(Tap footnote to read it. Old Testament quotations are underlined. "Love" with a caret ("^love") is agapé.1"agapé" The Greek words ἀγάπη (agapé, noun), and ἀγαπάω (agapaó; verb) are typically translated "love". However, unlike our English word "love" – which primarily speaks of affection and feelings – agapé centers on choice and behavior. It’s the "love" based on will, choice, behavior, and action; not feelings. (Feelings-based love is the Greek word φιλέω (phileó), which properly means "brotherly love/affection".) Thus, you could hate someone passionately and still treat him with "agapé". Agapé "love" is best understood as the pursuit of what is most beneficial to someone or something, regardless of the cost to yourself or the type of response received from the person or thing. It can also indicate a preference for someone or something over other things. )
- Insomuch as many put their hand to composing a complete narrative concerning the matters which have been accomplished among us,
- just as the men who were eyewitnesses and servants from the beginning delivered the word to us
- it also seemed good to me – having carefully *investigated all things from the beginning – to write them to you in consecutive order, noblest Theophilus,
- so you might know the message about which you were orally instructed with reliability.
John the Baptizer’s birth foretold
- In the days of King Herod, there was a Judean priest named Zechariah from Abijah’s division of priests, and his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
- And both were righteous in the sight of God, walking blameless in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.
- And there was no child for them because Elizabeth was barren and both of them were *advanced in their years.
- Now it happened that he was to serve as a priest in the presence of God in the order of his division of priests.
- According to the custom of the priesthood, he obtained by lot to burn incense after having entered into the temple of the Lord.
- And all the multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
- And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, *standing to the right of the altar of incense.
- And having seen him, Zechariah was deeply shaken and fear fell upon him.
- And the angel told him: “Don’t fear Zechariah, because your prayer was heard and your wife Elizabeth will bear a son for you, and you shall call his name John.
- “And he will be a source of joy and ecstatic delight for you, and many will rejoice at his birth,
- “for he will be great in the Lord’s sight, and he definitely shouldn’t drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb.
- “And he will return many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.
- “And he will go before Him in Elijah’s power and spirit to return the father’s hearts to children,1quotation/allusion to Malachi4:5-6 and the disobedient to the prudence of the righteous, to make ready a people *prepared for the Lord.”
- And Zechariah said to the angel: “By what sign will I know this? For I’m an old man and my wife is *advanced in her years.
- And answering, the angel told him: “I am Gabriel who has stood before God, and I was sent to you to announce this good news to you.
- “And behold, you will be silent and not able to speak until that day when these things happen, because you didn’t believe my words which will be fulfilled in their season.”
- And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and were marveling at the delay in his temple service.
- And having gone out, he wasn’t able to speak to them. And they recognized that he has seen a vision in the temple. And he was signing to them and was remaining mute.
- And it happened that when the days of his priestly service were fulfilled, he departed to his house.
- Now after these days, his wife Elizabeth conceived and was hiding herself for five months, saying:
- “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days in which He favorably regarded me, to cut off my disgrace among men.”
Jesus birth foretold
- Now, in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee which had the name Nazareth,
- to a virgin *betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, from the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
- And having come to her, he said: “Greetings, you have been given grace. The Lord is with you. [You have been blessed among women.]
- Yet she was perplexed and deeply shaken2“perplexed and deeply shaken” this is one word in Greek, which refers to inner agitation that produces confusion and troubles the person. by the statement, and was confusedly pondering what kind of greeting this may be.
- And the angel told her: “Don’t be frightened Mary, for you found grace with God.
- “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.
- “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.
- “And He will rule over the house of Jacob through the ages, and there won’t be an end to His kingdom.”
- And Mary said to the angel: “How will this be? Since I’m not knowing a man intimately.”
- And answering, the angel told her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. And for this reason, the holy child which is born will be called the Son of God.
- “And behold your relative Elizabeth; she also has conceived a son in her old age. And this is the sixth month for her who was called ‘barren’,
- “because no word from God will be impossible.”
- And Mary said: “Behold, the Lord’s slave; may it happen to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Mary visits Elizabeth
- And having arisen in those days, Mary travelled into the hill country with enthusiastic haste, into a city of Judah.
- And she entered into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.
- And it happened that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leapt. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,
- and she called out with a loud outcry and said: “You are *blessed among women and *blessed is the fruit of your womb!
- “And from where was this honor bestowed on me, that the mother of my Lord might come to me?
- “For behold, when the voice of your greeting entered into my ears, the baby in my womb leapt in ecstatic delight.
- “And blessed is the woman who believed that there will be a fulfillment to the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.”
- And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,
- “and my spirit jumps for joy in God my savior,
- “because He looked with favor on the humiliation of His slave. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed,
- “because the Mighty One did great things for me, and holy is His name.
- “And His mercy lasts for generations and generations to the men who fear Him.3quotation/allusion to Psalm 103:17
- “He did mighty deeds by His arm, He scattered those who were haughty in the reasoning of their heart.
- “He tore down rulers from thrones and raised up the humble.
- “He filled hungry men with good things, and sent away rich men empty.
- “He helped His servant boy Israel in remembrance of His mercy,
- “just as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed through the age.”
- And Mary stayed with her for about three months and then returned to her home.
John is born
- Now for Elizabeth, the time for her to give birth was completed and she bore a son.
- And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord magnified His mercy with her, and they were rejoicing with4“rejoicing with” could also mean “congratulating”; either meaning or both could be intended. her.
- And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they were calling him Zechariah after the name of his father.
- And answering, his mother said: “Absolutely not. Rather, he will be called John.”
- And they said to her: “There’s no one from your family who is called by this name.”
- And they were gesturing to his father to learn what he wanted him to be called.
- And having requested a writing tablet, he wrote saying: “His name is John.” And they all marveled.
- And instantly his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he was speaking, blessing God.
- And fear came upon all the men who neighbored them, and all these words were being discussed in the whole hill country of Judea.
- And all the men who heard it put it in their heart, saying: “So then, what will this child be?” For also, the Lord’s hand was with him.
- And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying:
- “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel because He looked after and made redemption5“redemption” this Greek word properly refers to paying the price needed to release someone from prison or debt, and especially the price paid to free a slave. for His people,
- “and He raised a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant boy David,
- “just as He spoke through the mouth of His holy prophets of old:
- “salvation from our enemies and the hand of all the men who hate us6“quotation/allusion to Psalm 106:10
- “to accomplish mercy with our fathers and to remember His holy covenant,
- “to grant us the oath that He swore to our father Abraham,
- “that having been rescued from the hand of our enemies, we would be able to serve Him without fear
- “in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
- “And you child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways,7quotation/allusion to Malachi 3:1
- “to offer knowledge of salvation to His people by the forgiveness of their sins.
- “through the compassionate tender mercies of our God, by which He will look after us like a sunrise from on high,
- “to illuminate the men in darkness and those sitting in the shadow of death,8quotation/allusion to Isaiah 9:2 to make straight our feet in the way of peace.”
- Now, the child was growing and was strengthening in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his proclamation to Israel.
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