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Luke Writes About Jesus’ Life

Many have ·tried to report on [set out to compile an account/narrative of] the things that ·happened [have been fulfilled/accomplished] among us [John 20:31; Acts 1:1–3; 2 Pet. 1:16–19]. They have written the same things that ·we learned from [L were handed down by] others—the ·people who saw those things [L eyewitnesses] from the beginning and ·served God by telling people his message [L were servants of the word; Acts 10:39–41; 1 John 1:1–3]. Since I myself have ·studied [investigated; followed closely] everything carefully from the beginning, most excellent [C a designation for someone with high social or political status] Theophilus, it seemed ·good [fitting] for me to write it out for you. I arranged it ·in order [or in an orderly manner], to help you know that what you have been taught is ·true [certain; reliable; John 20:31].

Zechariah and Elizabeth

During the time ·Herod ruled Judea [L of Herod, king of Judea], there was a priest named Zechariah who belonged to ·Abijah’s group [the priestly division/order of Abijah; C priests were divided into twenty-four divisions; 2 Chr. 31:2]. Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, came from the ·family [L daughters; C female descendants] of Aaron [C brother of Moses and first high priest of Israel; for a priest like Zechariah to marry a woman of priestly ancestry was a special blessing]. [L Both] Zechariah and Elizabeth ·truly did what God said was good [L were righteous before God]. They ·did [followed; walked in] everything the Lord commanded and were ·without fault [blameless] in keeping his ·law [regulations; requirements]. But they had no children, because Elizabeth ·could not have a baby [could not conceive; T was barren], and both of them were very old [Gen. 17:17; 18:11].

One day Zechariah was serving as a priest before God, because his ·group [order; division] was on duty. According to the custom of the ·priests [L priesthood], he was chosen by lot [C similar to dice; used to determine God’s will] to go into the Temple of the Lord and burn incense [1 Chr. 6:49; Heb. 9:6]. 10 ·There were a great many people [L The whole multitude of the people were] outside praying at the ·time [L hour] the incense was offered. 11 Then an angel ·of [sent by] the Lord appeared to Zechariah, standing on the right side of the incense ·table [altar]. 12 When he saw the angel, Zechariah was ·startled [shaken] and frightened. 13 But the angel said to him, “Zechariah, don’t be afraid. God has heard your ·prayer [petition]. Your wife, Elizabeth, will ·give birth to [bear for you] a son, and you will name him John. 14 He will bring you joy and ·gladness [delight], and many people will ·be happy [rejoice] because of his birth. 15 [L For; Because] John will be a great man ·for [in the eyes of; L before] the Lord. He will never drink wine or beer [C indicating he will be set apart to God for special service; Num. 6:3], and even ·from birth [or in his mother’s womb; 1:41, 44], he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16 He will help many ·people [L of the children] of Israel return to the Lord their God [1 Kin. 18:37]. 17 He will go before ·the Lord [L him] in [the] spirit and power ·like [of] Elijah. He will ·make peace between parents and [L turn the hearts of parents/fathers back to] their children and will bring those who are not obeying God back to the ·right way of thinking [or wisdom of the righteous], ·to make a people ready [L to prepare a people who are fit/ready] for the ·coming of the Lord [L Lord; Mal. 4:5–6].”

18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I know ·that what you say is true [L this]? [L For] I am an old man, and my wife is old, too [Gen. 17:17].”

19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel [C one of two named angels in Scripture (the other is Michael); Dan. 8:16; 9:21; 10:10–14]. I stand before God, who sent me to talk to you and to tell you this good news. 20 Now, ·listen [L look; T behold]! You will [L be silent and] not be able to speak until the day these things happen, because you did not believe ·what I told you [L my words]. ·But they will really happen [L …which will be fulfilled at their appointed time].”

