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Many have undertaken to compile an account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, an account like those handed down to us by those who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word from the beginning. For this reason, it seemed good to me also, since I followed everything closely from the beginning, to write an orderly account to you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you were taught.

The Angel Gabriel Appears to Zechariah

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah. His wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and righteous decrees of the Lord. They did not have a child because Elizabeth was unable to bear children, and they were both well along in years. On one occasion, while Zechariah was serving as priest before God and his division was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 The whole crowd of people were praying outside the temple during the hour of the incense offering.

11 An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and overcome by fear. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son for you, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 because he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to drink wine or beer. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 He will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, to turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to prepare a people who are ready for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this, because I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years?”

19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God and was sent to speak to you in order to tell you this good news. 20 Now listen, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things happen, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at the proper time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering what was taking him so long in the temple. 22 When he did come out, he was unable to speak to them. Then they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. He kept making signs to them and remained unable to speak.

23 When the days of his priestly service were completed, he went back to his home.

24 After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived. She kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, 25 “The Lord has done this for me in the days when he looked with favor on me and took away my disgrace among the people.”

The Angel Gabriel Appears to the Virgin Mary

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin pledged in marriage to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.”[a]

29 But she was greatly troubled by the statement and was wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God. 31 Listen, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Listen, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age even though she was called barren, and this is her sixth month. 37 For nothing will be impossible for God.”

38 Then Mary said, “See, I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary got up and hurried to the hill country, to a town of Judah. 40 She entered the home of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 Just as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 She called out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 In fact, just now, as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy! 45 Blessed is she who believed, because the promises spoken to her from the Lord will be fulfilled!”

Mary’s Song

46 Then Mary said,

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
47 and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
48 because he has looked with favor on the humble state of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is
    his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones.
He has lifted up the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things, but the rich he has sent
    away empty.
54 He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring[b] forever.

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.

John the Baptist Is Born

57 When the time came for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they were rejoicing with her. 59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. They wanted to call him Zechariah after the name of the father. 60 But his mother answered, “No. He will be called John.”

61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 They made signs to his father, to see what he wanted to name him.

63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they were all amazed.

64 Immediately Zechariah’s mouth was opened, his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came on all who lived around them. In the entire hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 And everyone who heard this took it to heart, saying, “What then will this child be?” Clearly, the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zechariah’s Song

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited us and prepared redemption for his people.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
70 just as he said long ago through the mouth of his holy prophets.
71 He raised up salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
72 in order to show mercy to our fathers by remembering his holy covenant,
73 the oath which he swore to Abraham our father,
74 to grant deliverance to us from the hand of our enemies,
so that we are able to serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
because you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of God’s tender mercies,
by which the Rising Sun from on high will visit us,
79 to shine on those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

80 The child continued to grow and became strong in spirit. He lived in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.


  1. Luke 1:28 A few witnesses to the text omit this sentence. (“Witnesses to the text” mentioned in footnotes may include Greek manuscripts, lectionaries, translations, and quotations in the church fathers.)
  2. Luke 1:55 Or seed

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