11-4 So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught.
A Childless Couple Conceives
5-7 During the rule of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest assigned service in the regiment of Abijah. His name was Zachariah. His wife was descended from the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God. But they were childless because Elizabeth could never conceive, and now they were quite old.
8-12 It so happened that as Zachariah was carrying out his priestly duties before God, working the shift assigned to his regiment, it came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense. The congregation was gathered and praying outside the Temple at the hour of the incense offering. Unannounced, an angel of God appeared just to the right of the altar of incense. Zachariah was paralyzed in fear.
13-15 But the angel reassured him, “Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John. You’re going to leap like a gazelle for joy, and not only you—many will delight in his birth. He’ll achieve great stature with God.
15-17 “He’ll drink neither wine nor beer. He’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he leaves his mother’s womb. He will turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God. He will herald God’s arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parents to children, and kindle devout understanding among hardened skeptics—he’ll get the people ready for God.”
18 Zachariah said to the angel, “Do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is an old woman.”
19-20 But the angel said, “I am Gabriel, the sentinel of God, sent especially to bring you this glad news. But because you won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of your son’s birth. Every word I’ve spoken to you will come true on time—God’s time.”
21-22 Meanwhile, the congregation waiting for Zachariah was getting restless, wondering what was keeping him so long in the sanctuary. When he came out and couldn’t speak, they knew he had seen a vision. He continued speechless and had to use sign language with the people.
23-25 When the course of his priestly assignment was completed, he went back home. It wasn’t long before his wife, Elizabeth, conceived. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy. “So, this is how God acts to remedy my unfortunate condition!” she said.
A Virgin Conceives
26-28 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.
29-33 She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.
He will be great,
be called ‘Son of the Highest.’
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob’s house forever—
no end, ever, to his kingdom.”
34 Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”
35 The angel answered,
The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
the power of the Highest hover over you;
Therefore, the child you bring to birth
will be called Holy, Son of God.
36-38 “And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”
And Mary said,
Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.
Then the angel left her.
Blessed Among Women
39-45 Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly,
You’re so blessed among women,
and the babe in your womb, also blessed!
And why am I so blessed that
the mother of my Lord visits me?
The moment the sound of your
greeting entered my ears,
The babe in my womb
skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.
Blessed woman, who believed what God said,
believed every word would come true!
46-55 And Mary said,
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home.
The Birth of John
57-58 When Elizabeth was full-term in her pregnancy, she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives, seeing that God had overwhelmed her with mercy, celebrated with her.
59-60 On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child and were calling him Zachariah after his father. But his mother intervened: “No. He is to be called John.”
61-62 “But,” they said, “no one in your family is named that.” They used sign language to ask Zachariah what he wanted him named.
63-64 Asking for a tablet, Zachariah wrote, “His name is to be John.” That took everyone by surprise. Surprise followed surprise—Zachariah’s mouth was now open, his tongue loose, and he was talking, praising God!
65-66 A deep, reverential fear settled over the neighborhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else. Everyone who heard about it took it to heart, wondering, “What will become of this child? Clearly, God has his hand in this.”
67-79 Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied,
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he came and set his people free.
He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives,
and in the very house of David his servant,
Just as he promised long ago
through the preaching of his holy prophets:
Deliverance from our enemies
and every hateful hand;
Mercy to our fathers,
as he remembers to do what he said he’d do,
What he swore to our father Abraham—
a clean rescue from the enemy camp,
So we can worship him without a care in the world,
made holy before him as long as we live.
And you, my child, “Prophet of the Highest,”
will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways,
Present the offer of salvation to his people,
the forgiveness of their sins.
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God,
God’s Sunrise will break in upon us,
Shining on those in the darkness,
those sitting in the shadow of death,
Then showing us the way, one foot at a time,
down the path of peace.
80 The child grew up, healthy and spirited. He lived out in the desert until the day he made his prophetic debut in Israel.
1 1 0Wakati alipokuwa akifukiza uvumba umati mkubwa wa watu walikuwa nje wakiomba. 2 wakitumia maelezo ya wale wal ioshuhudia mambo haya kwa macho yao na wale waliotabiri habari hizo. 3 Lakini, mimi pia, nimezichunguza habari hizi kuanzia mwanzo. Nami nimeona ni vema nikuandikie kwa mpango, muhtasari huu, 4 ili upate kuwa na hakika ya mambo yote uliyofundishwa.
