Zechariah and Elizabeth

Luke 5:5-66 

During the time when Herod ruled Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah. He belonged to Abijah’s group. His wife came from the family of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Zechariah and Elizabeth were both good people who pleased God. They did everything the Lord commanded, always following his instructions completely. But they had no children. Elizabeth could not have a baby, and both of them were very old.

Zechariah was serving as a priest before God for his group. It was his group’s time to serve. The priests always chose one priest to offer the incense, and Zechariah was the one chosen this time. So he went into the Temple of the Lord to offer the incense. 10 There was a large crowd outside praying at the time the incense was offered.

11 Then, on the right side of the incense table, an angel of the Lord came and stood before Zechariah. 12 When he saw the angel, Zechariah was upset and very afraid. 13 But the angel said to him, “Zechariah, don’t be afraid. Your prayer has been heard by God. Your wife Elizabeth will give birth to a baby boy, and you will name him John. 14 You will be very happy, and many others will share your joy over his birth. 15 He will be a great man for the Lord. He will never drink wine or beer. Even before he is born, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

16 “John will help many people of Israel return to the Lord their God. 17 John himself will go ahead of the Lord and make people ready for his coming. He will be powerful like Elijah and will have the same spirit. He will make peace between fathers and their children. He will cause people who are not obeying God to change and start thinking the way they should.”

18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I know that what you say is true? I am an old man, and my wife is also old.”

19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, the one who always stands ready before God. He sent me to talk to you and to tell you this good news. 20 Now, listen! You will not be able to talk until the day when these things happen. You will lose your speech because you did not believe what I told you. But everything I said will really happen.”

21 Outside, the people were still waiting for Zechariah. They were surprised that he was staying so long in the Temple. 22 Then Zechariah came outside, but he could not speak to them. So the people knew that he had seen a vision inside the Temple. He was not able to speak, so he could only make signs to the people. 23 When his time of service was finished, he went home.

24 Later, Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth became pregnant. So she did not go out of her house for five months. She said, 25 “Look what the Lord has done for me! He decided to help me. Now people will stop thinking there is something wrong with me.”

The Virgin Mary

26-27 During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. 28 The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord is with you; you are very special to him.”

29 But Mary was very confused about what the angel said. She wondered, “What does this mean?”

30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. 31 Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. 33 He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen? I am still a virgin.”

35 The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High God will cover you. The baby will be holy and will be called the Son of God. 36 And here’s something else: Your relative Elizabeth is pregnant. She is very old, but she is going to have a son. Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant now for six months. 37 God can do anything!”

38 Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let this thing you have said happen to me!” Then the angel went away.

Mary Visits Zechariah and Elizabeth

39 Mary got up and went quickly to a town in the hill country of Judea. 40 She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the unborn baby inside her jumped, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 In a loud voice she said to Mary, “God has blessed you more than any other woman. And God has blessed the baby you will have. 43 You are the mother of my Lord, and you have come to me! Why has something so good happened to me? 44 When I heard your voice, the baby inside me jumped with joy. 45 Great blessings are yours because you believed what the Lord said to you! You believed this would happen.”

Mary Praises God

46 Then Mary said,

“I praise the Lord with all my heart.
      47     I am very happy because God is my Savior.
      48 I am not important,
    but he has shown his care for me, his lowly servant.
From now until the end of time,
    people will remember how much God blessed me.
      49 Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me.
    His name is very holy.
      50 He always gives mercy
    to those who worship him.
      51 He reached out his arm and showed his power.
    He scattered those who are proud and think great things about themselves.
      52 He brought down rulers from their thrones
    and raised up the humble people.
      53 He filled the hungry with good things,
    but he sent the rich away with nothing.
      54 God has helped Israel—the people he chose to serve him.
    He did not forget his promise to give us his mercy.
       55 He has done what he promised to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and his children forever.”

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

The Birth of John

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to give birth, she had a boy. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord was very good to her, and they were happy for her.

59 When the baby was eight days old, they came to circumcise him. They wanted to name him Zechariah because this was his father’s name. 60 But his mother said, “No, he will be named John.”

61 The people said to Elizabeth, “But no one in your family has that name.” 62 Then they made signs to his father, “What would you like to name him?”

63 Zechariah asked for something to write on. Then he wrote, “His name is John.” Everyone was surprised. 64 Then Zechariah could talk again, and he began praising God. 65 And all their neighbors were afraid. In all the hill country of Judea, people continued talking about these things. 66 Everyone who heard about these things wondered about them. They thought, “What will this child be?” They could see that the Lord was with him.

Luke 3:7-18

Crowds of people came to be baptized by John. But he said to them, “You are all snakes! Who warned you to run from God’s judgment that is coming? Change your hearts! And show by your lives that you have changed. I know what you are about to say—‘but Abraham is our father!’ That means nothing. I tell you that God can make children for Abraham from these rocks! The ax is now ready to cut down the trees.[a] Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 The people asked John, “What should we do?”

