The Birth of John the Baptist is Announced

 Christian Art and the Life of Jesus

  The Birth of John the Baptist is Announced

The Archangel Gabriel struck Zechariah Mute by Alexander Ivanov (1806-1858)
The Archangel Gabriel struck Zechariah Mute by Alexander Ivanov (1806-1858)

5 During the time when Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife’s name was Elizabeth; she also belonged to a priestly family.

6 They both lived good lives in God’s sight and obeyed fully all the Lord’s laws and commands.

7 They had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zechariah were both very old.

8 One day Zechariah was doing his work as a priest in the Temple, taking his turn in the daily service.

9 According to the custom followed by the priests, he was chosen by lot to burn incense on the altar. So he went into the Temple of the Lord,

10 while the crowd of people outside prayed during the hour when the incense was burned.

11 An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar where the incense was burned.

12 When Zechariah saw him, he was alarmed and felt afraid.

13 But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. You are to name him John.

14 How glad and happy you will be, and how happy many others will be when he is born!

15 John will be great in the Lord’s sight. He must not drink any wine or strong drink.

From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit,

16 and he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.

17 He will go ahead of the Lord, strong and mighty like the prophet Elijah. He will bring fathers and children together again; he will turn disobedient people back to the way of thinking of the righteous; he will get the Lord’s people ready for him.”

18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know if this is so? I am an old man, and my wife is old also.”

19 “I am Gabriel,” the angel answered. “I stand in the presence of God, who sent me to speak to you and tell you this good news.

20 But you have not believed my message, which will come true at the right time. Because you have not believed, you will be unable to speak; you will remain silent until the day my promise to you comes true.”

21 In the meantime the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he was spending such a long time in the Temple.

22 When he came out, he could not speak to them, and so they knew that he had seen a vision in the Temple. Unable to say a word, he made signs to them with his hands.

23 When his period of service in the Temple was over, Zechariah went back home.

24 Some time later his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and did not leave the house for five months.

25 “Now at last the Lord has helped me,” she said. “He has taken away my public disgrace!”

(Luke 1: 5-25)


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