1:1Many have taken it upon themselves to write an orderly account of everything that happened among us,1:2from what we were told by those who were original eyewitnesses and deputies of the Word.1:3So I decided that I too should write for you, Honorable Theophilus, a meticulous account of everything I observed from the start,1:4so that you may have full confidence regarding the validity of what you were taught.
1:5In the days of Herod the king of Judea there was a certain priest by the name of Zacharias, of the Abia order. His wife Elizabeth was a descendant of Aaron.1:6They were both righteous before God, faultlessly performing every command and decree of the Master.1:7But they had no child because Elizabeth was infertile, and they were quite elderly.
1:8One day it came time for Zacharias to perform his priestly duties before God according to his order,1:9and he was chosen by chance to burn incense and enter the Holiest Place of the Master.1:10A huge crowd of people was praying outside at the time the incense was burned.1:11But Zacharias saw a Messenger of the Master standing to the right of the altar of incense,1:12and he became quite disturbed and was overcome with fear.
1:13“Do not be afraid, Zacharias,” the Messenger said to him. “Your request has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, whom you must name John.1:14He will bring you happiness and great joy, and many people will be happy about his birth.
1:15“He will be great in the sight of the Master. He must never drink wine or any other intoxicating beverage, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even as he leaves his mother’s womb.1:16He will also turn many in Israel back to the Master their God,1:17and he will go ahead before him in the spirit and power of Elijah. He will turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the incorrigible into the sensible and righteous, to prepare a people made for the Master.”
1:18But Zacharias said to the Messenger, “What reason do I have to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is well along in years herself.”
1:19“I am Gabriel, the one who stands before God!” the Messenger replied. “I was dispatched to speak to you and bring you this good news.1:20And now look! You will be silenced and unable to speak until the day these things come to pass, because you did not believe what I told you.”
1:21Meanwhile, the people outside were waiting for Zacharias and wondered what was taking so long in the temple.1:22But when he came out he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple, because he was making motions to them since he couldn’t talk.1:23And when his term of priestly service was completed, he returned to his home.1:24After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months.1:25“This is how the Master has taken away my shame before the people,” she said to herself. “In these days he has noticed me!”
1:26In Elizabeth’s sixth month, the Messenger Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth.1:27He went to a woman of marriageable age who was engaged to a man named Joseph from the line of David. The woman’s name was Mary,1:28and the Messenger spoke to her: “Greetings, favored one! The Master is with you!”1:29Upon hearing this, she was quite disturbed and perplexed about what sort of greeting this could be.
1:30“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” said the Messenger. “For you have found favor with God.1:31And now look! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will give him the name Jesus.1:32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Master God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.1:33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end!”
1:34“But how can this be,” asked Mary, “since I haven’t been intimate with a man?”
1:35The Messenger replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will envelope you. For this reason the holy one being conceived will be called the God-Man.1:36And look! Your relative Elizabeth is also expecting a son in her old age. She is in her sixth month, this one who was considered infertile!1:37For nothing God declares is impossible.”
1:38“Observe, the slave of the Master!” Mary responded. “May it happen as you have stated.” And the Messenger went away.
1:39At that time Mary quickly went up into the hill country to a city in Judea.1:40She entered the home of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.1:41And as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb jumped for joy, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
1:42Then Elizabeth shouted out, “You are blessed among women, and blessed is the child within you!1:43How is it that the mother of my Master should visit me?1:44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby within me jumped for joy!1:45And blessed is she who believed that what she was told by the Master would come to pass!”
1:46And Mary said, “My soul exalts the Master,1:47and my spirit jumps for joy about God my Savior,1:48for he noticed his humble slave! From now on, every generation will consider me blessed1:49because the Powerful One did great things for me. His name is holy,1:50and his compassion extends from generation to generation for those who fear him.
1:51“He has ruled with power and might; he has scattered those whose minds are filled with contempt;1:52he has pulled rulers from their thrones. But he has lifted up the oppressed;1:53he has satisfied the hungry yet sent the rich away empty-handed.1:54At the right time he has remembered to have eternal mercy on his child Israel,1:55just as he said to our ancestors, to Abraham’s descendants.”1:56Mary stayed with her for about three months, and then she returned to her own home.
1:57The time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she had a son.1:58Her neighbors and relatives heard about how the Master had shown her great mercy, so they celebrated with her.1:59When the eighth day arrived they came to circumcise the little boy, and they intended to name him after his father Zacharias.1:60But his mother said “No! He is to be named John.”
1:61“But there is no one among your relatives by that name,” they objected.1:62So they motioned to his father to see what he wanted to name him.1:63He asked for a writing tablet, and to their great surprise he wrote, “His name is John.”
1:64Instantly his mouth was opened and his tongue [was freed], and he began to speak praises to God.1:65Fear came upon all the neighbors, and this account spread throughout the whole hill country of Judea.1:66Everyone who heard about it wondered what this little boy would turn out to be, because surely the hand of the Master was with him.
1:67His father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this divine message:1:68“Praise to the Master, the God of Israel, for he selected and redeemed his people!1:69He awakened a powerful deliverance for us from the line of his servant David,1:70just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets through the ages.
1:71“[He brought] deliverance from our enemies and from the hands of all who hate us,1:72to have compassion on our ancestors; he remembered his holy contract1:73which he swore on oath to our ancestor Abraham;1:74he granted that we would be rescued from the clutches of our enemies, so we could offer divine service without fear1:75and in devoutness and justice before him all the days of our lives.
1:76“Now as for you, little one, you will be called a prophet of the Highest. For you will lead the way before the Master, to prepare his paths,1:77and to impart the knowledge of salvation to his people, the pardon of their failures1:78through the deep compassion of our God. The sun will rise high to visit us,1:79to appear to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, and to light the way for our feet on the road to peace.”1:80So the little boy grew and became spiritually powerful, and he lived in the desert until he presented himself to Israel.