When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.1
But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid,2 Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.3
He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,4
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink,5 and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit6 even before he is born.7
Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.
And he will go on before the Lord,8 in the spirit and power of Elijah,9 to turn the hearts of the parents to their children10 and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."11
Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this?12 I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."13
The angel said to him, "I am Gabriel.14 I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.
And now you will be silent and not able to speak15 until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time."
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.
When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs16 to them but remained unable to speak.