Seeing that many did take in hand to set in order a narration of the matters that have been fully assured among us,
as they did deliver to us, who from the beginning became eye-witnesses, and officers of the Word, --
it seemed good also to me, having followed from the first after all things exactly, to write to thee in order, most noble Theophilus,
that thou mayest know the certainty of the things wherein thou wast instructed.
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest, by name Zacharias, of the course of Abijah, and his wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elisabeth;
and they were both righteous before God, going on in all the commands and righteousnesses of the Lord blameless,
and they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and both were advanced in their days.
And it came to pass, in his acting as priest, in the order of his course before God,
according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot was to make perfume, having gone into the sanctuary of the Lord,
and all the multitude of the people were praying without, at the hour of the perfume.
And there appeared to him a messenger of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of the perfume,
and Zacharias, having seen, was troubled, and fear fell on him;
and the messenger said unto him, `Fear not, Zacharias, for thy supplication was heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear a son to thee, and thou shalt call his name John,
and there shall be joy to thee, and gladness, and many at his birth shall joy,
for he shall be great before the Lord, and wine and strong drink he may not drink, and of the Holy Spirit he shall be full, even from his mother's womb;
and many of the sons of Israel he shall turn to the Lord their God,
and he shall go before Him, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn hearts of fathers unto children, and disobedient ones to the wisdom of righteous ones, to make ready for the Lord, a people prepared.'
And Zacharias said unto the messenger, `Whereby shall I know this? for I am aged, and my wife is advanced in her days?'
And the messenger answering said to him, `I am Gabriel, who have been standing near before God, and I was sent to speak unto thee, and to proclaim these good news to thee,
and lo, thou shalt be silent, and not able to speak, till the day that these things shall come to pass, because thou didst not believe my words, that shall be fulfilled in their season.'
And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and wondering at his tarrying in the sanctuary,
and having come out, he was not able to speak to them, and they perceived that a vision he had seen in the sanctuary, and he was beckoning to them, and did remain dumb.
And it came to pass, when the days of his service were fulfilled, he went away to his house,
and after those days, his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying--
`Thus hath the Lord done to me, in days in which He looked upon me, to take away my reproach among men.'
And in the sixth month was the messenger Gabriel sent by God, to a city of Galilee, the name of which is Nazareth,
to a virgin, betrothed to a man, whose name is Joseph, of the house of David, and the name of the virgin is Mary.
And the messenger having come in unto her, said, `Hail, favoured one, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women;'
and she, having seen, was troubled at his word, and was reasoning of what kind this salutation may be.
And the messenger said to her, `Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God;
and lo, thou shalt conceive in the womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and call his name Jesus;
he shall be great, and Son of the Highest he shall be called, and the Lord God shall give him the throne of David his father,
and he shall reign over the house of Jacob to the ages; and of his reign there shall be no end.'
And Mary said unto the messenger, `How shall this be, seeing a husband I do not know?'
And the messenger answering said to her, `The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore also the holy-begotten thing shall be called Son of God;
and lo, Elisabeth, thy kinswoman, she also hath conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month to her who was called barren;
because nothing shall be impossible with God.'
And Mary said, `Lo, the maid-servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to thy saying,' and the messenger went away from her.
And Mary having arisen in those days, went to the hill-country, with haste, to a city of Judea,
and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe did leap in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,
and spake out with a loud voice, and said, `Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb;
and whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord might come unto me?
for, lo, when the voice of thy salutation came to my ears, leap in gladness did the babe in my womb;
and happy is she who did believe, for there shall be a completion to the things spoken to her from the Lord.'
And Mary said, `My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit was glad on God my Saviour,
Because He looked on the lowliness of His maid-servant, For, lo, henceforth call me happy shall all the generations,
For He who is mighty did to me great things, And holy is His name,
And His kindness is to generations of generations, To those fearing Him,
He did powerfully with His arm, He scattered abroad the proud in the thought of their heart,
He brought down the mighty from thrones, And He exalted the lowly,
The hungry He did fill with good, And the rich He sent away empty,
He received again Israel His servant, To remember kindness,
As He spake unto our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed--to the age.'
And Mary remained with her about three months, and turned back to her house.
And to Elisabeth was the time fulfilled for her bringing forth, and she bare a son,
and the neighbours and her kindred heard that the Lord was making His kindness great with her, and they were rejoicing with her.
And it came to pass, on the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were calling him by the name of his father, Zacharias,
and his mother answering said, `No, but he shall be called John.'
And they said unto her--`There is none among thy kindred who is called by this name,'
and they were making signs to his father, what he would wish him to be called,
and having asked for a tablet, he wrote, saying, `John is his name;' and they did all wonder;
and his mouth was opened presently, and his tongue, and he was speaking, praising God.
And fear came upon all those dwelling around them, and in all the hill-country of Judea were all these sayings spoken of,
and all who heard did lay them up in their hearts, saying, `What then shall this child be?' and the hand of the Lord was with him.
And Zacharias his father was filled with the Holy Spirit, and did prophesy, saying,
`Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, Because He did look upon, And wrought redemption for His people,
And did raise an horn of salvation to us, In the house of David His servant,
As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, Which have been from the age;
Salvation from our enemies, And out of the hand of all hating us,
To do kindness with our fathers, And to be mindful of His holy covenant,
An oath that He sware to Abraham our father,
To give to us, without fear, Out of the hand of our enemies having been delivered,
To serve Him, in holiness and righteousness Before Him, all the days of our life.
And thou, child, Prophet of the Highest Shalt thou be called; For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, To prepare His ways.
To give knowledge of salvation to His people In remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercies of our God, In which the rising from on high did look upon us,
To give light to those sitting in darkness and death-shade, To guide our feet to a way of peace.'
And the child grew, and was strengthened in spirit, and he was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.