1 THE AUTHOR TO THEOPHILUS: Many writers have undertaken to draw up an account of the events that have happened among us, 2 following the traditions handed down to us by the original eyewitnesses and servants of the Gospel. 3 And so I in my turn, your Excellency, as one who has gone over the whole course of these events in detail, have decided to write a connected narrative for you, 4 so as to give you authentic knowledge about the matters of which you have been informed.
5 IN THE DAYS of Herod king of Judaea there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of the priesthood called after Abijah. His wife also was of priestly descent; her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both of them were upright and devout, blamelessly observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. 7 But they had no children, for Elizabeth was barren, and both were well on in years.
8 Once, when it was the turn of his division and he was there to take part in divine service, 9 it fell to his lot, by priestly custom, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer the incense; 10 and the whole congregation was at prayer outside. It was the hour of the incense-offering. 11 There appeared to him an angel of 11 the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense. 12 At this sight, Zechariah was startled, and fear overcame him. 13 But the angel said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard: your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. 14 Your heart will thrill with joy and many will be glad that he was born; 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He shall never touch wine or strong drink. 16 From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit; and he will bring back many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will go before him as forerunner, possessed by the spirit and power of Elijah, to reconcile father and child, to convert the rebellious to the ways of the righteous, to prepare a people that shall be fit for the Lord.'
18 Zechariah said to the angel, 'How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.' 19 The angel replied, 'I am Gabriel; I stand in attendance upon God, and I have been sent to speak to you and bring you this good news. 20 But now listen: you will lose your powers of speech, and remain silent until the day when these things happen to you, because you have not believed me, though at their proper time my words will be proved true.'
21 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, surprised that he was staying so long inside. 22 When he did come out he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had had a vision in the sanctuary. He stood there making signs to them, and remained dumb.
23 When his period of duty was completed Zechariah returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she lived in seclusion, thinking, 'This is the Lord's doing; 25 now at last he has deigned to take away my reproach among men.'
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 with a message for a girl betrothed to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David; the girl's name was Mary. 28 The angel went in and said to her, 'Greetings, most favoured one! The Lord is with you.' 29 But she was deeply troubled by what he said and wondered what this greeting might mean. 30 Then the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for God has been gracious to you; 31 you shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great; he will bear the title "Son of the Most High"; the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David, and he will be king over Israel for ever; his reign shall never end.' 33 and he will be king over Israel for ever; his reign shall never end.' 34 'How can this be,' said Mary, 'when I have no husband?' 35 The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy child to be bom will be called "Son of God". 36 Moreover your kinswoman Elizabeth has herself conceived a son in her old age; and she who is reputed barren is now in her sixth month, 37 for God's promises can never fail.' 38 'Here am I,' said Mary; 'I am the Lord's servant; as you have spoken, so be it.' Then the angel left her.
39 About this time Mary set out and went straight to a town in the uplands of Judah. 40 She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby stirred in her womb. Then Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried aloud, 42 'God's blessing is on you above all women, and his blessing is on the fruit of your womb. 43 Who am I, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 I tell you, when your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby in my womb leapt for joy. 45 How happy is she who has had faith that the Lord's promise would be fulfilled!'
46 And Mary said:
His name is Holy;
50 his mercy sure from generation to generation
toward those who fear him;
51 the deeds his own right arm has done disclose his might:
the arrogant of heart and mind he has put to rout,
52 he has torn imperial powers from their thrones,
but the humble have been lifted high.
53 The hungry he has satisfied with good things,
the rich sent empty away.
54 He has ranged himself at the side of Israel his servant;
55 firm in his promise to our forefathers,
he has not forgotten to show mercy to Abraham
and his children's children, for ever.' 56 Mary stayed with her about three months and then returned home.
57 NOW THE TIME came for Elizabeth's child to be born, and she gave birth to a son. 58 When her neighbours and relatives heard what great favour the Lord had shown her, they were as delighted as she was. 59 Then on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they were going to name him Zechariah so after his father. 60 But his mother spoke up and said, 'No! he is to be called John.' 61 'But', they said, 'there is nobody in your family who has that name.' 62 They inquired of his father by signs what he would like him to be called. 63 He asked for a writing-tablet and to the astonishment of all wrote down, 'His name is John.' 64 Immediately his lips and tongue were freed and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbours were struck with awe, and everywhere in the uplands of Judaea the whole story became common talk. 66 All who heard it were deeply impressed and said, 'What will this child become?' For indeed the hand of the Lord was upon him.
67 And Zechariah his father was filled with the Holy Spirit and uttered this prophecy:
70 So he promised: age after age he proclaimed
by the lips of his holy prophets,
71 that he would deliver us from our enemies,
out of the hands of all who hate us;
72 that he would deal mercifully with our fathers,
calling to mind his solemn covenant.
73 Such was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
74 to rescue us from enemy hands,
and grant us, free from fear,
to worship him 75 with a holy worship,
with uprightness of heart,
in his presence, our whole life long.
76 And you, my child, you shall be called Prophet of the Highest,
for you will be the Lord's forerunner, to prepare his way
77 and lead his people to salvation through knowledge of him,
by the forgiveness of their sins:
78 for in the tender compassion of our God
the morning sun from heaven will rise upon us,
79 to shine on those who live in darkness, under the cloud of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.'
