2 just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
3 I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus,
4 so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.
6 Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
8 Once when he was serving as priest in his division's turn before God,
10 Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering,
13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, 5 Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.
15 for he will be great in the sight of (the) Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. 6 He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother's womb,
17 He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah 7 to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord."
19 And the angel said to him in reply, "I am Gabriel, 8 who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.
20 But now you will be speechless and unable to talk 9 until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time."
32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, 11 and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
34 But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" 12
35 And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
36 And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived 13 a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
39 During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of
43 And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord 14 should come to me?
45 Blessed are you who believed 15 that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
46 And Mary said: 16 "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
59 18 When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
68 19 "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people.
69 20 He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord 21 to prepare his ways,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high 22 will visit us
1 [1-4] The Gospel according to Luke is the only one of the synoptic gospels to begin with a literary prologue. Making use of a formal, literary construction and vocabulary, the author writes the prologue in imitation of Hellenistic Greek writers and, in so doing, relates his story about Jesus to contemporaneous Greek and Roman literature. Luke is not only interested in the words and deeds of Jesus, but also in the larger context of the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises of God in the Old Testament. As a second-or third-generation Christian, Luke acknowledges his debt to earlier eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, but claims that his contribution to this developing tradition is a complete and accurate account, told in an orderly anner, and intended to provide Theophilus ("friend of God," literally) and other readers with certainty about earlier teachings they have received.
2 [1:5-2:52] Like the Gospel according to Matthew, this gospel opens with an infancy narrative, a collection of stories about the birth and childhood of Jesus. The narrative uses early Christian traditions about the birth of Jesus, traditions about the birth and circumcision of John the Baptist, and canticles such as the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) and Benedictus (Luke 1:67-79), composed of phrases drawn from the Greek Old Testament. It is largely, however, the composition of Luke who writes in imitation of Old Testament birth stories, combining historical and legendary details, literary ornamentation and interpretation of scripture, to answer in advance the question, "Who is Jesus Christ?" The focus of the narrative, therefore, is primarily christological. In this section Luke announces many of the themes that will become prominent in the rest of the gospel: the centrality of Jerusalem and the temple, the journey motif, the universality of salvation, joy and peace, concern for the lowly, the importance of women, the presentation of Jesus as savior, Spirit-guided revelation and prophecy, and the fulfillment of Old Testament promises. The account presents parallel scenes (diptychs) of angelic announcements of the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus, and of the birth, circumcision, and presentation of John and Jesus. In this parallelism, the ascendency of Jesus over John is stressed: John is prophet of the Most High (Luke 1:76); Jesus is Son of the Most High (Luke 1:32). John is great in the sight of the Lord (Luke 1:15); Jesus will be Great (a LXX attribute, used absolutely, of God) (Luke 1:32). John will go before the Lord (Luke 1:16-17); Jesus will be Lord (Luke 1:43; 2:11).
3  In the days of Herod, King of Judea: Luke relates the story of salvation history to events in contemporary world history. Here and in Luke 3:1-2 he connects his narrative with events in Palestinian history; in Luke 2:1-2 and Luke 3:1 he casts the Jesus story in the light of events of Roman history. Herod the Great, the son of the Idumean Antipater, was declared "King of Judea" by the Roman Senate in 40 B.C., but became the undisputed ruler of
4  They had no child: though childlessness was looked upon in contemporaneous Judaism as a curse or punishment for sin, it is intended here to present Elizabeth in a situation similar to that of some of the great mothers of important Old Testament figures: Sarah (Genesis 15:3; 16:1); Rebekah (Genesis 25:21); Rachel (Genesis 29:31; 30:1); the mother of Samson and wife of Manoah (Judges 13:2-3); Hannah (1 Sam 1:2).
5  Do not be afraid: a stereotyped Old Testament phrase spoken to reassure the recipient of a heavenly vision (Genesis 15:1; Joshua 1:9; Daniel 10:12, 19 and elsewhere in Luke 1:30; 2:10). You shall name him John: the name means "Yahweh has shown favor," an indication of John's role in salvation history.
