1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things aaccomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who afrom the beginning were beyewitnesses and cservants of dthe word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, ahaving investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you bin consecutive order, cmost excellent dTheophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been ataught. 5 aIn the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the bdivision of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 They were both arighteous in the sight of God, walking bblamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years. 8 Now it happened that while ahe was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot ato enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer aoutside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 And aan angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and afear gripped him. 13 But the angel said to him, "aDo not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and byou will give him the name John. 14 "You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will adrink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb. 16 "And he will aturn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 "It is he who will ago as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of bElijah, cTO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to amake ready a people prepared for the Lord." 18 Zacharias said to the angel, "How will I know this for certain? For aI am an old man and my wife is advanced in years." 19 The angel answered and said to him, "I am aGabriel, who bstands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 "And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time." 21 The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he akept making signs to them, and remained mute. 23 When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home. 24 After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, 25 "This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to atake away my disgrace among men." 26 Now in the sixth month the angel aGabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called bNazareth, 27 to aa virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, bof the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." 29 But she awas very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, "aDo not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you ashall name Him Jesus. 32 "He will be great and will be called the Son of athe Most High; and the Lord God will give Him bthe throne of His father David; 33 aand He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, band His kingdom will have no end." 34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" 35 The angel answered and said to her, "aThe Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of bthe Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason cthe holy Child shall be called dthe Son of God. 36 "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 "For anothing will be impossible with God." 38 And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. 39 Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to athe hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was afilled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 "And how has it happened to me, that the mother of amy Lord would come to me? 44 "For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. 45 "And ablessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord." 46 And Mary said: "aMy soul bexalts the Lord, 47 And amy spirit has rejoiced in bGod my Savior. 48 "For aHe has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me bblessed. 49 "For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. 50 "aAND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. 51 "aHe has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. 52 "He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has aexalted those who were humble. 53 "aHE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; And sent away the rich empty-handed. 54 "He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 aAs He spoke to our fathers, bTo Abraham and his descendants forever." 56 And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home. 57 Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had adisplayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her. 59 And it happened that on athe eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. 60 But his mother answered and said, "No indeed; but ahe shall be called John." 61 And they said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name." 62 And they amade signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. 63 And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, "aHis name is John." And they were all astonished. 64 aAnd at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God. 65 Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all athe hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, "What then will this child turn out to be?" For athe hand of the Lord was certainly with him. 67 And his father Zacharias awas filled with the Holy Spirit, and bprophesied, saying: 68 "aBlessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished bredemption for His people, 69 And has raised up a ahorn of salvation for us In the house of David bHis servant-- 70 aAs He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets bfrom of old-- 71 aSalvation bFROM OUR ENEMIES, And FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US; 72 aTo show mercy toward our fathers, bAnd to remember His holy covenant, 73 aThe oath which He swore to Abraham our father, 74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75 aIn holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. 76 "And you, child, will be called the aprophet of bthe Most High; For you will go on cBEFORE THE LORD TO dPREPARE HIS WAYS; 77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By athe forgiveness of their sins, 78 Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which athe Sunrise from on high will visit us, 79 aTO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the bway of peace." 80 aAnd the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.