1Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us.
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
5When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron.
8One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week.
11While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar.
18Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”
19Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news!
21Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out of the sanctuary, wondering why he was taking so long.
23When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home.
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee,
29Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.
34Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
38Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town
42Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.
The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
50He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
51His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
52He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
53He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
54He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
55For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
56Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.
The Birth of John the Baptist
57When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son.
59When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father.
61“What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.”
65Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills.
67Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:
68“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited and redeemed his people.
69He has sent us a mighty Savior*1:69 Greek has raised up a horn of salvation for us.
from the royal line of his servant David,
70just as he promised
through his holy prophets long ago.
71Now we will be saved from our enemies
and from all who hate us.
72He has been merciful to our ancestors
by remembering his sacred covenant—
73the covenant he swore with an oath
to our ancestor Abraham.
74We have been rescued from our enemies
so we can serve God without fear,
75in holiness and righteousness
for as long as we live.
76“And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
77You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
78Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,*1:78 Or the Morning Light from Heaven is about to visit us.
79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.”
80John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.