Introduction1Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an orderly account about the things that have been fulfilled among us,
just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word passed them on to us,
it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus,
so that you can come to fully know the certainty of the things about which you have been told.
Birth of John the Baptist Foretold5In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zechariah, of the priestly division of Abijah, and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
6And they were both righteous before God, walking without blame in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.
7But they had no child because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were advanced in their days.
8Now it came to pass, while he was serving as a priest in his division’s turn before God,
9he went into the sanctuary of the Lord, having been chosen by lot (according to the custom of the priesthood) to burn the incense offering,
10and the whole multitude of the Peoplea were praying outside at the hour of incense.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
And Zechariah was startled when he saw him
, and fear fell on him.
13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your supplication has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will call his name John.
And there will be joy and jubilation for you, and many will rejoice at his birth,
15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. And he must not ever drink wine or beer, and he will be filled with holy spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God,
17and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children,b and the disobedient to the good sense of the righteous, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.”
18And Zechariah said to the angel, “By what sign will I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in her days.”
And the angel, answering, said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.
20And Look!, you will be silent and not able to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the sanctuary.
And when he came out, he was not able to speak to them. And they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary; and he kept making signs to them, and remained unable to speak.
And it came to pass when the days of his priestly service were completed, he departed to his house.
And after these days Elizabeth his wife conceived, and she hid herself five months, saying,
“The Lord has done this for me. He has looked with favor in these days to take away my disgrace among people.”
The Birth of Jesus Foretold26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
to a virgin who was betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28And coming to her he said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you!”
But she was greatly perplexed at the saying, and tried to discern what kind of greeting this might be.
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31And Look!, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and will call his name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, seeing I am not knowingc
35And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and for that reason the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
36And Look!, your relative Elizabeth, she also has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
37For nothing will be impossible with God.”
38And Mary said, “Lo!, I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth39In those days Mary got up and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
and went into the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
41And it came to pass when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit
and cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how is this happening
to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44For Look!, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
45And blessed is she who believed, because there will be a fulfillment of the things that have been spoken to her from the Lord.”
Mary's Song (The Magnificat)46And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
48because he has looked upon the low estate of his servant. For Look!, from now on all generations will call me blessed,
49because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
50And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has done a mighty deed with his arm; he has scattered those who are
proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52He has pulled down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the humble.
53He has filled the hungry with good things, and he has sent the rich away empty.
54He helped his servant Israel, remembering his mercy
to Abraham and his seed for ever, just as he said to our fathers.”
And Mary stayed with her about three months, and returned to her house.
The Birth of John the Baptist57
Now Elizabeth’s time was fulfilled for her to give birth, and she bore a son.
And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy towards her, and they were rejoicing with her.
And it came to pass on the eighth day that they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zechariah, after the name of the father.
And his mother answered and said, “No! He will be called John.”
And they said to her, “None of your relatives are called by that name.”
And they motioned to his father, as to
what he wanted him called.
And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” And they all were amazed.
And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed
, and he spoke, praising God.
And fear came on all who lived around them, and all these things were talked about throughout all the hill country of Judea.
And everyone who heard laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child become?” For indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
Zechariah's Prophecy (Benedictus)67And his father Zechariah was filled with holy spirit and prophesied, saying,
68“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited us and brought about redemption for his people,
and he has raised a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
70just as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times;
salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
72to show mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to Abraham our father,
to grant to us that we, having been rescued out of the hand of our enemies, can serve him without fear,
75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77to give the knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins
78because of the bowels of mercies of our God, by which the Rising Sun from on high will visit us,
79to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.