God's comfort in difficult times (2023)

As many have taken it upon themselves to compile an account of what has been accomplished among us,

as handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word,

It also seemed appropriate, having gone over everything carefully from the beginning, to write to you in sequential order, most excellent Theophilus;

that you may know the exact truth of the things you were taught.

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah, from the department of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

Both were righteous in the eyes of God and walked blamelessly in all the Lord's commandments and requirements.

But they had no child because Elizabeth was barren and they were both old.

Now it came to pass, while he was performing his priestly ministry before God, in the appointed order of his department,

according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

And the whole multitude of the city was outside praying at the time of incense.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

Zechariah was disturbed when he saw the angel and fear overcame him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your request has been granted, and your wife Elizabeth will give birth to a son, and you will name him John.

“You will have joy and joy, and many will rejoice at your birth.

“For he shall be great in the eyes of the Lord; and he shall not drink wine or strong drink, and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost in his mother's womb.

“And he will lead many of the children of Israel back to the Lord their God.

"He shall go before him as a forerunner in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO FINISH THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THEIR CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, to prepare a people ready for the Lord."

Zechariah said to the angel, "How can I know for sure? Because I am an old man and my wife is very old."

The angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who am in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak with you and bring you this good news.

"And behold, you will be mute and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will take place in due time."

The people waited for Zacharias and marveled at his late arrival at the temple.

But when he left, he couldn't talk to them; and they heard that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he continued making signs to them and was silent.

When the days of his priestly ministry ended, he returned home.

After those days, his wife Isabel became pregnant and was imprisoned for five months saying:

"The Lord did this to me in the days when he looked upon me with kindness, to take away my shame among men."

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,

a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the seed of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

And upon entering, he said: “Greetings, beloved! The Lord is with you."

But she was very surprised by this statement and wondered what kind of greeting it was.

The angel told her: “Do not be afraid, Mary; because you have found favor with God.

“And behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

“He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David;

and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end.

Mary said to the angel, "How can you be a virgin?"

The angel answered and said to him, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and therefore the holy babe will be called the Son of God.

“And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age; and what they called barren is already in the sixth month.

"Because with God nothing is impossible."

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; Let it be done according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

At that time, Mary got up and went up the mountain to a city in Judah,

and he entered the house of Zacharias and saluted Elizabeth.

When Isabel heard Mary's greeting, the child jumped into her lap; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

And she cried with a loud voice and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!

"And how did it happen to me that my master's mother came to me?

"For behold, when the voice of your greeting reached my ears, the creature in my womb leaped for joy.

"And blessed is she who believed that what the Lord said would come to pass."

And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord,

And my spirit rejoiced in God my Savior.

“Because he looked upon the humble condition of his slave; For behold, from now on all generations will bless me.

“For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is his name.

“AND HIS MERCY IS FROM GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TO THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.

“He would do arm tricks; He scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones and exalted the lowly.

“HE FILLED THE HUNGER WITH GOODNESS; And she sent the rich away empty-handed.

He saved his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,

as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

And Maria stayed with her about three months, and then she returned home.

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son.

His neighbors and kindred heard that the Lord had shown him His great mercy; and they rejoiced with her.

And it happened that on the eighth day they went to circumcise the child and wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father.

But his mother answered and said, “Certainly not; but his name will be Juan".

And they said to him: 'There is no one among your relatives who has that name.'

And they made signs to the father what they would be called.

And he asked for a plaque and wrote this: "His name is Juan." And everyone was amazed.

And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began praising God.

Fear took hold of everyone who lived around him; and all these things were said throughout all the hill country of Judea.

All who heard this noticed and said: “What then is this boy?” For the hand of the Lord was indeed upon him.

And Zechariah his father was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying:

"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited us and redeemed his people,

and has prepared for us a mighty salvation in the house of David his servant,

As he spoke of old by the mouth of his holy prophets:

SALVATION FROM OUR ENEMIES AND FROM THE HANDS OF ALL THAT HATE US;

to show mercy to our fathers and to remember their holy covenant,

The oath that he swore to our father Abraham,

To enable us, freed from the hands of our enemies, to serve him without fear,

In holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

“And you, son, will be called the prophet of the Most High; FOR YOU WILL GO BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS;

To give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,

By the tender mercy of our God, with which the sun of the sun will visit us from above,

TO ILLUMINATE THOSE WHO SPEAK IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our steps in the path of peace."

And the child continued to grow and strengthen in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance before Israel.

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