The Good News According to
1 Dear Lover of Allah,a
Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that occurred among us. 2 They used the eyewitness reports we possess, those given to us by the first disciples entrusted with the message. 3 Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have written here a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, 4 so you may know with confidence the truth about everything you were taught.
An Angel Foretells Prophet Yahya's Birth
5 It began like this. When Herodb was king of Judea, there was a priest named Zakariya. He served in the division of Abijah.c His wife was Elizabeth, and she was also a descendant of Harun. 6 Zakariya and Elizabeth were both upright in Allah's eyes, for they were careful to obey all of the Lord's commandments and regulations. 7 However, they had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive. And they were both quite old.
8 One day, Zakariya was serving Allah in the temple, for his division was on duty at that time. 9 He had been chosen by lot (the custom of the priests) to enter the sanctuary of the Lord's temple to burn incense.d 10 At that time of the incense offering, many members of the community were outside praying.
11 While Zakariya was in the sanctuary, an angel from the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zakariya was shaken, overwhelmed with fear at the sight. 13 But the angel said, “Don't be afraid, Zakariya! Allah has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son. You are to name him Yahya. 14 You will be very happy, and many people will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He will never drink wine or liquor, but will be filled with Allah's Holy Spirit while still in his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many Israelites back to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spiritual power of Ilyas,e and will precede the Lord to prepare the people for his arrival. He will turn parents' hearts toward loving their children, and bring the rebellious to accept wisdom from the godly.”f
18 Zakariya said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I'm an old man, and my wife is also well along in years.”
19 The angel said to him, “I am Jibrail. I stand in the very presence of Allah, and he sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, because you didn't believe what I said, until the child is born you will be silent, unable to speak. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the appointed time.”
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zakariya to return and wondered why he was taking so long. 22 When he finally came out, he couldn't speak. Then they realized he must have seen a vision in the sanctuary, for he was completely mute, and could only communicate by gesturing.
23 When Zakariya's time of service in the temple was completed, he returned home. 24 Some days later Elizabeth became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 “The Lord is so gracious!” she exclaimed. “People have disgraced me for being childless. But now Allah has taken away my disgrace!”
An Angel Foretells Isa's Birth
26-27 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, Allah sent the angel Jibrail to a virgin living in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. She was engaged to be married to a man named Yusuf, a descendant of King Dawud, and her name was Maryam. 28 Jibrail appeared to her and said, “Greetings! You have received great favor, for the Lord is with you!”
29 But Maryam was quite shaken, and tried to understand what was meant by this greeting. 30 The angel continued, “Don't be afraid, Maryam, for you have found favor with Allah! 31 So you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Isa.g 32 He will be very great—called the Son of the Most Highh—and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor Dawud. 33 He will reign over Israel forever, and to his kingdom there will be no end!”
34 Maryam asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I've never been with a man.”
35 The angel replied, “The power of the Most High, Allah's Holy Spirit himself, will bring this about. For that reason the baby to be born will be holy and called the Son of the Most High.i 36 And even your relative Elizabeth is now pregnant in her old age. People called her barren, but she has conceived a son and is in her sixth month. 37 Nothing is impossible with Allah!”
38 Maryam responded, “I am the Lord's servant. Let this happen to me as you have said.” And the angel left her.
Maryam Visits Elizabeth
39-40 Soon after that, Maryam hurried to the town where Zakariya and Elizabeth lived, located in the hill country of Judea. She entered their house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Maryam's greeting, Elizabeth's unborn baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with Allah's Holy Spirit.
42 Elizabeth was thrilled and exclaimed to Maryam, “What a blessed woman you are, and how blessed is your child! 43 Why this honor, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, my baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord God will surely do what he told you.”
Maryam Praises Allah
46 Then Maryam proclaimed,
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord,
47 how my spirit rejoices in Allah my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant.j
From now on all generations will say I am blessed.
49 For the Mighty One has done great things for me.
His name is holy!
50 He is merciful to all who fear him
in every generation.k
51 His powerful arm does mighty things!
He scatters those who are proud of heart.
52 He removes rulers from their thrones,
but the humble he exalts.
53 He supplies the hungry with good things,
but sends away the rich empty-handed.
54 He supports Israel,l his servant,
and treats his people with mercy.
55 Just as he promised our ancestors,
Ibrahim and his children, forever.”
56 So Maryam stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home.
Prophet Yahya Is Born
57 The time came for Elizabeth's baby to be born, and she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had been so merciful to her, and everyone rejoiced with her.
59 When the baby was eight days old, they all came for his circumcision ceremony.m And they wanted to name him after his father, Zakariya. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No, his name will be Yahya.”
61 “Why?” they asked. “None of your relatives has that name!” 62 So they turned to the baby's father to learn what name he wanted. 63 Zakariya motioned for a writing tablet, and to their surprise wrote, “His name is Yahya.” 64 At that very moment Zakariya could speak once again, and he was full of praise to Allah.
65 People living in the area were full of awe, and reports of these events swept through the Judean hill country. 66 And everyone who heard pondered and asked themselves, “What will the child grow up to be?” For the hand of the Lord was clearly with him.
Zakariya Praises Allah
67 As for the boy's father, Zakariya was filled with Allah's Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:
68 “May the Lord, the God of Israel, be praised!n
He has come and redeemed his people.
69 He has raised up for us a mighty savior,o
through the lineage of his servant Dawud,
70 just as he promised long ago
by his holy prophets—
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the grip of all who hate us.
72 He has shown mercy to our ancestors
by keeping his sacred covenant,
73 the covenant he swore by oath
to our ancestor Ibrahim.
74 Rescued from our enemies,
we will serve Allah without fear,
75 holy and righteous in his sight
every day of our life.
76 And you, dear child,
will be a prophet of the Most High,
You will precede the Lord to prepare his way.p
77 You will present to his people the understanding of salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of our God's tender mercy,
the sunrise from heavenq will shine upon us.
79 Giving light to those in the dark shadow of death,r
and guiding our steps to the path of peace.”
80 So Yahya grew up and became spiritually strong. And he lived in the wilderness until his public presence in Israel.