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 <<  Lukas 1 >> 

1TO THEOPHILUS: Many writers have undertaken to draw up an account of the events that have taken place among us,

2following the traditions handed down to us by the original eyewitnesses and servants of the gospel.

3So I in my turn, as one who has investigated the whole course of these events in detail, have decided to write an orderly narrative for you, your excellency,

4so as to give you authentic knowledge about the matters of which you have been informed.

The coming of Christ

5IN the reign of Herod king of Judaea there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of the priesthood called after Abijah. His wife, whose name was Elizabeth, was also of priestly descent.

6Both of them were upright and devout, blamelessly observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.

7But they had no children, for Elizabeth was barren, and both were well on in years.

8Once, when it was the turn of his division and he was there to take part in the temple service,

9he was chosen by lot, by priestly custom, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer the incense;

10and at the hour of the offering the people were all assembled at prayer outside.

11There appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense.

12At this sight, Zechariah was startled and overcome by fear.

13But 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 are to name him John.

14His birth will fill you with joy and delight, and will bring gladness to many;

15for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He is never to touch wine or strong drink. From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit;

16and he will bring back many Israelites to the Lord their God.

17He 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.”

18Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.”

19The angel replied, “I am Gabriel; I stand in attendance on God, and I have been sent to speak to you and bring you this good news.

20But now, because you have not believed me, you will lose all power of speech and remain silent until the day when these things take place; at their proper time my words will be proved true.”

21Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, surprised that he was staying so long inside the sanctuary.

22When he did come out he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had had a vision. He stood there making signs to them, and remained dumb.

23When his period of duty was completed Zechariah returned home.

24His wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she lived in seclusion, thinking,

25“This is the Lord's doing; now at last he has shown me favour and taken away from me the disgrace of childlessness.”

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,

27with a message for a girl betrothed to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David; the girl's name was Mary.

28The angel went in and said to her, “Greetings, most favoured one! The Lord is with you.”

29But she was deeply troubled by what he said and wondered what this greeting could mean.

30Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for God has been gracious to you;

31you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

32He will be great, and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David,

33and he will be king over Israel for ever; his reign shall never end.”

34“How can this be?” said Mary. “I am still a virgin.”

35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason the holy child to be born will be called Son of God.

36Moreover your kinswoman Elizabeth has herself conceived a son in her old age; and she who is reputed barren is now in her sixth month,

37for God's promises can never fail.”

38“I am the Lord's servant,” said Mary; “may it be as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

39Soon afterwards Mary set out and hurried away to a town in the uplands of Judah.

40She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.

41And when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby stirred in her womb. Then Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit

42and exclaimed in a loud voice, “God's blessing is on you above all women, and his blessing is on the fruit of your womb.

43Who am I, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?

44I tell you, when your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby in my womb leapt for joy.

45Happy is she who has had faith that the Lord's promise to her would be fulfilled!”

46And Mary said: “My soul tells out the greatness of the Lord,

47my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour;

48for he has looked with favour on his servant, lowly as she is. From this day forward all generations will count me blessed,

49for the Mighty God has done great things for me. His name is holy,

50his mercy sure from generation to generation toward those who fear him.

51He has shown the might of his arm, he has routed the proud and all their schemes;

52he has brought down monarchs from their thrones, and raised on high the lowly.

53He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

54He has come to the help of Israel his servant, as he promised to our forefathers; he has not forgotten to show mercy to Abraham and his children's children for ever.”

55(1:54)

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

57WHEN the time came for Elizabeth's child to be born, she gave birth to a son.

58Her neighbours and relatives heard what great kindness the Lord had shown her, and they shared her delight.

59On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father,

60but his mother spoke up: “No!” she said. “He is to be called John.”

61“But”, they said, “there is nobody in your family who has that name.”

62They enquired of his father by signs what he would like him to be called.

63He asked for a writing tablet and to everybody's astonishment wrote, “His name is John.”

64Immediately his lips and tongue were freed and he began to speak, praising God.

65All the neighbours were overcome with awe, and throughout the uplands of Judaea the whole story became common talk.

66All who heard it were deeply impressed and said, “What will this child become?” For indeed the hand of the Lord was upon him.

67And Zechariah his father was filled with the Holy Spirit and uttered this prophecy:

68“Praise to the Lord, the God of Israel! For he has turned to his people and set them free.

69He has raised for us a strong deliverer from the house of his servant David.

70“So he promised: age after age he proclaimed by the lips of his holy prophets,

71that he would deliver us from our enemies, out of the hands of all who hate us;

72that, calling to mind his solemn covenant, he would deal mercifully with our fathers.

73“This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,

74to rescue us from enemy hands and set us free from fear, so that we might worship

75in his presence in holiness and righteousness our whole life long.

76“And you, my child, will be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will be the Lord's forerunner, to prepare his way

77and lead his people to a knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins:

78for in the tender compassion of our God the dawn from heaven will break upon us,

79to shine on those who live in darkness, under the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80As the child grew up he became strong in spirit; he lived out in the wilderness until the day when he appeared publicly before Israel.



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