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 qto show the mercy promised to our fathers
and rto remember his holy scovenant,
73 tthe oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him uwithout fear,
75 vin holiness and righteousness before him wall our days.
76 And you, child, will be called xthe prophet of ythe Most High;
for zyou will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
ain the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the btender mercy of our God,
whereby cthe sunrise shall dvisit us8 efrom on high
79 to fgive light to gthose who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into hthe way of ipeace.”
80 jAnd the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was kin the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
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