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,1
he was chosen by lot,2 according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.3
And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.4
Then an angel5 of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.6
When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.7
But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid,8 Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.9
He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,10
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink,11 and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit12 even from birth.13
Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.
And he will go on before the Lord,14 in the spirit and power of Elijah,15 to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children16 and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."17