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Luke Writes About the Life of Jesus

1 1Dear Theophilus, Many people have tried to give a history of the things that happened among us. 2They have written the same things that we learned from some other people--the people that saw those things from the beginning and served God by telling people his message. 3I myself studied everything carefully from the beginning, your Excellency.* Then I thought I should write it for you. So I put it in order in a book. 4I write these things so that you can know that what you have been taught is true.

Zechariah and Elizabeth

5During the time when Herod* ruled Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah. Zechariah belonged to Abijah's group.* Zechariah's wife came from the family of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. 6Zechariah and Elizabeth were truly good people before God. They did everything the Lord (God) commanded and told people to do. They were without fault. 7But Zechariah and Elizabeth had no children. Elizabeth could not have a baby; and both of them were very old. 8Zechariah was serving as a priest before God for his group. It was his group's time to serve. 9The priests always chose one priest to offer the incense.* Zechariah was chosen to do this. So Zechariah went into the temple* of the Lord (God) to offer the incense. 10There were many, many people outside. They were praying at the time the incense was offered. 11Then, on the right side of the incense table, an angel of the Lord (God) came and stood before Zechariah. 12When he saw the angel, Zechariah was confused and very afraid. 13But 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. You will name him John. 14You will be very, very happy. Many people will be happy because of his birth. 15John will be a great man for the Lord (God). He will never drink wine or liquor. Even at the time when John is being born, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.* 16John will help many Jews return to the Lord their God. 17John himself will go first before the Lord. John will be powerful like Elijah.* He will have the same spirit Elijah had. He will make peace between fathers and their children. Many people are not obeying God. John will bring those people back to the right way that people should think. He will make people ready for the [coming of] the Lord." 18Zechariah 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." 19The angel answered him, "I am Gabriel. I stand before God. God sent me to talk to you and to tell you this good news. 20Now, listen! You will not be able to talk until the day when these things happen. You will lose your speech. Why? Because you did not believe what I told you. But these things will really happen." 21Outside, the people were still waiting for Zechariah. They were surprised that he was staying so long in the temple.* 22Then Zechariah came outside, but he could not speak to them. So the people knew that Zechariah had seen a vision* inside the temple. Zechariah could not speak. He could only make signs to the people. 23When Zechariah's time of service was finished, he went home. 24Later, Zechariah's wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant. So she did not go out of her house for five months. Elizabeth said, 25"Look what the Lord (God) has done for me! He decided to help me [have a baby]. Now people will stop thinking there is something wrong with me."

Excellency This word was used in speaking or writing to an important person like a king or ruler to show respect. Herod Herod I (the Great), of Judea, 40 B.C. to 4 B.C. Abijah's group Jewish priests were divided into 24 groups. See 1 Chron. 24. incense Special dried tree sap used for a sacrifice. It was burned to make a sweet-smelling smoke. temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. Holy Spirit Also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Comforter. Joined with God and Christ, he does God's work among people in the world. Elijah A prophet that lived about 850 B.C. vision(s) Something like dreams that God used to speak to people. 

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