Dedication to Theophilus
1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that ahave been accomplished among us,
2 bjust as those who cfrom the beginning were deyewitnesses and eministers of fthe word ghave delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write han orderly account for you, imost excellent jTheophilus, 4 that you may have kcertainty concerning the things lyou have been taught.
Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
5 mIn the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah,1 nof othe division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both prighteous before God, walking qblamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because rElizabeth was barren, and sboth were advanced in years.
8 Now twhile he was serving as priest before God when uhis division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot vto enter wthe temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people xwere praying youtside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of zthe altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and afear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for byour prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and cyou shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will drejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be egreat before the Lord. And fhe must not drink wine or strong gdrink, and ghe will be hfilled with the Holy Spirit, ieven from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and jhe will go before him kin the spirit and power of Elijah, lto turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and mthe disobedient to the wisdom of the just, nto make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
18 And Zechariah said to the angel, o“How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am pGabriel. qI stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, ryou will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in sthe temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in sthe temple. And the kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And uwhen his time of vservice was ended, he went to his home.
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, wto take away my reproach among people.”