Many people have done their best to write a report of the things that have taken place among us. 2They wrote what we have been told by those who saw these things from the beginning and who proclaimed the message. 3And so, your Excellency, because I have carefully studied all these matters from their beginning, I thought it would be good to write an orderly account for you. 4I do this so that you will know the full truth about everything which you have been taught.
During the time when Herod was king of Judea,1.5 Judea: The term here refers to the whole land of Palestine. there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife's name was Elizabeth; she also belonged to a priestly family. 6They both lived good lives in God's sight and obeyed fully all the Lord's laws and commands. 7They had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zechariah were both very old.
8One day Zechariah was doing his work as a priest in the Temple, taking his turn in the daily service. 9According to the custom followed by the priests, he was chosen by lot to burn incense on the altar. So he went into the Temple of the Lord, 10while the crowd of people outside prayed during the hour when the incense was burnt.
11An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right of the altar where the incense was burnt. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was alarmed and felt afraid. 13But the angel said to him, “Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. You are to name him John. 14How glad and happy you will be, and how happy many others will be when he is born! 15
He will be a great man in the Lord's sight. He must not drink any wine or strong drink. From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, 16and he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17
He will go ahead of the Lord, strong and mighty like the prophet Elijah. He will bring fathers and children together again; he will turn disobedient people back to the way of thinking of the righteous; he will get the Lord's people ready for him.”
18Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know if this is so? I am an old man, and my wife is old also.”
“I am Gabriel,” the angel answered. “I stand in the presence of God, who sent me to speak to you and tell you this good news. 20But you have not believed my message, which will come true at the right time. Because you have not believed, you will be unable to speak; you will remain silent until the day my promise to you comes true.”
21In the meantime the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he was spending such a long time in the Temple. 22When he came out, he could not speak to them, and so they knew that he had seen a vision in the Temple. Unable to say a word, he made signs to them with his hands.
23When his period of service in the Temple was over, Zechariah went back home. 24Some time later his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and did not leave the house for five months. 25“Now at last the Lord has helped me,” she said. “He has taken away my public disgrace!”
26In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth. 27
He had a message for a young woman promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David. Her name was Mary. 28The angel came to her and said, “Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!”
29Mary was deeply troubled by the angel's message, and she wondered what his words meant. 30The angel said to her, “Don't be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you. 31
You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was, 33and he will be the king of the descendants of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end!”
34Mary said to the angel, “I am a virgin. How, then, can this be?”
35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and God's power will rest upon you. For this reason the holy child will be called the Son of God. 36Remember your relative Elizabeth. It is said that she cannot have children, but she herself is now six months pregnant, even though she is very old. 37
For there is nothing that God cannot do.”
38“I am the Lord's servant,” said Mary; “may it happen to me as you have said.” And the angel left her.
39Soon afterwards Mary got ready and hurried off to a town in the hill country of Judea. 40She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby moved within her. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and said in a loud voice, “You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord's mother comes to visit me? 44For as soon as I heard your greeting, the baby within me jumped with gladness. 45How happy you are to believe that the Lord's message to you will come true!”
“My heart praises the Lord;
47my soul is glad because of God my Saviour,
for he has remembered me, his lowly servant!
From now on all people will call me happy,
49because of the great things the Mighty God has done for me.
His name is holy;
50from one generation to another
he shows mercy to those who honour him.
51He has stretched out his mighty arm
and scattered the proud with all their plans.
He has brought down mighty kings from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly.
53He has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
54He has kept the promise he made to our ancestors,
and has come to the help of his servant Israel.
He has remembered to show mercy to Abraham
and to all his descendants for ever!”
56Mary stayed about three months with Elizabeth and then went back home.
57The time came for Elizabeth to have her baby, and she gave birth to a son. 58Her neighbours and relatives heard how wonderfully good the Lord had been to her, and they all rejoiced with her.
When the baby was a week old, they came to circumcise him, and they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60But his mother said, “No! His name is to be John.”
61They said to her, “But you have no relatives with that name!” 62Then they made signs to his father, asking him what name he would like the boy to have.
63Zechariah asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” How surprised they all were! 64At that moment Zechariah was able to speak again, and he started praising God. 65The neighbours were all filled with fear, and the news about these things spread through all the hill country of Judea. 66Everyone who heard of it thought about it and asked, “What is this child going to be?” For it was plain that the Lord's power was upon him.
67John's father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he spoke God's message:
68“Let us praise the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has come to the help of his people and has set them free.
69He has provided for us a mighty Saviour,
a descendant of his servant David.
70He promised through his holy prophets long ago
71that he would save us from our enemies,
from the power of all those who hate us.
72He said he would show mercy to our ancestors
and remember his sacred covenant.
73-74With a solemn oath to our ancestor Abraham
he promised to rescue us from our enemies
and allow us to serve him without fear,
75so that we might be holy and righteous before him
all the days of our life.
“You, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High God.
You will go ahead of the Lord
to prepare his road for him,
77to tell his people that they will be saved
by having their sins forgiven.
78Our God is merciful and tender.
