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- The Gospel of Luke for Readers - 1/12 -
1. Forasmuch as many eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have set forth and delivered to us a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of these things from the very beginning, to write to you, most excellent Theophilus, in order that thou might know the certainty of the things thou has been instructed.
In the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. They had no child because Elisabeth was barren. They were both well up in years.
According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot, while he executed his duty before God, was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. The multitude gathered outside to pray during the time of incense.
There appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. When Zacharias saw him, he was troubled and fell down in fear. But the angel said to him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard. Thy wife, Elisabeth, shall bear thee a son and thou shall name him John. You shall have joy and gladness and many will rejoice at his birth. He shall be great in the sight of the Lord. He shall not drink wine or strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
He shall turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, their God. He shall go in the spirit and power of Elias to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Zacharias said to the angel, How shall I know this? I am an old man, and my wife an old woman. The angel said to him, I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and am sent to speak to thee, and to show thee these glad tidings. Behold, thou shall be dumb and unable to speak until the day these things are performed because thou believe not my words which shall be fulfilled in their season.
The people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.
It came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his official duties were accomplished, he went home. His wife, Elisabeth, conceived, and hid herself for five months. She said, Thus has the Lord now done for me that which takes away my reproach among others.
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth. The angel appeared to a virgin named Mary and espoused to Joseph, of the house of David. He said to her, Hail, thou that art highly favored. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women. When she saw him, she was troubled by his words.
Then the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary, for thou has found favor with God. Thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call His name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest. The Lord God shall give Him the throne of His father David. He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever. And, of His kingdom there shall be no end.
Then Mary said to the angel, How shall this be since I know not a man? The angel answered, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee so the holiness that is born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin, Elisabeth, has conceived a son in her old age. It is the sixth month with her who was once thought barren. With God nothing is impossible. Mary said, Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done according to thy word. Then the angel departed from her.
Mary arose with haste and went to a city of Juda in the hill country. Here she entered the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. When Elisabeth heard this salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. She spoke out with a loud voice, Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she that believed for there shall be a demonstration of those things which were told her by the Lord.
Mary said, My soul does magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden and, henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed. He that is mighty has done great things to me. Holy is His name. His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree. He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to His seed forever.
Mary stayed with her cousin, Elisabeth about three months, then returned to her own house. Elisabeth's time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. Her neighbors and her cousins heard how the Lord had showed great mercy on her; and they rejoiced with her.
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. They called him Zacharias after the name of his father. But his mother said, No. He shall be called John. And they said to her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. Then they made signs to his father asking how he would have him called. He asked for a writing table, and wrote, His name is John. Then Zacharias' mouth was opened immediately, his tongue loosed, and he spoke and praised God.
This news was carried throughout all the hill country of Judaea. All who heard were filled with wonder at what kind of child this would be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.
His father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Ghost and prophesied, Blessed be the Lord, God of Israel; for He has visited and redeemed His people, He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant, David; as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He swore to our father, Abraham, that He would grant us, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, to serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, all the days of our life.
And thou, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest, for thou shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high has visited us to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace.
The child grew and became strong in spirit. He was in the desert until the day of his showing to Israel.
2 A decree went out from Caesar Augustus. According to the decree every man was to go to his own city to be taxed. Because he was of the house and lineage of David, Joseph went up from Nazareth in Galilee, to the city of Bethlehem in Judaea to be taxed. With him was Mary, his espoused wife, who was great with child. While they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. She brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.
In the same country shepherds were in the field keeping watch over their flock by night. Lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone about them. They became afraid. And the angel said to them, Fear not. Behold, I bring you good tidings which shall be great joy to all people. A Savior, Christ the Lord, is born this day in the city of David. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Then there also appeared a heavenly host praising God. They said, Glory to God in the highest and, on earth, peace and good will toward men.
The shepherds said, Let us go to Bethlehem and see what has come to pass which the Lord has made known to us. They went with haste and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
When they saw, they made it known abroad what was told them concerning this child. Those who heard, wondered at what they were told. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them.
When eight days were completed for the circumcising of the child, His name was called Jesus, which was so named by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. When the days of the purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord, as it is written in the law: Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord. And, also according to law of the Lord, they offered the sacrifice: a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
There was a man in Jerusalem, named Simeon. He was a just and devout man, waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Ghost was upon him and revealed to him that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
He came by the Spirit into the temple. When the parents brought in the child Jesus, Simeon took Him up in his arms, blessed God, and said, Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for my eyes have seen thy salvation which thou has prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people, Israel.
Joseph and Mary marvelled at the things which were spoken of Him. Simeon blessed them, and said to His mother, Mary, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which will be spoken against. A sword shall pierce thy soul that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
Then a prophetess also spoke of Him. Anna was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. She was an aged widow who, for fourscore and four years, did not leave the temple and served God with fasting and prayer night and day. She gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to those in Jerusalem who awaited redemption.
When they had performed all that was required according to the law of the Lord, they returned to their own city of Nazareth in Galilee. The
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