1Whereas many have undertaken to write a narrative of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2#Jn 15:27; Heb 2:3just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, 3#Ac 1:1; 11:4it seemed good to me also, having accurately investigated all things from the very beginning, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, 4#Jn 20:31that you might know the certainty of the things which you have been told.
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
5#1Ch 24:10; Mt 2:1There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6#Ge 7:1; Php 2:15They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. 7#Ge 18:11; 1Sa 1:2But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were now well advanced in years.
8#1Ch 24:19; 2Ch 8:14Now while he served as priest before God, when his division was on duty, 9#Ex 30:7–8; 1Ch 23:13according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10#Lev 16:17; Rev 8:3And the whole crowd of people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
11#Ex 40:26–27Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12#Jdg 6:22; 13:22When Zechariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13#Ac 10:31But the angel said to him, “Do not fear, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14#Lk 1:58You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15#Lk 7:33; Jer 1:5For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16He will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. 17#Mt 11:14; Lk 1:76And he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children#Ps 118:22. and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18#Ge 17:17; 15:8Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man and my wife well advanced in years.”
19#Mt 18:10; Lk 1:26; Da 8:16The 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#Eze 3:26; 24:27And now you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things happen, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their season.”
21The people waited for Zechariah, and wondered why he waited so long in the temple. 22#Lk 1:62When he came out, he could not speak to them. They perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he made signs to them and remained speechless.
23#1Ch 9:25As soon as the days of his service were fulfilled, he departed to his own home. 24After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying, 25#Isa 4:1; 1Sa 1:6“Thus the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.”
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26#Mt 2:23; Lk 1:19In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27#Mt 1:18; Ge 3:15to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28#Jdg 6:12The angel came to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.”
29#Lk 1:12; Ac 10:4When she saw him, she was troubled by his words, and considered in her mind what kind of greeting this might be. 30#Lk 1:13; Isa 41:14But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31#Isa 7:14; Mt 1:21; 1:25Listen, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and shall call His name JESUS. 32#Mk 5:7; Lk 1:35He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, 33#Da 2:44; 7:27; Heb 1:8and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. And of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35#Mt 1:18; Ps 2:7The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who will be born will be called theSon of God. 36Listen, your cousin Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age. And this is the sixth month with her who was declared barren. 37#Mt 19:26; Ge 18:14; Jer 32:17For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38Mary said, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be unto me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39#Lk 1:65In those days Mary arose and quickly went into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40and entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41#Lk 1:67; 1:15When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42#Jdg 5:24She spoke out with a loud voice, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43#Jn 20:28But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44Indeed, as soon as the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45#Lk 1:20; Jn 20:29Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a completion to those things which were told her by the Lord.”
The Song of Mary
46#Ps 34:2–3; 1Sa 2:1–10And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47#1Ti 1:1; Titus 2:10 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
48#Ps 138:6; Lk 11:27 For He has regarded
the low estate of His servant;
surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49#Ps 111:9; 99:3 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name.
50#Ex 20:6 His mercy is on those who fear Him
from generation to generation.
51#Ps 98:1; 89:10 He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52#Ps 107:40–41; Jas 4:10 He has pulled down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of low degree.
53#Ps 34:10; Lk 6:21 He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
54#Ps 98:3; Isa 44:21 He has helped His servant Israel,
in remembrance of His mercy,
55#Ge 17:19 as He spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
56Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her own house.
The Birth of John the Baptist
57Now Elizabeth’s time had come to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. 58Her neighbors and cousins heard how the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they rejoiced with her.
59#Ge 17:12; Lev 12:3On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they were calling him Zechariah, after the name of his father. 60#Lk 1:13But his mother answered, “Not so! He shall be called John.”
61They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.”
62#Lk 1:22They made signs to his father, asking what he would have him called. 63#Lk 1:60; 1:13He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all were amazed. 64#Lk 1:20Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he spoke and praised God. 65#Lk 1:39; 7:16Fear came on all who lived around them. And all these facts were talked about throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66#Ac 11:21; Ge 39:2All those who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will he be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.
The Prophecy of Zechariah
67#Joel 2:28; Lk 1:41His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68#1Ki 1:48; Ps 41:13 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for He has visited and redeemed His people,
69#1Sa 2:10; Ps 18:2 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of His servant David,
70as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets of long ago,
71#Ps 106:10 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us,
72#Ps 106:45; Lev 26:42 to perform the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember His holy covenant,
73#Ge 22:16–18; 26:3 the oath which He swore to our father Abraham,
74#Heb 9:14 to grant us that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies,
might serve Him without fear,
75#Eph 4:24 in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our lives.
76#Mal 3:1; Lk 1:32 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77to give knowledge of salvation to His people
by the remission of their sins,
78#Mal 4:2; Nu 24:17 through the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise from on high has visited us;
79#Isa 9:2; Mt 4:16 to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
80#Lk 2:40; Mt 3:1And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he remained in the wilderness until the day of his appearance to Israel.