1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, 3 it seemed good to me also, having carefully investigated all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things which you have been taught.
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, '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."
18 And Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years."
19 And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, 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 time."
21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he made signs to them and remained speechless. 23 And when his time of service was completed, he went to his home.
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying, 25 "Thus the Lord has done to me, in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people."
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Hail, O highly favored one, the Lord is with you!" 29 But she was greatly troubled at his saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. 33 And he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
35 And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Holy One to be born will be called the 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 who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible."
38 Then Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she exclaimed with a loud voice, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43 But why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, as soon as the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
46 And Mary said: 47 "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has regarded the lowly state of his servant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever."
56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home. 57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother said, "No; he shall be called John."
61 They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name." 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, "His name is John." And they all marveled. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea; 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him.
68 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people, 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath which he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life. 76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, 78 through the tender mercy of our God, with which the sunrise from on high will visit us; 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."