1 Seeing that many have taken it in hand to draw up an account of those matters which have been fully established among us, 2 just as they reported them to us, who were from beginning eye-witnesses and ministers of the word, 3 it seemed good to me also accurately, from the very beginning, to write them to you in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the story which you have been taught by the word of mouth.
5 In the reign of Herod, King of Judea, there was a certain priest, named Zachariah, belonging to the class of Abijah. He had a wife named Elizabeth, 6 who was a descendant of Aaron. They were both righteous in the sight of the Lord, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the law, blameless. 7 Now they had no child, for Elizabeth was barren, and both were far advanced in years.
8 Now while Zachariah was acting as priest before God in the due course of his class, it fell to his lot, according to the custom of priesthood, 9 to enter into the sanctuary of the Lord and to burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were without, praying at the hour of incense. 11 Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And as he saw him Zachariah was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the Angel said to him. "Do not be afraid, Zachariah, because your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 "And he shall be to you a joy and an exultation, and many shall rejoice over his birth. 15 "For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, "He shall drink neither wine nor strong drink, "He shall be filled with the Holy Spirit from the hour of his birth, 16 "And shall win many of the sons of Israel to the Lord, their God. 17 "He shall go before Him in the wisdom and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, and so to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him."
18 "How shall I be sure of this?" said Zachariah to the Angel. "For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years."
19 "I am Gabriel," answered the angel, "who stand in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring and to bring you this good news. 20 "And now you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day the day when this has taken place; because you did not believe my words??ords which will be fulfilled at their appointed time."
21 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zachariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the sanctuary. 22 And when he came out he could not speak to them, and then they knew that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept making signs to them and remained dumb. 23 As soon as his term of priestly service was ended he went home;
24 and after those days Elizabeth, his wife, Conceived, and she hid herself five months, saying. 25 "This has the Lord done for me. He has now deigned to take the away my reproach among men."
26 Six months later the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee, called Nazareth, 27 to a maiden betrothed to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. Her name was Mary. 28 The angel went in and said to her. "Joy to you, highly favored one! "The Lord is with you." 29 Mary was greatly agitated at his word, and was revolving in her mind what this salutation could mean. 30 when the angel said to her. "Fear not Mary, for you have found grace with God. 31 "And behold, you shall conceive in your womb and bear a son; and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High. "And the Lord God will give him the throne of his forefather David, 33 "and he shall reign over the House of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
35 "The Holy Spirit shall come upon you," said the angel, "and the power of the most High shall overshadow you, and therefore the holy offspring which is born, shall be called the son of God.
36 "And behold your kinswoman, Elizabeth, she also has conceived a son in her old age, and this was the sixth month with her that was called barren. 37 "For no word of God shall be void of power."
38 Then Mary said: "Behold I am Lord's slave. Let it be to me as you have said." Then the angel departed from her.
39 Soon after this Mary set out and hastened unto the hill-country to a town in Judah; 40 and there she came into the house of Zachariah, and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard her salutation, the babe leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth herself was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and called out with a loud cry. "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is your unborn child!
43 "But why is this honor done me, that the mother of my Lord should come me? 44 "For behold when the sound of your salutation reached my ears, the babe leaped with joy within my womb. 45 "And blessed is she who believed that the Lord's words spoken to her would be fulfilled."
46 And Mary said: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 "My spirit exults in the God, who is my Saviour, 48 "For he has regarded the humiliation of his slave, And from this hour all ages will count me blessed. 49 "For he who is mighty has done great things for me; And holy is his name. 50 "His mercy is unto generations and generations on those who reverence him. 51 "He has showed strength with his arm. "He has scattered proud in the imagination of their hearts; 52 "he has put down princes from their thrones, and has exalted those of low degree. 53 "The hungry he has filled with good things, But the rich he has sent empty away. 54 "He has helped Israel, his servant, that he might remember mercy, 55 "As he spoke to our forefathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever."
56 So Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and returned home. 57 Now when the time of Elizabeth's delivery was come, she gave birth to a son; 58 and her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy toward her; and they rejoiced with her,
59 and came on the eighth day to circumcise the child. They were about to call him "Zachariah," after his father, 60 when his mother said, "No, he is to be called John."
61 Said they, "You have no relatives of that name!" 62 Then they asked his father by signs what he wished to call the child. 63 So he asked for a writing tablet and wrote down, "His name is John." 64 Every one was surprised, and at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And there came a great fear upon all in the neighborhood; and throughout the hill country of Judea all these sayings were much talked about. 66 All the story laid it up in their hearts, saying "What, then, will this child be?" For the Lord's hands was with him.
68 "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, For he has visited and redeemed his people, 69 "And has raised up a mighty Deliverer for us In the house of his servant David, 70 "As he spake by the mouth of his holy Prophets Which have been since the world began 71 To deliver us from our enemies, and from the power Of all who hate us. 72 "He showed mercy to our forefathers, He remembered his holy covenant, 73 "The oath which he swore to Abraham, our forefather, 74 "That he we should be delivered out of the Hand of our enemies, And should serve him without fear, 75 "In holiness and righteousness before him All our days. 76 "And thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Most High, For thou shalt go before the Lord to prepare the way 77 "To give to his people a knowledge of salvation Through the remission of their sins, 78 "Through the heart of mercy of our God, Whereby the Dayspring from on high shall visit us, 79 "To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, And to guide our feet into the paths of peace."