He will cause the bright dawn of salvation to rise on us
and to shine from heaven on all those who live in the dark shadow of death,
to guide our steps into the path of peace.”
80The child grew and developed in body and spirit. He lived in the desert until the day when he appeared publicly to the people of Israel.
21At that time the Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2When this first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria. 3Everyone, then, went to register himself, each to his own town.
4Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David. Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David. 5He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. She was pregnant, 6and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby. 7She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger — there was no room for them to stay in the inn.
8There were some shepherds in that part of the country who were spending the night in the fields, taking care of their flocks. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone over them. They were terribly afraid, 10but the angel said to them, “Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. 11This very day in David's town your Saviour was born — Christ the Lord! 12And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly a great army of heaven's angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God:
14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased!”
15When the angels went away from them back into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the manger. 17When the shepherds saw him, they told them what the angel had said about the child. 18All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said. 19Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them. 20The shepherds went back, singing praises to God for all they had heard and seen; it had been just as the angel had told them.
A week later, when the time came for the baby to be circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name which the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
The time came for Joseph and Mary to perform the ceremony of purification, as the Law of Moses commanded. So they took the child to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, 23
as it is written in the law of the Lord: “Every firstborn male is to be dedicated to the Lord.” 24They also went to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, as required by the law of the Lord.
25At that time there was a man named Simeon living in Jerusalem. He was a good, God-fearing man and was waiting for Israel to be saved. The Holy Spirit was with him 26and had assured him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's promised Messiah. 27Led by the Spirit, Simeon went into the Temple. When the parents brought the child Jesus into the Temple to do for him what the Law required, 28Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God:
29“Now, Lord, you have kept your promise,
and you may let your servant go in peace.
30With my own eyes I have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples:
A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles
and bring glory to your people Israel.”
33The child's father and mother were amazed at the things Simeon said about him. 34Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against 35and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.”
36-37There was a very old prophet, a widow named Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for only seven years and was now 84 years old.2.36–37 was now 84 years old; or had been a widow 84 years. She never left the Temple; day and night she worshipped God, fasting and praying. 38That very same hour she arrived and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free.
When Joseph and Mary had finished doing all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their home town of Nazareth in Galilee. 40The child grew and became strong; he was full of wisdom, and God's blessings were upon him.
Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. 42When Jesus was twelve years old, they went to the festival as usual. 43When the festival was over, they started back home, but the boy Jesus stayed in Jerusalem. His parents did not know this; 44they thought that he was with the group, so they travelled a whole day and then started looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45They did not find him, so they went back to Jerusalem looking for him. 46On the third day they found him in the Temple, sitting with the Jewish teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47All who heard him were amazed at his intelligent answers. 48His parents were astonished when they saw him, and his mother said to him, “My son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been terribly worried trying to find you.”
49He answered them, “Why did you have to look for me? Didn't you know that I had to be in my Father's house?” 50But they did not understand his answer.
51So Jesus went back with them to Nazareth, where he was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52
Jesus grew both in body and in wisdom, gaining favour with God and people.
31It was the fifteenth year of the rule of the Emperor Tiberius; Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip was ruler of the territory of Iturea and Trachonitis; Lysanias was ruler of Abilene, 2and Annas and Caiaphas were high priests. At that time the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. 3So John went throughout the whole territory of the River Jordan, preaching, “Turn away from your sins and be baptized, and God will forgive your sins.”
As it is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
“Someone is shouting in the desert:
‘Get the road ready for the Lord;
make a straight path for him to travel!
5Every valley must be filled up,
every hill and mountain levelled off.
The winding roads must be made straight,
and the rough paths made smooth.
6The whole human race will see God's salvation!’ ”
Crowds of people came out to John to be baptized by him. “You snakes!” he said to them. “Who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send? 8
Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins. And don't start saying among yourselves that Abraham is your ancestor. I tell you that God can take these stones and make descendants for Abraham! 9
The axe is ready to cut down the trees at the roots; every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire.”
10The people asked him, “What are we to do, then?”
11He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none, and whoever has food must share it.”
Some tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what are we to do?”
13“Don't collect more than is legal,” he told them.
14Some soldiers also asked him, “What about us? What are we to do?”
He said to them, “Don't take money from anyone by force or accuse anyone falsely. Be content with your pay.”
15People's hopes began to rise, and they began to wonder whether John perhaps might be the Messiah. 16So John said to all of them, “I baptize you with water, but someone is coming who is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17He has his winnowing shovel with him, to thresh out all the grain and gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out.”
18In many different ways John preached the Good News to the people and urged them to change their ways. 19
But John reprimanded Herod, the governor, because he had married Herodias, his brother's wife, and had done many other evil things. 20Then Herod did an even worse thing by putting John in prison.
21After all the people had been baptized, Jesus also was baptized. While he was praying, heaven was opened, 22
and the Holy Spirit came down upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my own dear Son. I am pleased with you.”
23When Jesus began his work, he was about thirty years old. He was the son, so people thought, of Joseph, who was the son of Heli, 24the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 33the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Kenan, 38the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.