In the time of Herod king of Judea1 there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah;2 his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.
Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly.37
But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God,49
he was chosen by lot,5 according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.610
And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.711
Then an angel8 of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.912
When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.1013
But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid,11 Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.1214
He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,1315
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink,14 and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit15 even from birth.a16