The Dedication to Theophilus
1Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled#1:1 Or events that have been accomplished, or events most surely believed among us,#Rm 4:21; 14:5; Col 2:2; 4:12; 1Th 1:5; 2Tm 4:17; Heb 6:11; 10:22 2just as the original eyewitnesses#Jn 15:27; Ac 1:21; 2Pt 1:16; 1Jn 1:1 and servants of the word#Ac 26:16; 1Co 4:1; Heb 2:3 handed them down to us. 3It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable#Ac 23:26; 24:3; 26:25 Theophilus,#Ac 1:1 4so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.#1:4 Or informed#Ac 18:25; Rm 2:18; 1Co 14:19; Gl 6:6
Gabriel Predicts John’s Birth
5In the days of King Herod#Mt 2:1 of Judea, there was a priest of Abijah’s division#1Ch 24:10 named Zechariah. His wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6Both were righteous in God’s sight,#Gn 7:1; Ac 2:25; 8:21 living without blame#Php 2:15; 3:6; 1Th 3:13 according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord. 7But they had no children because Elizabeth could not conceive, and both of them were well along in years.#Gn 4:1; 18:11; Jdg 13:2-3; 1Sm 1:2; 2:20; Ps 113:9; 127:3-5; Heb 11:11-12
8When his division was on duty#1Ch 24:19; 2Ch 8:14; 31:2 and he was serving as priest before God, 9it happened that he was chosen by lot,#Jos 18:6,8,10; 1Ch 24:31; 25:8; 26:13-14; Neh 10:34; 11:1; Ac 1:26 according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense.#Ex 30:7-8 10At the hour of incense the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11An angel of the Lord#Mt 2:13-14; 28:2; Lk 2:9; Ac 5:19; 8:26; 12:7 appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.#Mk 16:5; Ac 2:33 12When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified and overcome with fear.#Gn 21:17; Jdg 6:22-23; 2Kg 1:15; Mt 1:20; 28:5; Lk 2:10; Ac 10:3-4; 27:23-24 13But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid,#Gn 15:1; Mt 14:27; Lk 1:30 Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard.#Gn 25:21; 1Kg 8:45,49; 2Kg 20:5; Ps 6:9; Is 38:5 Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.#Gn 16:11; 17:15,19; Is 8:3; Hs 1:4,9; Mt 1:20,23; Lk 1:60,63 14There will be joy and delight for you, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and will never drink wine or beer.#Nm 6:3; Jdg 13:3-5; Mt 11:18; Lk 7:33 He will be filled with the Holy Spirit#Ex 28:3; 31:3; 35:31; Dt 34:9; Mc 3:8; Lk 1:41,67; Ac 2:4; 4:8,31; 7:55; 9:17; 13:9; 13:52; Eph 5:18 while still in his mother’s womb.#Is 44:2; Lk 1:41,44 16He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.#Ps 22:27; Lm 3:40 17And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children,#Mal 4:5-6; Mt 11:14; 17:10-12 and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.”#Is 40:3; Lk 1:76; 3:4
18“How can I know this?” Zechariah asked the angel. “For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.”
19The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel,#Dn 8:16; 9:21; Lk 1:26 who stands in the presence of God,#Mt 18:10 and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. 20Now listen. You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
21Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. 22When he did come out, he could not speak to them. Then they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was making signs to them#Lk 1:62 and remained speechless. 23When the days of his ministry were completed, he went back home.
24After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived and kept herself in seclusion for five months. She said, 25“The Lord has done this for me. He has looked with favor in these days to take away my disgrace#Gn 30:23; Is 4:1; 25:8 among the people.”
Gabriel Predicts Jesus’s Birth
26In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel#Lk 1:19 was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,#Mt 2:23 27to a virgin engaged#1:27 Lit betrothed#Dt 21:23; Is 7:14; Mt 1:18,23 to a man named Joseph, of the house of David.#Mt 1:20; Lk 2:4 The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And the angel came to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you.”#1:28 Other mss add Blessed are you among women. 29But she was deeply troubled#Lk 1:12 by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30Then the angel told her: “Do not be afraid, Mary,#Mt 14:27; Lk 1:13 for you have found favor with God.#Gn 6:8; Ex 33:12-17; Jr 31:2 31Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.#Is 7:14; Mt 1:21,25; Lk 2:21 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High,#Lk 1:35,76; 3:38; 6:35; 8:28; 9:35; Jn 1:34,49; 11:27; Ac 7:48 and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.#2Sm 7:12-13; 1Kg 2:12; Ps 132:11; Is 9:7; Jr 33:17; Mk 11:10 33He will reign over the house of Jacob#Ex 19:3; Ps 114:1; Is 14:1; 29:22; 46:3 forever, and his kingdom will have no end.” #Is 9:6 LXX; Dn 7:14
34Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?” #1:34 Lit since I do not know a man
35The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,#Mt 1:18 and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.#Mt 14:33; Lk 4:3,9,41; 22:70 36And consider your relative Elizabeth — even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.”#Gn 18:14; Lk 18:27
38“I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.
Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth
39In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah 40where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.#Lk 1:67; Ac 2:4; 4:8; 9:17; 13:9 42Then she exclaimed with a loud cry: “Blessed are you among women, and your child will be blessed!#1:42 Lit and the fruit of your abdomen (or womb) is blessed 43How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me. 45Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her!”
46And Mary said:
My soul praises the greatness of#1:46 Or soul magnifies the Lord,#1Sm 2:1-10
47and my spirit rejoices#Ps 35:9; Hab 3:18 in God my Savior,#1Tm 1:1; 2:3; Ti 1:3; 2:10; 3:4; Jd 25
48because he has looked with favor
on the humble condition of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations
will call me blessed,#Lk 11:27
49because the Mighty One#Ps 89:8; Zph 3:17
has done great things for me,#Ps 71:19; 126:2-3
and his name#Lv 20:3; 22:2,32; 1Ch 16:10,35; 29:16; Ps 30:4; 99:3; 103:1; 111:9; Is 57:15 is holy.
50His mercy is from generation to generation#Ps 100:5; 103:11,17
on those who fear him.
51He has done a mighty deed with his arm;#Ps 89:10; 98:1; 118:15
he has scattered the proud
because of the thoughts of their hearts;#Lk 2:35; 9:47
52he has toppled the mighty from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.#1Sm 2:7-8
53He has satisfied the hungry with good things#Ps 34:10; 107:9; Lk 6:21,24-25
and sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy
55to Abraham and his descendants#1:55 Or offspring; lit seed forever,#Gn 17:9,15; 21:12
just as he spoke to our ancestors.
56And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home.
The Birth and Naming of John
57Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she had a son. 58Then her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her his great mercy,#Gn 19:19 and they rejoiced with her.
59When they came to circumcise the child on the eighth day,#Gn 17:12; Lv 12:3; Lk 2:21; Php 3:5 they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60But his mother responded, “No. He will be called John.”#Lk 1:13,63
61Then they said to her, “None of your relatives has that name.” 62So they motioned to his father#Lk 1:22 to find out what he wanted him to be called. 63He asked for a writing tablet and wrote: “His name is John.” And they were all amazed. 64Immediately his mouth was opened#Lk 1:20 and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65Fear came on all those who lived around them, and all these things were being talked about throughout the hill country of Judea. 66All who heard about him#Ac 11:21 took it to heart, saying, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the Lord’s hand was with him.
67Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit#Lk 1:41 and prophesied:#Jl 2:28
68Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel,#Ps 41:13
because he has visited
and provided redemption for his people.#Lk 1:71; 2:38; Heb 9:12
69He has raised up a horn of salvation for us#1Sm 2:1,10; Ps 18:2; 89:17; 132:17; Ezk 29:21
in the house of his servant David,#2Sm 7:26; Ps 89:3,20; Ezk 34:23-24; 37:24-25
70just as he spoke by the mouth
of his holy prophets in ancient times;#2Kg 21:10; Hs 12:10; Ac 3:21; Rm 1:2; Heb 1:1
71salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of those who hate us.
72He has dealt mercifully with our fathers#Mc 7:20
and remembered his holy covenant#Ps 105:8-9,42; 106:45 —
73the oath that he swore to our father Abraham.#Gn 22:16-17; Heb 6:13
He has given us the privilege,
74since we have been rescued
from the hand of our enemies,
to serve him without fear
75in holiness and righteousness
in his presence all our days.
76And you, child, will be called
a prophet of the Most High,#Mt 11:9
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare his ways,#Lk 1:17; Is 40:3; Mal 3:1
77to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins.#Jr 31:34; Mk 1:4
78Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the dawn from on high#Is 58:8; Jr 23:5; Zch 3:8; 6:12 LXX; Mal 4:2; Lk 24:49; Eph 4:8; 2Pt 1:19 will visit us
79to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,#Is 9:2; 60:2-3
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
80The child grew up and became spiritually strong,#Lk 2:40 and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.