1 IN THOSE DAYS a decree was issued by the Emperor Augustus for a general registration throughout the Roman world. 2 This was the first registration of its kind; it took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 For this purpose everyone made his way to his own town; 4 (4-5) and so Joseph went up to Judaea from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to be registered at the city of David, called Bethlehem, because he was of the house of David by descent; 5 and with him went Mary who was betrothed to him. She was pregnant, 6 and while they were there the time came for her child to be born, 7 and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him round, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them to lodge in the house.
8 Now in this same district there were shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch through the night over their flock, 9 when suddenly there stood before them an angel of the Lord, and the splendour of the Lord shone round them. 10 They were terror-struck, but the angel said, 'Do not be afraid; I have good news for you: there is great joy coming to the whole people. 11 Today in the city of David a deliverer has been born to you - the Messiah, the Lord. 12 And this is your sign: you will find a baby lying all wrapped up, in a manger.' 13 All at once there was with the angel a great company of the heavenly host, singing the praises of God:
21 Eight days later the time came to circumcise him, and he was given the name Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived.
22 Then, after their purification had been completed in accordance with the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as prescribed in the law of the Lord: 'Every first-born male shall be deemed to belong to the Lord'), 24 and also to make the offering as stated in the law of the Lord: 'A pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons.'
25 There was at that time in Jerusalem a man called Simeon. This man was upright and devout, one who watched and waited for the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been disclosed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord's Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary under the Law, 28 he took him in his arms, praised God, and said:
36 There was also a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was a very old woman, who had lived seven years with her husband after she was first married, 37 and then alone as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshipped day and night, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up at that very moment, she returned thanks to God; and she talked about the child to all who were looking for the liberation of Jerusalem.
39 When they had done everything prescribed in the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew big and strong and full of wisdom; and God's favour was upon him.
41 Now it was the practice of his parents to go to Jerusalem every year for the Passover festival; 42 and when he was twelve, they made the pilgrimage as usual. 43 When the festive season was over and they started for home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. 44 His parents did not know of this; but thinking that he was with the party they journeyed on for a whole day, and only then did they begin looking for him among their friends and relations. 45 As they could not find him they returned to Jerusalem to look for him; 46 and after three days they found him sitting in the temple surrounded by the teachers, listening to them and putting questions; 47 and all who heard him were amazed at his intelligence and the answers he gave. 48 His parents were astonished to see him there, and his mother said to him, 'My son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.' 49 'What made you search?' he said. 'Did you not know that I was bound to be in my Father's house?' 50 But they did not understand what he meant. 51 Then he went back with them to Nazareth, and continued to be under their authority; his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. 52 As Jesus grew up he advanced in wisdom and in favour with God and men.
1 IN THE FIFTEENTH YEAR of the Emperor Tiberius,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea,
when Herod was prince of Galilee,
his brother Philip prince of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias prince of Abilene,
2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
3 And he went all over the Jordan valley proclaiming a baptism in token of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the prophecies of Isaiah:
10 The people asked him, 'Then what are we to do?' 11 He replied, 'The man with two shirts must share with him who has none, and anyone who has food must do the same.' 12 Among those who came to be baptized were tax-gatherers, and they said to him, 'Master, what are we to do?' 13 He told them, 'Exact no more than the assessment.' 14 Soldiers on service also asked him, 'And what of us?' To them he said, 'No bullying; no blackmail; make do with your pay!'
15 The people were on the tiptoe of expectation, all wondering about John, whether perhaps he was the Messiah, 16 but he spoke out and said to them all, 'I baptize you with water; but there is one to come who is mightier than I. I am not fit to unfasten his shoes. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His shovel is ready in his hand, to winnow his threshing-floor and gather the wheat into his granary; but he will bum the chaff on a fire that can never go out.' 18 In this and many other ways he made his appeal to the people and announced the good news. 19 But Prince Herod, when he was rebuked by him over the affair of his brother's wife Herodias and for his other misdeeds, 20 crowned them all by shutting John up in prison.
21 DURING A GENERAL BAPTISM of the people, when Jesus too had been baptized and was praying, heaven opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove;
and there came a voice from heaven,
1 Full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan, 2 and for forty days was led by the Spirit up and down the wilderness and tempted by the devil. All that time he had nothing to eat, and at the end of it he was famished. 3 The devil said to him, 'If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.' 4 Jesus answered, 'Scripture says, "Man cannot live on bread alone."'
5 Next the devil led him up and showed him in a flash all the kingdoms of the world. 6 'All this dominion will I give to you,' he said, 'and the glory that goes with it; for it has been put in my hands and I can give it to anyone I choose. 7 You have only to do homage to me and it shall all be yours.' 8 Jesus answered him, 'Scripture says, "You shall do homage to the Lord your God and worship him alone."'
9 The devil took him to Jerusalem and set him on the parapet of the temple. 'If you are the Son of God,' he said, 'throw yourself down; 10 for Scripture says, "He will give his angels orders to take care of you", 11 and again, "They will support you in their arms for fear you should strike your foot against a stone."' 12 Jesus answered him, 'It has been said, "You are not to test the Lord your God."'
13 So, having come to the end of all his temptations, the devil departed, biding his time.