21 Outside, the people were still waiting for Zechariah and were ·surprised that [wondering why] he was ·staying so long [delayed] in the Temple. 22 When Zechariah came outside, he could not speak to them, and they knew he had seen a vision in the Temple. He could only ·make signs [motion; gesture] to them and remained unable to speak. 23 When his ·time [period; L days] of service at the Temple was finished, he went home.

24 ·Later [L After these days], Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and ·did not go out of her house [went into seclusion; L hid herself; C the reason is unknown, perhaps for quiet worship or to avoid gawking neighbors] for five months. Elizabeth said, 25 “·Look what [This is what; L Thus] the Lord has done for me! He has [L watched over me and] taken away my disgrace among the people [C the Jewish people thought it was a disgrace for a woman not to have children; Gen. 30:23].”

An Angel Appears to Mary

26 During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel [1:19] to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin. She was ·engaged to marry [pledged to; C engagement was a binding contract between two families and could only be broken by divorce] a man named Joseph ·from the family [a descendent; L from the house] of David. ·Her [L The virgin’s] name was Mary. 28 The angel came to her and said, “·Greetings [Hello; L Rejoice; C a common greeting]! ·The Lord has blessed you and is with you [or …favored one, the Lord is with you].”

29 But Mary was ·very startled [disturbed; perplexed; troubled] by what the angel said and wondered what ·this greeting might mean [sort of greeting this was].

30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; [L for; because] ·God has shown you his grace [L you have found favor/grace with God]. 31 ·Listen [L Look; T Behold]! You will ·become pregnant [L conceive in your womb] and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus [Is. 7:14]. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of ·King David, his ancestor [L his father David]. 33 He will ·rule [reign] over the ·people [L house] of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end [2 Sam. 7:13, 16; Dan. 7:14, 27].”

34 Mary said to the angel, “How ·will [can] this happen since ·I am a virgin [L I have not known a man (sexually)]?”

35 The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come ·upon [over] you, and the power of the Most High will ·cover [overshadow] you. For this reason the ·baby will be holy and [holy one to be born] will be called the Son of God. 36 ·Now [L And look/T behold] Elizabeth, your relative, ·is also pregnant with [has also conceived] a son ·though she is very old [in her old age]. ·Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant for six months. [L And this is the sixth month for the woman they called barren!] 37 ·God can do anything […because nothing is impossible with God; or …because no word/message from God will ever fail; Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:17]!”

38 Mary said, “[L Look; T Behold] I am the ·servant [bondservant; T handmaid] of the Lord. Let this happen to me ·as you say [according to your word]!” Then the angel ·went away [left her].

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 [L In those days] Mary got up and went quickly to a town in the hills of Judea [C from Galilee in the north to southern Israel, about three or four days journey by foot]. 40 She ·came to [entered] Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the unborn baby ·inside her [in her womb] ·jumped [leaped; kicked], and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 She cried out in a loud voice, “·God has blessed you [L You are blessed] ·more than any other woman [L among women], and ·he has blessed the baby to which you will give birth [L blessed is the fruit of your womb]. 43 [L But] Why ·has this good thing happened to me [am I so honored], that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 [L For look/T behold] When I heard ·your voice [L the sound of your greeting], the baby inside ·me [my womb] ·jumped [leaped; kicked] with joy. 45 ·You are blessed because you [L Blessed is she who has] believed that what the Lord said would ·really happen [be fulfilled].”