Utabiri Kuhusu Yohana Mbatizaji
5 Historia ya mambo haya ilianzia katika jamaa ya kuhani mmoja Myahudi aliyeitwa Zakaria. Yeye aliishi wakati Herode ali pokuwa mfalme wa Yudea na alihudumu katika kikundi cha ukuhani cha Abia. Mkewe Zakaria aliitwa Elizabeti naye alikuwa wa ukoo wa kuhani Aroni. 6 Zakaria na Elizabeti walikuwa watu wenye kumcha Mungu, wakitii amri zake zote na kutimiza maagizo yake yote kika milifu. 7 Lakini hawakuwa na watoto, maana Elizabeti alikuwa tasa; na wote wawili walishapita umri wa kuzaa. 8-9 Siku moja, kikundi cha Zakaria kilikuwa na zamu Hekaluni na Zakaria alikuwa anafanya huduma yake ya ukuhani kwa Mungu. Walipopiga kura, kama ilivyokuwa desturi, ili wamchague atakayeingia kufukiza uvumba madhabahuni, Zakaria alichaguliwa. 11 Ghafla, malaika wa Bwana akamtokea Zakaria. Akasimama upande wa kulia wa madhabahu ya kufukizia uvumba. 12 Zakaria alipomwona huyo mal aika alishtuka akajawa na hofu.
13 Lakini malaika akamwambia, “Usiogope, Zakaria! Kwa maana Mungu amesikia maombi yako, na mkeo Elizabeti atakuzalia mtoto wa kiume, na jina lake utamwita Yohana. 14 Nawe utakuwa na furaha kubwa moyoni wakati huo na watu wengi watashangilia kuzaliwa kwake. 15 Kwa sababu atakuwa mkuu mbele za Bwana, hataonja divai wala kinywaji cho chote cha kulevya; atajazwa Roho Mtakatifu hata kabla ya kuzaliwa kwake. 16 Naye atawavuta Wayahudi wengi warudi kwa Bwana, Mungu wao. 17 Yeye atamtangulia Bwana akiongozwa na Roho na nguvu ya nabii Eliya. Atawapatanisha akina baba na watoto wao. Atawarejesha waasi katika njia ya wenye haki na kuandaa watu wa Bwana kwa ajili ya kuja kwake.” 18 Zakaria akamwambia mal aika, “Jambo hilo linawezekanaje? Mimi ni mzee na mke wangu pia ana umri mkubwa!” 19 Malaika akamjibu, akamwambia, “Mimi ni Gabrieli, nisimamaye mbele za Mungu. Yeye ndiye aliyenituma kwako nikuambie habari hizi njema. 20 Sikiliza! Kwa sababu huku niamini, utakuwa bubu, hutaweza kusema mpaka maneno yangu yataka pothibitishwa wakati mtoto huyo atakapozaliwa.” 21 Wakati mambo haya yakitokea mle Hekaluni, watu waliokuwa nje wakimngojea Zakaria walikuwa wakishangaa kwa nini alikawia kutoka. 22 Hati maye alipotoka hakuweza kusema nao. Wakatambua ya kuwa ameona maono ndani ya Hekalu. Kwa kuwa alikuwa bubu, akawaashiria kwa mikono. 23 Muda wake wa zamu Hekaluni ulipomalizika, akarudi nyumbani kwake. 24 Kisha baada ya muda si mrefu, Elizabeti mkewe alipata mimba, naye akajificha kwa miezi mitano akisema: 25 “Bwana amekuwa mwema kwangu. Maana ameniondolea aibu yangu mbele za watu.”
Kuzaliwa Kwa Yesu Kwatabiriwa
26 Miezi sita baada ya Elizabeti kupata mimba, Mungu alim tuma malaika Gabrieli aende katika mji wa Nazareti, ulioko Gali laya, 27 kwa msichana bikira aliyeitwa Mariamu. Yeye alikuwa ameposwa na mtu mmoja aliyeitwa Yusufu, wa ukoo wa Mfalme Daudi.
28 Malaika Gabrieli alimtokea Mariamu, akamwambia: “Sal aamu, ewe binti uliyebarikiwa, Bwana yu pamoja nawe!”
29 Mariamu alifadhaishwa sana na maneno haya, akajiuliza moyoni, maana ya salamu hizi ni nini. 30 Ndipo malaika akamwam bia, “Usiogope, Mariamu, Mungu amependezwa nawe. 31 Sikiliza, utapata mimba, nawe utazaa mtoto wa kiume; na utamwita jina lake Yesu. 32 Mtoto huyo atakuwa mkuu na ataitwa Mwana wa Aliye Juu. Na Bwana Mungu atampa kiti cha enzi cha Mfalme Daudi, baba yake. 33 Atatawala juu ya nyumba ya Yakobo daima; na ufalme wake hau takuwa na mwisho!”
34 Mariamu akamwuliza malaika, “Lakini, nitapataje mimba, na mimi ni bikira?” 35 Malaika akamjibu, “Roho Mtakatifu ata kujilia na nguvu za Mungu zitakufunika kama kivuli, na kwa hiyo mtoto atakayezaliwa atakuwa mtakatifu na ataitwa Mwana wa Mungu. 36 Tena, miezi sita iliyopita binamu yako Elizabeti, aliyeitwa tasa, amepata mimba ingawa ni mzee sana. 37 Kwa maana kwa Mungu hakuna lisilo wezekana.”
