WPNT(i) 1 Given that many have undertaken to set in order a narrative concerning those things that really did take place among us, 2 just as those who became eyewitnesses, from the beginning, and ministers of the Word delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, most excellent Theophilus, having taken careful note of everything from Above, to write to you with precision and in sequence, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things in which you were instructed. 5 In the days of Herod, the king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the priestly division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron and her name was Elizabeth. 6 They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren; and they both were well advanced in years. 8 Now it happened, as he was officiating as priest before God in the order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, that his lot was to burn incense, upon entering the sanctuary of the Lord; 10 and the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense; 12 and upon seeing him Zacharias was shaken, and a fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, because your prayer was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and exultation, and many will rejoice over his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he must not drink either wine or strong drink; indeed, he will be filled with Holy Spirit already from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God; 17 in fact he himself will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of fathers to children’ and the disobedient to the mind-set of the righteous, to prepare a people made ready for the Lord.” 18 But Zacharias said to the angel: “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” 19 So in answer the angel said to him: “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; I was sent to speak to you and bring you this good news. 20 Now look, you will be silent and not able to speak until the day in which these things happen, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” 21 Now the people were waiting for Zacharias and wondering at his delay in the sanctuary. 22 But when he came out he was unable to speak to them, and they understood that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary—he kept gesturing to them while remaining mute. 23 And so, when the days of his service were fulfilled, he took off for home. 24 Well after those days his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and stayed in seclusion five months. She kept saying, 25 “So that’s what the Lord has done for me in the days when He concerned Himself to take away my reproach among the people!” 26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town of Galilee named Natsareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 So upon entering where she was the angel said, “Rejoice, recipient of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But upon seeing him she was perplexed at his word and was trying to figure out what sort of greeting it might be. 30 The angel said to her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God. 31 Now then, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called ‘Son of the Most High’; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob into the ages; indeed, of His kingdom there will be no end!” 34 So Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 In answer the angel said to her: “Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will hover over you; precisely for this reason the holy One who is to be born will be called ‘Son of God’! 36 Furthermore, your relative Elizabeth, she has actually conceived a son in her old age and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren; 37 because any word spoken by God will be possible.” 38 So Mary said: “Yes, I am the Lord’s slave! Let it happen to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. 39 Then Mary quickly got ready and went into the hill country in those days, to a town of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and saluted Elizabeth. 41 Well it happened that as Elizabeth heard Mary’s salutation the babe bounced up and down in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a great voice and said: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! 43 Why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 Yes indeed, because as the sound of your salutation came into my ears the babe bounced up and down in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, because there will be a fulfillment of the things that have been spoken to her from the Lord.” 46 So Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit has exulted over God my Savior, 48 in that He paid attention to the humble station of His slave (f). Yes indeed, because from now on all generations will declare me to be highly favored, 49 in that the Mighty One did sublime things for me, and Holy is His name. 50 His mercy is for generations of generations to those fearing Him. 51 He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has dispersed the arrogant in the reasoning of their hearts. 52 He has dethroned rulers and exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. 54 He has taken the part of His servant Israel, in remembrance of mercy, 55 just as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed while there is an age.” 56 So Mary stayed with her about three months, and returned to her house. 57 Now the time for Elizabeth to give birth was completed and she bore a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had used His great mercy with her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child, and they started calling him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother reacted and said, “Absolutely not; he shall be called John!” 61 So they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name”. 62 So they started motioning to his father, as to what he would have him called. 63 Asking for a writing tablet he wrote this: “His name is John!” They all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed and he started to speak, blessing God. 65 (Well a fear came on all who lived around them; and all these sayings kept being talked about throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard kept them in their hearts saying, “What then will this child be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.) 67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with Holy Spirit and prophesied saying: 68 “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, because He has visited and provided redemption for His people; 69 and has raised up a horn of deliverance for us in the house of His servant David 70 — just as He spoke through the mouth of His holy prophets from antiquity— 71 deliverance from our enemies and out of the hand of all who hate us; 72 to use mercy with our fathers, even to remember His Holy covenant, 73 the oath that He swore to our father Abraham; 74 to grant to us (having been rescued from the hand of our enemies) to serve Him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. 76 “And you, child, will be called Prophet of the Most High, because you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, 77 to give a knowledge of salvation to His people by the forgiveness of their sins, 78 through the merciful compassions of our God, with which the divine Dawn has contemplated us, 79 to give light to those who are sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” 80 So the child kept growing and being strengthened in spirit, and he stayed in uninhabited areas until the day of his manifestation to Israel.