Add parallel Print Page Options

An Angel Tells about the Birth of Jesus

26 One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee 27 with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David. 28 The angel greeted Mary and said, “You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was confused by the angel’s words and wondered what they meant. 30 Then the angel told Mary, “Don’t be afraid! God is pleased with you, 31 and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was. 33 He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am not married!”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God. 36 Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son. 37 Nothing is impossible for God!”

38 Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.” And the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 A short time later Mary hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea. 40 She went into Zechariah’s home, where she greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her baby moved within her.

The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth. 42 Then in a loud voice she said to Mary:

God has blessed you more than any other woman! He has also blessed the child you will have. 43 Why should the mother of my Lord come to me? 44 As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved within me. 45 The Lord has blessed you because you believed that he will keep his promise.

Mary’s Song of Praise

46 Mary said:

With all my heart
    I praise the Lord,
47 and I am glad
    because of God my Savior.
48 He cares for me,
    his humble servant.
From now on,
all people will say
    God has blessed me.
49 God All-Powerful has done
great things for me,
    and his name is holy.
50 He always shows mercy
to everyone
    who worships him.
51 The Lord has used
    his powerful arm
to scatter those
    who are proud.
52 He drags strong rulers
    from their thrones
and puts humble people
    in places of power.
53 God gives the hungry
    good things to eat,
and sends the rich away
    with nothing.
54 He helps his servant Israel
and is always merciful
    to his people.
55 The Lord made this promise
    to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his family
    forever!

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months. Then she went back home.

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 When Elizabeth’s son was born, 58 her neighbors and relatives heard how kind the Lord had been to her, and they too were glad.

59 Eight days later they did for the child what the Law of Moses commands.[a] They were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John.”

61 The people argued, “No one in your family has ever been named John.” 62 So they motioned to Zechariah to find out what he wanted to name his son.

63 Zechariah asked for a writing tablet. Then he wrote, “His name is John.” Everyone was amazed. 64 Right away, Zechariah started speaking and praising God.

65 All the neighbors were frightened because of what had happened, and everywhere in the hill country people kept talking about these things. 66 Everyone who heard about this wondered what this child would grow up to be. They knew that the Lord was with him.

Zechariah Praises the Lord

67 The Holy Spirit came upon Zechariah, and he began to speak:

68 Praise the Lord,
    the God of Israel!
He has come
    to save his people.
69 Our God has given us
    a mighty Savior[b]
from the family
    of David his servant.
70 Long ago the Lord promised
by the words
    of his holy prophets
71 to save us from our enemies
and from everyone
    who hates us.
72 God said he would be kind
to our people
and keep
    his sacred promise.
73 He told our ancestor Abraham
74 that he would rescue us
    from our enemies.
Then we could serve him
    without fear,
75 by being holy and good
    as long as we live.

76 You, my son, will be called
a prophet of God
    in heaven above.
You will go ahead of the Lord
to get everything ready
    for him.
77 You will tell his people
    that they can be saved
when their sins
    are forgiven.
78 God’s love and kindness
    will shine upon us
like the sun that rises
    in the sky.[c]
79 On us who live
in the dark shadow
    of death
this light will shine
to guide us
    into a life of peace.

80 As John grew up, God’s Spirit gave him great power. John lived in the desert until the time he was sent to the people of Israel.

The Birth of Jesus

About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books.[d] These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.[e]

Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family.

Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, and while they were there, she gave birth to her first-born[f] son. She dressed him in baby clothes[g] and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds

That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. 10 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. 11 This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12 You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.”

13 Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said:

14 “Praise God in heaven!
Peace on earth to everyone
    who pleases God.”

15 After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.

17 When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. 18 Everyone listened and was surprised. 19 But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.

20 As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said.

21 Eight days later Jesus' parents did for him what the Law of Moses commands.[h] And they named him Jesus, just as the angel had told Mary when he promised she would have a baby.

Footnotes

  1. 1.59 what the Law of Moses commands: This refers to circumcision. It is the cutting off of skin from the private part of Jewish boys eight days after birth to show that they belong to the Lord.
  2. 1.69 a mighty Savior: The Greek text has “a horn of salvation.” In the Scriptures animal horns are often a symbol of great strength.
  3. 1.78 like the sun that rises in the sky: Or “like the Messiah coming from heaven.”
  4. 2.1 names. . . listed in record books: This was done so that everyone could be made to pay taxes to the Emperor.
  5. 2.2 Quirinius was governor of Syria: It is known that Quirinius made a record of the people in A.D. 6 or 7. But the exact date of the record taking that Luke mentions is not known.
  6. 2.7 first-born: The Jewish people said that the first-born son in each of their families belonged to the Lord.
  7. 2.7 dressed him in baby clothes: The Greek text has “wrapped him in wide strips of cloth,” which was how young babies were dressed.
  8. 2.21 what the Law of Moses commands: See the note at 1.59.

Bible Gateway Recommends