Mary Praises God

46 Then Mary said,

“My soul ·praises [exalts; glorifies; magnifies] the Lord [1 Sam. 2:1–10];
47     my ·heart [spirit] rejoices in God my Savior [Ps. 35:9],
48 because he has ·shown his concern for [noticed; looked favorably on] his ·humble [lowly] servant girl [1 Sam. 1:11].
[L For look/T behold] From now on, all ·people [L generations] will ·say that I am [call me] blessed [Ps. 138:6],
49     because the ·Powerful [Mighty] One has done great things for me.
    His name is holy.
50 ·God will show his mercy [L His mercy is/continues] ·forever and ever [L to generations and generations]
    to those who ·worship and serve [L fear; reverence] him [Ps. 103:17].
51 He has done mighty deeds ·by his power [L with his arm; C a metaphor for strength].
    He has scattered the people who are proud
    ·and think great things about themselves [or in the schemes they devise; L in the thoughts/intentions of their hearts].
52 He has brought down ·rulers [the powerful] from their thrones
    and ·raised up [exalted] the ·humble [lowly].
53 He has filled the hungry with good things [Ps. 107:9]
    and sent the rich away ·with nothing [empty-handed].
54 He has helped his servant, the people of Israel,
    ·remembering to show them [mindful of his] mercy
55 as he promised to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to his ·children [descendants; L seed] forever [Gen. 17:7, 19].”

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

The Birth of John

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to give birth, she had a ·boy [L son]. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard how ·good [greatly merciful] the Lord was to her, and they rejoiced with her.

59 When the baby was eight days old, they came to circumcise him [Gen. 17:12]. They ·wanted [were about] to name him Zechariah because this was his father’s name, 60 but his mother said, “No! He will be named John.”

61 The people said to Elizabeth, “But no one in your family has this name.” 62 Then they made ·signs [gestures; motions] to his father to find out what he would like to name him [C indicating that Zechariah was not only mute but also deaf].

63 Zechariah ·asked [motioned] for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John,” and everyone ·was surprised [marveled; was amazed]. 64 Immediately ·Zechariah could talk again [L his mouth was opened and his tongue freed], and he began ·praising [blessing] God. 65 All their neighbors ·became alarmed [were afraid/in awe], and in all the ·mountains [hill country] of Judea people continued talking about all these things. 66 The people who heard about them ·wondered [L kept/pondered them in their hearts], saying, “What will this child [turn out to] be?” because the [L hand of the; C a metaphor for empowering presence] Lord was with him.

Zechariah Praises God

67 Then Zechariah, John’s father, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 “·Let us praise [L Blessed be] the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has ·come to help his people and has given them freedom [L visited and accomplished redemption for his people].
69 He has ·given us a powerful Savior [L raised up a horn of salvation for us; C referring to the horn of a powerful animal—a metaphor for strength; 1 Sam. 2:1, 10; Ps. 132:17; Ezek. 29:21]
    ·from the family [L in the house] of God’s servant David.
70 [L …just as] He said that he would do this
    through [L the mouth of] his holy prophets who lived long ago:
71 He promised he would save us from our enemies
    and from the ·power [L hand; C indicating controlling power or oppression] of all those who hate us.
72 He said he would give mercy to our ·ancestors [forefathers]
    and that he would remember his holy ·promise [covenant].
73 ·God promised [L The oath that he swore to] Abraham, our father [Gen. 22:16–18],
74     that he would ·save [rescue] us from the ·power [hand; v. 71] of our enemies
    so we could serve him without fear,
75 being holy and ·good [righteous] before God as long as we live.
76 “Now you, child, will be called ·a [or the] prophet of the Most High God.
    [L For] You will go before the Lord to prepare his ·way [or paths; Mal. 3:1].
77 You will ·make his people know that they will be saved [L give his people the knowledge of salvation]
    by having their sins forgiven [Jer. 31:34].
78 ·With [or Because of] the ·loving [tender] mercy of our God,
    ·a new day from heaven will dawn upon us [L the sunrise/dawn from heaven will visit us; C a metaphor for the Messiah; Mal. 4:2].
79 It will shine on those who ·live [dwell; sit] in darkness,
    in the shadow of death [Is. 9:2].
It will guide ·us [L our feet] into the path of peace [Is. 59:8].”

80 And so the child grew up and became strong ·in spirit [or in the Spirit]. John lived in the ·desert [wilderness] until the time when he ·came out to preach [appeared; was revealed] to Israel.