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Luke 1 - The Message Bible
Introduction Introduction | Read Again...
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1:1So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us,
1:2using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives.
1:3Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story's beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus,
1:4so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught.
1:5During the rule of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest assigned service in the regiment of Abijah. His name was Zachariah. His wife was descended from the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth.
1:6Together they lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God.
1:7But they were childless because Elizabeth could never conceive, and now they were quite old.
1:8It so happened that as Zachariah was carrying out his priestly duties before God, working the shift assigned to his regiment,
1:9it came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense.
1:10The congregation was gathered and praying outside the Temple at the hour of the incense offering.
1:11Unannounced, an angel of God appeared just to the right of the altar of incense.
1:12Zachariah was paralyzed in fear.
1:13But the angel reassured him, "Don't fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John.
1:14You're going to leap like a gazelle for joy, and not only you--many will delight in his birth.
1:15He'll achieve great stature with God. "He'll drink neither wine nor beer. He'll be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he leaves his mother's womb.
1:16He will turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God.
1:17He will herald God's arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parents to children, and kindle devout understanding among hardened skeptics--he'll get the people ready for God."
1:18Zachariah said to the angel, "Do you expect me to believe this? I'm an old man and my wife is an old woman."
1:19But the angel said, "I am Gabriel, the sentinel of God, sent especially to bring you this glad news.
1:20But because you won't believe me, you'll be unable to say a word until the day of your son's birth. Every word I've spoken to you will come true on time--God's time."
1:21Meanwhile, the congregation waiting for Zachariah was getting restless, wondering what was keeping him so long in the sanctuary.
1:22When he came out and couldn't speak, they knew he had seen a vision. He continued speechless and had to use sign language with the people.
1:23When the course of his priestly assignment was completed, he went back home.
1:24It wasn't long before his wife, Elizabeth, conceived. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy.
1:25"So, this is how God acts to remedy my unfortunate condition!" she said.
1:26In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth
1:27to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin's name, Mary.
1:28Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: Good morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.
1:29She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that.
1:30But the angel assured her, "Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you:
1:31You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.
1:32He will be great, be called 'Son of the Highest.' The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David;
1:33He will rule Jacob's house forever--no end, ever, to his kingdom."
1:34Mary said to the angel, "But how? I've never slept with a man."
1:35The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you; Therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God.
1:36"And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months' pregnant!
1:37Nothing, you see, is impossible with God."
1:38And Mary said, Yes, I see it all now: I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say. Then the angel left her.
1:39Mary didn't waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country,
1:40straight to Zachariah's house, and greeted Elizabeth.
1:41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit,
1:42and sang out exuberantly, You're so blessed among women, and the babe in your womb, also blessed!
1:43And why am I so blessed that the mother of my Lord visits me?
1:44The moment the sound of your greeting entered my ears, The babe in my womb skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.
1:45Blessed woman, who believed what God said, believed every word would come true!
1:46And Mary said, I'm bursting with God-news;
1:47I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
1:48God took one good look at me, and look what happened--I'm the most fortunate woman on earth! What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
1:49the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others
1:50His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him.
1:51He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts.
1:52He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud.
1:53The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold.
1:54He embraced his chosen child, Israel; he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
1:55It's exactly what he promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
1:56Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home.
1:57When Elizabeth was full-term in her pregnancy, she bore a son.
1:58Her neighbors and relatives, seeing that God had overwhelmed her with mercy, celebrated with her.
1:59On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child and were calling him Zachariah after his father.
1:60But his mother intervened: "No. He is to be called John."
1:61"But," they said, "no one in your family is named that."
1:62They used sign language to ask Zachariah what he wanted him named.
1:63Asking for a tablet, Zachariah wrote, "His name is to be John." That took everyone by surprise.
1:64Surprise followed surprise--Zachariah's mouth was now open, his tongue loose, and he was talking, praising God!
1:65A deep, reverential fear settled over the neighborhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else.
1:66Everyone who heard about it took it to heart, wondering, "What will become of this child? Clearly, God has his hand in this."
1:67Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied,
1:68Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he came and set his people free.
1:69He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives, and in the very house of David his servant,
1:70Just as he promised long ago through the preaching of his holy prophets:
1:71Deliverance from our enemies and every hateful hand;
1:72Mercy to our fathers, as he remembers to do what he said he'd do,
1:73What he swore to our father Abraham--
1:74a clean rescue from the enemy camp, So we can worship him without a care in the world,
1:75made holy before him as long as we live.
1:76And you, my child, "Prophet of the Highest," will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways,
1:77Present the offer of salvation to his people, the forgiveness of their sins.
1:78Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God's Sunrise will break in upon us,
1:79Shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, Then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.
1:80The child grew up, healthy and spirited. He lived out in the desert until the day he made his prophetic debut in Israel.
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