Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that 1have been accomplished among us,
2just as those who 3from the beginning were 4eyewitnesses and 5ministers of 6the word 7have delivered them to us,
it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write 8an orderly account for you, 9most excellent 10Theophilus,
that you may have 11certainty concerning the things 12you have been taught.
13In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah,14of 15the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
And they were both 16righteous before God, walking 17blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.
But they had no child, because 18Elizabeth was barren, and 19both were advanced in years.
Now 20while he was serving as priest before God when 21his division was on duty,
according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot 22to enter 23the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
And the whole multitude of the people 24were praying 25outside at the hour of incense.
And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of 26the altar of incense.
And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and 27fear fell upon him.
But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for 28your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and 29you shall call his name John.
And you will have joy and gladness, and many will 30rejoice at his birth,
for he will be 31great before the Lord. And 32he must not drink wine or strong 33drink, and 34he will be 35filled with the Holy Spirit, 36even from his mother's womb.
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,
and 37he will go before him 38in the spirit and power of Elijah, 39to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and 40the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, 41to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."
And Zechariah said to the angel, 42"How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."
And the angel answered him, "I am 43Gabriel. 44I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.
And behold, 45you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time."
And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in 46the temple.
And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in 47the temple. And 48he kept making signs to them and remained mute.
And 49when his time of 50service was ended, he went to his home.
After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying,
"Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, 51to take away my reproach among people."
In the sixth month the angel 52Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named 53Nazareth,
54to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, 55of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.
And he came to her and said, "Greetings, 56O favored one, 57the Lord is with you!"
But 58she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for 59you have found favor with God.
And behold, 60you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and 61you shall call his name Jesus.
He will be great and will be called the Son of 62the Most High. And the Lord God 63will give to him the throne of 64his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob 65forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"
And the angel answered her, 66"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of 67the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called 68holy--69the Son of God.
And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her 70who was called barren.
For 71nothing will be impossible with God."
And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And 72the angel departed from her.
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into 73the hill country, to a town in Judah,
and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth 74was filled with the Holy Spirit,
and she exclaimed with a loud cry, 75"Blessed are you among women, and 76blessed is 77the fruit of your womb!
And why is this granted to me that the mother of 78my Lord should come to me?
For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
And 79blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
And Mary said, 80"My 81soul 82magnifies the Lord,
83and my 84spirit rejoices in 85God my Savior,
for 86he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations 87will call me blessed;
for 88he who is mighty 89has done great things for me, and 90holy is his name.
And 91his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
92He has shown strength with his arm; 93he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
94he has brought down the mighty from their thrones 95and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled 96the hungry with good things, and the rich 97he has sent away empty.
He has 98helped 99his servant Israel, 100in remembrance of his mercy,
101as he spoke to our fathers, 102to Abraham and to his offspring forever."
And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.
And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord 103had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
And 104on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother answered, "No; 105he shall be called John."
And they said to her, "None of your relatives is called by this name."
And 106they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called.
And he asked for 107a writing tablet and wrote, 108"His name is John." And they all wondered.
109And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue 110loosed, and he spoke, 111blessing God.
And 112fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all 113the hill country of Judea,
and all who heard them 114laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What then will this child be?" For 115the hand of the Lord was with him.
And his father Zechariah 116was filled with the Holy Spirit and 117prophesied, saying,
118"Blessed be the Lord 119God of Israel, for he has 120visited and 121redeemed his people
and 122has raised up 123a horn of salvation for us 124in the house of his servant David,
125as 126he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
127that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;
128to show the mercy promised to our fathers and 129to remember his holy 130covenant,
131the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him 132without fear,
133in holiness and righteousness before him 134all our days.
And you, child, will be called 135the prophet of 136the Most High; for 137you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people 138in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the 139tender mercy of our God, whereby 140the sunrise shall 141visit us142from on high
to 143give light to 144those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into 145the way of 146peace."
147And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was 148in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.