38 Mariamu akasema, “Mimi ni mtumishi wa Bwana. Na iwe kwangu kama ulivyosema.’ ’ Kisha malaika akaondoka.
Mariamu Aenda Kumtembelea Elizabeti
39 , 40 Baada ya siku chache, Mariamu aliharakisha kwenda mji mmoja katika milima ya Yudea. Akaingia nyumbani kwa Zakaria akamsalimu Elizabeti. 41 Naye aliposikia salaamu za Mariamu, mtoto aliyekuwa tumboni mwake aliruka. Elizabeti akajazwa na Roho Mtakatifu, 42 akasema kwa sauti kubwa: “Umebarikiwa wewe zaidi ya wanawake wengine wote, naye mtoto utakayemzaa amebari kiwa. 43 Sikustahili heshima hii ya kutembelewa na mama wa Bwana wangu! 44 Mara tu niliposikia salaamu zako, mtoto aliyeko tum boni mwangu aliruka kwa furaha. 45 Wewe umebarikiwa kwa kuwa uliamini kwamba Bwana atatimiza yale aliyokuambia.” 46 Mariamu akasema: “Namtukuza Bwana, 47 na roho yangu inamfurahia Mungu Mwokozi wangu. 48 Kwa kuwa ameutambua unyonge wa mtumishi wake. Tangu sasa vizazi vyote wataniita niliyebarikiwa. 49 Kwa maana, yeye Mwenye Uwezo, amenitendea mambo ya ajabu! Jina lake ni taka tifu. 50 Rehema zake hudumu vizazi hata vizazi kwao wamchao. 51 Kwa mkono wake ametenda mambo makuu. Wenye kiburi mioyoni mwao amewatawanya. 52 Amewaangusha wafalme kutoka katika viti vyao vya enzi na kuwainua wanyonge. 53 Amewashibisha wenye njaa kwa vitu vizuri na matajiri amewafukuza mikono mitupu. 54 Amem saidia mtumishi wake Israeli, akiikumbuka rehema yake, 55 kama alivyowaahidi baba zetu Ibrahimu na uzao wake daima.” 56 Mar iamu akakaa na Elizabeti karibu miezi mitatu, kisha akarudi nyum bani kwake.
Kuzaliwa Kwa Yohana Mbatizaji
57 Ikawa siku za kujifungua kwake Elizabeti zilipotimia, alizaa mtoto wa kiume . 58 Habari zikawafikia majirani na jamaa jinsi Bwana alivyomfanyia rehema kuu. Nao wakafurahi pamoja naye. 59 Mtoto alipokuwa na umri wa siku nane, watu wakaja kuhudhuria tohara yake. Wote wakataka wampe yule mtoto jina la Zakaria, yaani jina la baba yake. 60 Lakini mama yake akakataa na kusema, “La si hilo. Jina lake litakuwa Yohana.” 61 Wakamjibu, “Mbona hakuna mtu katika jamaa yako mwenye jina kama hilo?” 62 Basi wakaamua kumwuliza Zakaria kwa ishara kwamba yeye angependa mtoto aitwe nani. 63 Akaomba mahali pa kuandikia, naye akaandika: “Jina lake ni Yohana.” Watu wote wakastaajabu. 64 Papo hapo uwezo wa kusema ukamrudia Zakaria naye akaanza kumsifu Mungu. 65 Watu wote walioshuhudia jambo hili wakastaajabu mno, na habari hii ikaenea sehemu zote za wilaya ile ya Yudea. 66 Na kila aliyezisikia habari hizi aliwaza moyoni: “Je, mtoto huyu atakuwa mtu wa namna gani?” Maana, hakika mkono wa Bwana ulikuwa pamoja naye.
Utabiri Wa Zakaria
67 Zakaria, baba yake, akajazwa na Roho Mtakatifu, naye akata biri akisema: 68 “Atukuzwe Bwana, Mungu wa Israeli, kwa kuwa amewajia watu wake ili awakomboe. 69 Naye ametusimamishia nguvu ya wokovu katika ukoo wa Daudi mtumishi wake; 70 kama alivy oahidi kwa vinywa vya manabii wake watakatifu tangu zamani: 71 kwamba atatuokoa na maadui zetu na kututoa kutoka katika mikono ya wote watuchukiao. 72 Aliahidi ataonyesha rehema kwa baba zetu na kukumbuka agano lake takatifu 73 aliloagana na baba yetu Ibrahimu: 74 kutuokoa kutoka katika mikono ya adui zetu na kutuwezesha kumtumikia pasipo woga, 75 katika utakatifu na haki mbele zake, siku zetu zote. 76 Na wewe mwanangu, utaitwa nabii wa Aliye Juu, kwa kuwa utamtangulia Bwana na kumwandalia njia; 77 na kuwafahamisha watu wake juu ya wokovu utakaopatikana kwa kusamehewa dhambi zao, 78 kwa ajili ya wingi wa rehema za Mungu wetu. Nuru ya jua itatujia kutoka mbinguni na 79 kuwaangazia wote waishio katika giza na katika uvuli wa mauti na kuiongoza miguu yetu katika njia ya amani.” 80 Yule mtoto akakua na kuko maa kiroho; akaishi nyikani hadi alipoanza kuwahubiria Waisraeli hadharani.