A Doctor Charts the Facts
1Now many have undertaken to organize an account of the events fulfilled among us,
2just as they were handed down to us from the start by the eyewitnesses and reporters of the word.
3Therefore it seemed best to me also, because I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, to write for you an orderly record, most excellent Theophilus,
4so you may know for sure the truth of the words you have been taught.
Prophecy of Birth to the Barren
5In the days of Herod, King of Judah, there was a kohen named Zechariah from the priestly division of Abijah. Elizabeth, his wife, was from the daughters of Aaron.
6Together they were righteous before Adonai, walking without fault in all His commandments and instructions.
7But they were childless, because Elizabeth was barren and both of them were elderly.
8Now it happened to be Zechariah’s time to serve as kohen before Adonai in the order of his division.
9According to the custom of the priestly office, it became his lot to enter the Holy Place of Adonai to burn incense.
10And the whole crowd of people was praying outside at the hour of incense burning.
11An angel of Adonai appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.
12Zechariah was in turmoil when he saw the angel, and fear fell upon him.
13But the angel said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to your son, and you will name him John.
14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
15He will be great before Adonai; and he should not drink wine and intoxicating beverage, but he will be filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh just out of his mother’s womb.
16Many of Bnei-Yisrael will turn to Adonai their God.
17And he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to the children and the disobedient ones to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready for Adonai a prepared people.
18Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? I’m an old man, and my wife is well-advanced in age.”
19And speaking to him, the angel declared, “I am Gabriel, the one standing in God’s presence. I was commissioned to tell you and proclaim to you this good news.
20So look, you will be silent and powerless to speak until the day these things happen, since you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their time.”
21The people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering about his long delay in the Holy Place.
22But when he came out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized that he had seen a vision in the Holy Place. He was making signs to them but remained mute.
23When the days of his priestly service had been completed, he went home.
24After these days, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and hid herself for five months, saying,
25“Adonai has done this for me! In these days He looked upon me, to take away my disgrace among the people.”
Prophecy of Birth to the Virgin
26Then in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by Adonai into a town in the Galilee named Natzeret
27and to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Miriam.
28And coming to her, the angel said, “Shalom, favored one! Adonai is with you.”
29But at the message, she was perplexed and kept wondering what kind of greeting this might be.
30The angel spoke to her, “Do not be afraid, Miriam, for you have found favor with God.
31Behold, you will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you shall call His name Yeshua.
32He will be great and will be called Ben-Elyon. Adonai Elohim will give Him the throne of David, His father.
33He shall reign over the house of Jacob for all eternity, and His kingdom will be without end.”
34Miriam said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am not intimate with a man?”
35And responding, the angel said to her, “The Ruach ha-Kodesh will come upon you, and the power of Elyon will overshadow you. Therefore, the Holy One being born will be called Ben-Elohim.
36Behold, even your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son in her old age; and the one who was called barren is six months pregnant.
37For nothing will be impossible with God.”
38So Miriam said, “Behold, the servant of Adonai. Let it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel left her.
Elizabeth Greets Miriam with Joy
39Now in those days, Miriam got up and quickly traveled into the hill country, to a town in Judah.
40She entered Zechariah’s home and happily greeted Elizabeth.
41When Elizabeth heard Miriam’s greeting, the unborn child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was completely filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh.
42She then cried out with a great shout, saying, “You are blessed among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
43Who am I, that the mother of my Master should come to me?
44For even when I just heard the sound of your greeting in my ear, the unborn child leaped with joy in my womb.
45Blessed is she who trusted that there would be a fulfillment of those things spoken to her by Adonai.”
46Then Miriam said, “My soul magnifies Adonai,
47and my spirit greatly rejoices in God, my Savior.
48For He has looked with care upon the humble state of His maidservant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49For the Mighty One has done a great thing for me, and holy is His name.
50And His mercy is from generation to generation to the ones who fear Him.
51He has displayed power with His arm. He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52He has brought down rulers from thrones and exalted humble ones.
53He has filled the hungry with good things and sent away the rich empty-handed.
54He has helped His servant Israel, remembering His mercy,
55just as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.”
Zechariah Breaks His Silence
56Miriam stayed with her for three months and then returned to her home.
57Upon Elizabeth’s full term to deliver, she gave birth to a son.
58Her neighbors and relatives heard how Adonai had shown her His great mercy, and they began to rejoice with her.
59Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they kept trying to call him by his father’s name, Zechariah.
60But his mother declared, “No, he will be called John.”
61But they said to her, “No one among your relatives is called by this name.”
62So they began making signs to his father, as to what he wanted him named.
63Asking for a small tablet, he wrote, “John is his name.” They were all astonished!
64And his mouth was immediately unlocked as well as his tongue, and he began to speak, praising God.
65Fear came on all those who lived around them, and all these matters were talked about throughout the hill country of Judah.
66Everyone who heard pondered these things in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child become?” For the hand of Adonai was on him.
The Kohen’s Song of Prophecy
67His father Zechariah was filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh and prophesied, saying,
68“Blessed be Adonai, God of Israel, for He has looked after His people and brought them redemption.
69He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David,
70just as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ages past,
71salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us!
72So He shows mercy to our fathers and remembers His holy covenant,
73the vow which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us—
74rescued fearlessly from the hand of our enemies—to serve Him,
75in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
76And you, child, will be called a prophet of Elyon. For you will go before Adonai to prepare His ways,
77to give knowledge of salvation to His people through removal of their sins.
78Through our God’s heart of mercy, the Sunrise from on high will come upon us,
79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of shalom.”
80And the child kept growing and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.