11 He answered, “If you have two shirts, share with someone who does not have one. If you have food, share that too.”

12 Even the tax collectors came to John. They wanted to be baptized. They said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?”

13 He told them, “Don’t take more taxes from people than you have been ordered to collect.”

14 The soldiers asked him, “What about us? What should we do?”

He said to them, “Don’t use force or lies to make people give you money. Be happy with the pay you get.”

15 Everyone was hoping for the Messiah to come, and they wondered about John. They thought, “Maybe he is the Messiah.”

16 John’s answer to this was, “I baptize you in water, but there is someone coming later who is able to do more than I can. I am not good enough to be the slave who unties his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 He will come ready to clean the grain.[b] He will separate the good grain from the straw, and he will put the good part into his barn. Then he will burn the useless part with a fire that cannot be stopped.” 18 John said many other things like this to encourage the people to change, and he told them the Good News.


  1. Luke 3:9 trees Meaning the people who don’t obey God. They are like “trees” that will be cut down.
  2. Luke 3:17 clean the grain Meaning that Jesus will separate the good people from those who are bad.

John Chapter 1

Christ Comes to the World

Before the world began, the Word[a] was there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was there with God in the beginning. Everything was made through him, and nothing was made without him. In him there was life, and that life was a light for the people of the world. The light[b] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not defeated[c] it.

There was a man named John, who was sent by God. He came to tell people about the light. Through him all people could hear about the light and believe. John was not the light. But he came to tell people about the light. The true light was coming into the world. This is the true light that gives light to all people.

10 The Word was already in the world. The world was made through him, but the world did not know him. 11 He came to the world that was his own. And his own people did not accept him. 12 But some people did accept him. They believed in him, and he gave them the right to become children of God. 13 They became God’s children, but not in the way babies are usually born. It was not because of any human desire or plan. They were born from God himself.

14 The Word became a man and lived among us. We saw his divine greatness—the greatness that belongs to the only Son of the Father. The Word was full of grace and truth. 15 John told people about him. He said loudly, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘The one who is coming after me is greater than I am, because he was living before I was even born.’”

16 Yes, the Word was full of grace and truth, and from him we all received one blessing after another.[d] 17 That is, the law was given to us through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The only Son is the one who has shown us what God is like. He is himself God and is very close to the Father.[e]

John Tells About the Messiah

19 The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent some priests and Levites to John to ask him, “Who are you?” He told them the truth. 20 Without any hesitation he said openly and plainly, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

He answered, “No, I am not Elijah.”

They asked, “Are you the Prophet[f]?”

He answered, “No, I am not the Prophet.”

22 Then they said, “Who are you? Tell us about yourself. Give us an answer to tell the people who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John told them the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“I am the voice of someone shouting in the desert:
    ‘Make a straight road ready for the Lord.’”

24 These Jews were sent from the Pharisees. 25 They said to John, “You say you are not the Messiah. You say you are not Elijah or the Prophet. Then why do you baptize people?”

26 John answered, “I baptize people with water. But there is someone here with you that you don’t know. 27 He is the one who is coming later. I am not good enough to be the slave who unties the strings on his sandals.”

28 These things all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan River. This is where John was baptizing people.

Jesus, the Lamb of God

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God. He takes away the sins of the world! 30 This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘There is a man coming after me who is greater than I am, because he was living even before I was born.’ 31 I did not know who he was. But I came baptizing people with water so that Israel could know that he is the Messiah.[g]

32-34 Then John said this for everyone to hear: “I also did not know who the Messiah was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down and rest on a man. He is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen this happen. I saw the Spirit come down from heaven like a dove and rest on this man. So this is what I tell people: ‘He is the Son of God.’[h]


  1. John 1:1 Word The Greek word is “ logos,” meaning any kind of communication. It could be translated “message.” Here, it describes Jesus Christ before he was sent to earth as a human being, which is the way God chose to tell the world about himself. Also in verses 10, 14, 16.
  2. John 1:5 light Meaning Christ, the Word, who brought to the world understanding about God. Also in verse 7.
  3. John 1:5 defeated Or “understood.”
  4. John 1:16 one blessing after another Literally, “grace in place of grace.”
  5. John 1:18 The only Son … Father Or more literally, “The only Son, God, who is very close to the Father, has shown us what he is like.” Some other Greek copies say, “The only Son is very close to the Father and has shown us what he is like.”
  6. John 1:21 Prophet They probably meant the prophet that God told Moses he would send. See Deut. 18:15-19. Also in verse 24.
  7. John 1:31 so that … the Messiah Literally, “so that he might be revealed as the Messiah to Israel.” See “Messiah” in the Word List.
  8. John 1:32 He is the Son of God Some very early Greek copies have “He is the chosen one of God.”