Luke Writes an Orderly Report
1Many people have attempted to write about the things that have taken place among us. 2Reports of these things were handed down to us. There were people who saw these things for themselves from the beginning. They saw them and then passed the word on. 3With this in mind, I myself have carefully looked into everything from the beginning. So I also decided to write down an orderly report of exactly what happened. I am doing this for you, most excellent Theophilus. 4I want you to know that the things you have been taught are true.
The Coming Birth of John the Baptist
5Herod was king of Judea. During the time he was ruling, there was a priest named Zechariah. He belonged to a group of priests named after Abijah. His wife Elizabeth also came from the family line of Aaron. 6Both of them did what was right in the sight of God. They obeyed all the Lord’s commands and rules faithfully. 7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was not able to have any. And they were both very old.
8One day Zechariah’s group was on duty. He was serving as a priest in God’s temple. 9He happened to be chosen, in the usual way, to go into the temple of the Lord. There he was supposed to burn incense. 10The time came for this to be done. All who had gathered to worship were praying outside.
11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah. The angel was standing at the right side of the incense altar. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was amazed and terrified. 13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah. Your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will have a child. It will be a boy, and you must call him John. 14He will be a joy and delight to you. His birth will make many people very glad. 15He will be important in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or other such drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17And he will prepare the way for the Lord. He will have the same spirit and power that Elijah had. He will bring peace between parents and their children. He will teach people who don’t obey to be wise and do what is right. In this way, he will prepare a people who are ready for the Lord.”
18Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man, and my wife is old too.”
19The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I serve God. I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20And now you will have to be silent. You will not be able to speak until after John is born. That’s because you did not believe my words. They will come true at the time God has chosen.”
21During that time, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out of the temple. They wondered why he stayed there so long. 22When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple. They knew this because he kept gesturing to them. He still could not speak.
23When his time of service was over, he returned home. 24After that, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant. She stayed at home for five months. 25“The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days, he has been kind to me. He has taken away my shame among the people.”
The Coming Birth of Jesus
26In the sixth month after Elizabeth had become pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee. 27He was sent to a virgin. The girl was engaged to a man named Joseph. He came from the family line of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel greeted her and said, “The Lord has blessed you in a special way. He is with you.”
29Mary was very upset because of his words. She wondered what kind of greeting this could be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary. God is very pleased with you. 31You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must call him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king like his father David of long ago. 33The Son of the Most High God will rule forever over his people. They are from the family line of Jacob. That kingdom will never end.”
34“How can this happen?” Mary asked the angel. “I am a virgin.”
35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come to you. The power of the Most High God will cover you. So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God. 36Your relative Elizabeth will have a child even though she is old. People thought she could not have children. But she has been pregnant for six months now. 37That’s because what God says will always come true.”
38“I serve the Lord,” Mary answered. “May it happen to me just as you said it would.” Then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in Judea’s hill country. 40There she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby inside her jumped. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she called out, “God has blessed you more than other women. And blessed is the child you will have! 43But why is God so kind to me? Why has the mother of my Lord come to me? 44As soon as I heard the sound of your voice, the baby inside me jumped for joy. 45You are a woman God has blessed. You have believed that the Lord would keep his promises to you!”
“My soul gives glory to the Lord.
47My spirit delights in God my Savior.
48He has taken note of me
even though I am not considered important.
From now on all people will call me blessed.
49The Mighty One has done great things for me.
His name is holy.
50He shows his mercy to those who have respect for him,
from parent to child down through the years.
51He has done mighty things with his powerful arm.
He has scattered those who are proud in their deepest thoughts.
52He has brought down rulers from their thrones.
But he has lifted up people who are not considered important.
53He has filled with good things those who are hungry.
But he has sent away empty those who are rich.
54He has helped the people of Israel, who serve him.
He has always remembered to be kind
55to Abraham and his children down through the years.
He has done it just as he promised to our people of long ago.”
56Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months. Then she returned home.
John the Baptist Is Born
57The time came for Elizabeth to have her baby. She gave birth to a son. 58Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very kind to her. They shared her joy.
59On the eighth day, they came to have the child circumcised. They were going to name him Zechariah, like his father. 60But his mother spoke up. “No!” she said. “He must be called John.”
61They said to her, “No one among your relatives has that name.”
62Then they motioned to his father. They wanted to find out what he would like to name the child. 63He asked for something to write on. Then he wrote, “His name is John.” Everyone was amazed. 64Right away Zechariah could speak again. Right away he praised God. 65All his neighbors were filled with fear and wonder. Throughout Judea’s hill country, people were talking about all these things. 66Everyone who heard this wondered about it. And because the Lord was with John, they asked, “What is this child going to be?”
67John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit. He prophesied,
68“Give praise to the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has come to his people and purchased their freedom.
69He has acted with great power and has saved us.
He did it for those who are from the family line of his servant David.
70Long ago holy prophets said he would do it.
71He has saved us from our enemies.
We are rescued from all who hate us.
72He has been kind to our people of long ago.
He has remembered his holy covenant.
73He made a promise to our father Abraham.
74He promised to save us from our enemies.
Then we could serve him without fear.
75He wants us to be holy and godly as long as we live.
76“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High God.
You will go ahead of the Lord to prepare the way for him.
77You will tell his people how they can be saved.
You will tell them that their sins can be forgiven.
78All of that will happen because our God is tender and caring.
His kindness will bring the rising sun to us from heaven.
79It will shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death.
It will guide our feet on the path of peace.”
80The child grew up, and his spirit became strong. He lived in the desert until he appeared openly to Israel.
1Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
5¶ There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judæa, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. 8And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, 9According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. 11And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. 16And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. 18And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 19And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. 20And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. 21And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. 22And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. 23And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. 26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. 46And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. 56And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. 57Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. 59And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. 61And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. 63And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. 64And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. 65And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judæa. 66And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. 67And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, 68Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, 78Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 80And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.