7  He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah: John is to be the messenger sent before Yahweh, as described in Malachi 3:1-2. He is cast, moreover, in the role of the Old Testament fiery reformer, the prophet Elijah, who according to Malachi 3:23 (4 :5) is sent before "the great and terrible day of the Lord comes."
8  I am Gabriel: "the angel of the Lord" is identified as Gabriel, the angel who in Daniel 9:20-25 announces the seventy weeks of years and the coming of an anointed one, a prince. By alluding to Old Testament themes in Luke 1:17, 19 such as the coming of the day of the Lord and the dawning of the messianic era, Luke is presenting his interpretation of the significance of the births of John and Jesus.
9  You will be speechless and unable to talk: Zechariah's becoming mute is the sign given in response to his question in v 18. When Mary asks a similar question in Luke 1:34, unlike Zechariah who was punished for his doubt, she, in spite of her doubt, is praised and reassured(Luke 1:35-37).
10 [26-38] The announcement to Mary of the birth of Jesus is parallel to the announcement to Zechariah of the birth of John. In both the angel Gabriel appears to the parent who is troubled by the vision (Luke 1:11-12, 26-29) and then told by the angel not to fear (Luke 1:13, 30). After the announcement is made (Luke 1:14-17, 31-33) the parent objects (Luke 1:18, 34) and a sign is given to confirm the announcement (Luke 1:20, 36). The particular focus of the announcement of the birth of Jesus is on his identity as Son of David (Luke 1:32-33) and Son of God (Luke 1:32, 35).
12  Mary's questioning response is a denial of sexual relations and is used by Luke to lead to the angel's declaration about the Spirit's role in the conception of this child (Luke 1:35). According to Luke, the virginal conception of Jesus takes place through the holy Spirit, the power of God, and therefore Jesus has a unique relationship to Yahweh: he is Son of God.
13 [36-37] The sign given to Mary in confirmation of the angel's announcement to her is the pregnancy of her aged relative
14  Even before his birth, Jesus is identified in Luke as the Lord.
15  Blessed are you who believed: Luke portrays Mary as a believer whose faith stands in contrast to the disbelief of Zechariah (Luke 1:20). Mary's role as believer in the infancy narrative should be seen in connection with the explicit mention of her presence among "those who believed" after the resurrection at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:14).
16 [46-55] Although Mary is praised for being the mother of the Lord and because of her belief, she reacts as the servant in a psalm of praise, the Magnificat. Because there is no specific connection of the canticle to the context of Mary's pregnancy and her visit to
17 [57-66] The birth and circumcision of John above all emphasize John's incorporation into the people of
18  The practice of Palestinian Judaism at this time was to name the child at birth; moreover, though naming a male child after the father is not completely unknown, the usual practice was to name the child after the grandfather (see Luke 1:61). The naming of the child John and Zechariah's recovery from his loss of speech should be understood as fulfilling the angel's announcement to Zechariah in Luke 1:13, 20.
19 [68-79] Like the canticle of Mary (Luke 1:46-55) the canticle of Zechariah is only loosely connected with its context. Apart from Luke 1:76-77, the hymn in speaking of a horn for our salvation (Luke 1:69) and the daybreak from on high (Luke 1:78) applies more closely to Jesus and his work than to John. Again like Mary's canticle, it is largely composed of phrases taken from the Greek Old Testament and may have been a Jewish Christian hymn of praise that Luke adapted to fit the present context by inserting Luke 1:76-77 to give Zechariah's reply to the question asked in Luke 1:66.
20  A horn for our salvation: the horn is a common Old Testament figure for strength (Psalm 18:3; 75:5-6; 89:18; 112:9; 148:14). This description is applied to God in Psalm 18:2 and is here transferred to Jesus. The connection of the phrase with the house of David gives the title messianic overtones and may indicate an allusion to a phrase in Hannah's song of praise (1 Sam 2:10), "the horn of his anointed."
22  The daybreak from on high: three times in the LXX (Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12), the Greek word used here for daybreak translates the Hebrew word for "scion, branch," an Old Testament messianic title.