Two Miraculous Births

Luke 1:1-2:40

11Since many have undertaken to set in order a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, 2even as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word delivered them to us, 3it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus; 4that you might know the certainty concerning the things in which you were instructed.
5There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the priestly division of Abijah. He had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. 7But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years.

8Now while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his division, 9according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10The whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
11An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13But the angel said to him,


Don’t be afraid, Zacharias, because your request has been heard, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth. 15For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, their God. 17He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to prepare a people prepared for the Lord.

18Zacharias said to the angel,


How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.

19The angel answered him,


I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. 20Behold,* you will be silent and not able to speak, until the day that these things will happen, because you didn’t believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.

21The people were waiting for Zacharias, and they marveled that he delayed in the temple. 22When he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple. He continued making signs to them, and remained mute. 23When the days of his service were fulfilled, he departed to his house. 24After these days Elizabeth, his wife, conceived, and she hid herself five months, saying,


25Thus has the Lord done to me in the days in which he looked at me, to take away my reproach among men.

26Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28Having come in, the angel said to her,


Rejoice, you highly favored one! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women!

29But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered what kind of salutation this might be. 30The angel said to her,


Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31Behold, you will conceive in your womb, and give birth to a son, and will call his name ‘Jesus.’ 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever. There will be no end to his Kingdom.

34Mary said to the angel,


How can this be, seeing I am a virgin?

35The angel answered her,


The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God. 36Behold, Elizabeth, your relative, also has conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37For nothing spoken by God is impossible.*

38Mary said,


Behold, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.

Then the angel departed from her.

39Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah, 40and entered into the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42She called out with a loud voice, and said,


Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For behold, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy! 45Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord!

46Mary said,


My soul magnifies the Lord.
47My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
48for he has looked at the humble state of his servant.
For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed.
49For he who is mighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
50His mercy is for generations of generations on those who fear him.
51He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52He has put down princes from their thrones.
And has exalted the lowly.
53He has filled the hungry with good things.
He has sent the rich away empty.
54He has given help to Israel, his servant, that he might remember mercy,
55As he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and his offspring* forever.

56Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her house.

57Now the time that Elizabeth should give birth was fulfilled, and she gave birth to a son. 58Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her, and they rejoiced with her. 59On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him Zacharias, after the name of the father. 60His mother answered,


Not so; but he will be called John.

61They said to her,


There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.

62They made signs to his father, what he would have him called.
63He asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.”
They all marveled. 64His mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue freed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65Fear came on all who lived around them, and all these sayings were talked about throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66All who heard them laid them up in their heart, saying,


What then will this child be?

The hand of the Lord was with him.

67His father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,


68Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people;
69and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David
70(as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been from of old),
71salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us;
72to show mercy towards our fathers,
to remember his holy covenant,
73the oath which he spoke to Abraham, our father,
74to grant to us that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies,
should serve him without fear,
75In holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.
76And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways,
77to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of their sins,
78because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the dawn from on high will visit us,
79to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death;
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

80The child was growing, and becoming strong in spirit, and was in the desert until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
21Now in those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. 2This was the first enrollment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to enroll themselves, everyone to his own city. 4Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to David’s city, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David; 5to enroll himself with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him as wife, being pregnant.
6While they were there, the day had come for her to give birth. 7She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. 9Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10The angel said to them,


Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people. 11For there is born to you today, in David’s city, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough.

13Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying,


14Glory to God in the highest,
on earth peace, good will toward men.

15When the angels went away from them into the sky, the shepherds said to one another,


Let’s go to Bethlehem, now, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.

16They came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby was lying in the feeding trough. 17When they saw it, they publicized widely the saying which was spoken to them about this child. 18All who heard it wondered at the things which were spoken to them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as it was told them.
21When eight days were fulfilled for the circumcision of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22When the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”),* 24and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”*
25Behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.* 27He came in the Spirit into the temple. When the parents brought in the child, Jesus, that they might do concerning him according to the custom of the law, 28then he received him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,


29Now you are releasing your servant, Master,
according to your word, in peace;
30for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared before the face of all peoples;
32a light for revelation to the nations,
and the glory of your people Israel.

33Joseph and his mother were marveling at the things which were spoken concerning him, 34and Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother,


Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which is spoken against. 35Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

36There was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher (she was of a great age, having lived with a husband seven years from her virginity, 37and she had been a widow for about eighty-four years), who didn’t depart from the temple, worshiping with fastings and petitions night and day. 38Coming up at that very hour, she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of him to all those who were looking for redemption in Jerusalem.
39When they had accomplished all things that were according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40The child was growing, and was becoming strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

*Luke 1:20 “Behold”, from “ἰδοὺ”, means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.
*Luke 1:37 or, “For everything spoken by God is possible.”
*Luke 1:55 or, seed
*Luke 2:23 Exodus 13:2,12
*Luke 2:24 Leviticus 12:8
*Luke 2:26 “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew) both mean “Anointed One”


  • To compare is to associate two or more similar persons, ideas, or situations. Can you discover any comparisons made by the author of this story? Why do you think that the author would have made this comparison?
  • To contrast is to put side by side two or more distinct persons, ideas, or situations. Can you discover any contrasts made by the author of this story? Why do you think that the author would have made this contrast?
  • Take time to note any repeated words or concepts you have found in this story.
  • Please take time to write a short prayer to God responding to what you have discovered through these comparisons, contrasts and repetitions.
World English Bible (WEB)
a Public Domain Modern English translation
of the Holy Bible.

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