26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Luke 1: 26-38
What a beautiful picture–this account of a magnificent angel delivering this holy message to Mary.
The way the angel greets her had me thinking: Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you.” How was Mary highly favored? What was it about her that made our Heavenly Father choose her to be the one women in the history of the world to carry and give birth to our precious Messiah, His Only Son, Jesus?
We know that Mary was very young, probably in her “teenage” years. So, it wasn’t age or experience that made her qualified for this task. Was it fame? No, she lived in Nazareth, a small, unimportant town of about 400 people. What about riches? No, she was not rich and neither was Joseph, her intended, so she wouldn’t be rich once she got married either.*
I believe her response to God’s message reveals why she was favored. Let’s look at what she said, “I am the Lord’s servant.”
A simple statement, but it reveals so much to us.
From this, we can see that Mary was a woman who had faith in God. She trusted Him. Here she was an unmarried woman who was going to have a baby. This was a great offense then. Under Old Testament law, she could have been stoned (although from Joseph’s response in Matthew, it looks like that was not the cultural norm). But, she was willing to serve the Lord in this way, because she trusted Him. It’s worth noting, as well, that she doesn’t ask for proof of the Lord’s message. She simply accepts it by faith.
We can also see that she clearly had a heart that was willing to obey the Lord. She did not have to think about the situation very long to submit herself to God’s Will in her life. This suggests that she was in the habit of obeying the Lord—that obeying the Word of God was something she regularly did.
She was willing to obey God no matter the cost. She valued obeying God over her own reputation, her future marriage and perhaps even over her own life. This was not an easy thing she was willing to undertake, but she was willing to submit to the will of God in her life.
What an example of faith and obedience Mary is to us!
There will never be another Messiah sent. Jesus is the One and Only Son, but God has called us to do His work as well. He has called us to obey Him and His Word. Do we do it habitually? So much that when we face a situation, like Mary did, in which obedience will cost us something we do not hesitate to obey? Do we have that kind of faith in God?
Because, obedience is an act of faith in our Lord, isn’t it? When we obey, we are trusting that He knows best. He knows what is best for us personally and what is best for the whole world. We can safely put our faith in Him. When we have that kind of security in Him, it becomes easy to obey.
Oh, to have the heart of Mary. That when God is asking us to do something hard, maybe something that seems impossible to us, we do not hesitate, but obey right away. What an example she is for us.
What a blessing she received for her faith and obedience—holding the precious Savior of the World in her arms and having the privilege of raising Him as her son.
Oh that we will be worthy of being favored by God as well and be given the wonderful blessings that will come to our lives because of our faith and obedience.
Dear Jesus, thank you so much for the grace and mercy that You showed to Mary. Lord, You chose her above all other woman to carry Your Son, the Savior of the World, so that we too could experience Your grace and mercy in our lives. Thank You for sending Jesus as a precious gift, so that He could show us how to live and then give His life for us so that our sins could be forgiven and we could have a personal relationship with You. Lord, I want to obey You and trust You in everything. Thank You for what this beautiful Christmas season means to those who know You. May many more come to know You as Lord and Savior in their lives. Amen.
*In Luke 2:22-24 it is recorded that Joseph and Mary offered the sacrifice permitted for poor families, as commanded in Leviticus 12:8, “8 But if [a]she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”
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