Summary: Exposition of Luke 1:26-38 about Mary a highly favored one, and about Jesus THE highly favored One
Text: Luke 1:26-38, Title: Highly Favored, Date/Place: NRBC, 12/6/09
A. Opening illustration:
B. Background to passage: Luke is writing to Theophilus probably from Caesarea while Paul is in prison, after gaining first hand accounts of these events. The Angel of the Lord had just come (well, six months ago) to Zacharias and Elizabeth telling them of the miraculous birth of their son, John. This would be a sign to Mary, as well as the birth of the first prophet Israel had seen in about 400 years. So Elizabeth had been in hiding for five months, Zacharias had been mute for six months, and Gabriel shows up at 14 year old Mary’s house with the biggest assignment ever given to a man.
C. Main thought: There’s a whole lot of favoring going on.
A. A Highly-Favored One
1. I want to explore the reasons that Mary was highly favored, for it is mentioned three times even if you don’t count the textual variant in verse 28. The word means one upon whom lavish grace has been poured abundantly. One who doesn’t deserve, but benefits from another. 1) Most importantly it was God’s good pleasure. I am going to list a lot of reasons in the text why she is favored. And for most of them, you can find other people in the bible that God favored under opposite circumstances. The ultimate reason that God favored Mary is that He willed it. 2) But she was also favored because she was unknown, from a small village. Luke doesn’t even list her lineage. But know that there were others who were well-known, and had good lineages. 3) She was young, 12-14 years old. Know that there were others who were older when God chose them for service. 4) She was humble. There were a few who were proud. 5) She was willing and obedient. There were a few who were unwilling servants, to demonstrate God’s power. 6) And she was walking in holiness and purity. And there were also some like Rahab, Bathsheba, Tamar, who were not pure and holy, and yet still used of God to accomplish His purposes.
2. Jer 18:6, Isa 45:9, Eph 1:7, 1 Cor 1:27, 2 Tim 2:20-21, 2 Cor 7:1; 1 Pet 1:22; 1 John 3:3
3. Illustration: Written by Irenaeus from the 2nd Century. From God’s Hands: It is not you who shape God; it is God that shapes you. If then you are the work of God, await the hand of the Artist who does all things in due season. Offer the Potter your heart, soft and tractable, and keep the form in which the Artist has fashioned you. Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of the Potter’s fingers.
4. We all want to be highly favored by God, so how might we get that way. We get caught up sometimes in a thought process of fairness and keeping score, when God doesn’t. There may be some things that happen that defy earthly rationale. Godly people suffer hardship, and evil people seem to have it easy sometimes. God has absolute freedom to do what He pleases for no other fathomable reason than that. Not that He has no reason, just that He doesn’t have to share it with you or me. But don’t ever forget that the Potter has freedom to work with the clay however, whenever, wherever He pleases. If you want to enjoy the favor of God upon your life, most of us qualify as unknown, there is nothing we can do about our age (although don’t let age old or young get in your way) or our lineage; but avoid striving for notoriety, but for humility. Be about the business of killing pride in your life. Work to embrace dependence upon Christ in everything rather than self-sufficiency. Work toward obedience and openness to the will of God whatever that may be. Many of us never get a call from God, because He knows that we wouldn’t go anyway. He knows that there are barriers to be removed before true obedience can pave the way for great things to be accomplished. Strive for holiness and purity, for God uses vessels of honor fit for the Master’s hands.
B. The Highly-Favored One
1. The Angel tells Mary that she will conceive and bring for a Son who would be “the highly-favored One.” Mary apparently understands this to men now, rather than after marriage. But what I want to notice is the names used to describe “JESUS.” This word means Jehovah Saves, or God our Savior, the Captain of Deliverance. It is also a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name, Joshua. The angel says that He will be great-astonishing in stature and importance, mighty and worthy, strong and exceedingly powerful. And He will be called the Son of the Most High, meaning He would have a special, unique relationship with God, especially related to that person’s obedience to God. He would be a representative of God on earth. It also speaks of His Kingly role in fulfilling the prophecy given David in 2 Samuel; reigning always over Israel, the grafted Israel, and the whole world with a kingdom and kingship that has no end! And as if it wasn’t clear enough, the angel concludes by saying He would be called the Son of God, which in the Jewish culture would have made for equality with God.