Summary: Message about the characteristic that Mary had to receive the favor of the Lord.
Title: The Favor of God
Text: Luke 1:26-38
Luke 1:26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed (engaged) to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's (Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. prophecy fulfilled) name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
Putting the gospels together you see 4 perspectives. It is like reading a story through the eyes of five people.
Matthew begins his book with the genealogy of Jesus and Jesus birth through Joseph’s eyes.
Mark jumps right into the story with the prophetic ministry of John the Baptist and his announcement of the coming of the Messiah
Luke begins his gospel with the birth of John the Baptist and Zacharias
Finally John starts from the beginning. I mean the very beginning of time as we know it. He informs us that Jesus Christ was in the beginning. He is God and was part of the original creation.
As you know Mary was not an ordinary woman. We in the protestant tradition have a tendency to ignore Mary and the prominent role that she played in the birth of Jesus. We tend to downplay who she was.
Now I am not advocating that Mary was divine. Or even that we should pray to and through Mary to get our prayers answered. I don’t believe there are any scriptures that teach that doctrine nor come close. But Mary was special.
Notice with me this phrase, “
Luke 1:28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
We started our Characters of Christmas talking about Zacharias and how the Lord used him to birth a miracle into the world. As I was pondering these messages in Christmas I was intrigued by the similarities. God showed the importance of the coming events as he sent his angel to share the good news of Christ. This happened in the life of Zecharias, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and then a divine intervention in the Magi.
This week I have kind of rolled that over and over again in my mind. I kept coming back to the word “favour”. The Bible says that she found “favour”. I mean this is not a new word. If you do a Greek study you find that the word favour comes from the Greek word “charis” khar’-ece which is also translated as grace.
It is the same as in the Hebrew. In Hebrew we find the word chen khane =K-HAW-NUH. Which again we see translated as grace, gracious, and favour.
When we use the word grace and limit our definition as “unmerited favour” we limit our understanding. It doesn’t mean that it is not true. Obliviously we don’t deserve any grace that God has poured out in our life.
But understanding favour is not all about what we deserve as much as what we are prepared for.
I believe it was more than just being in the right place at the right time. It was more than God just looking out across the earth and saying, “Hum, who should I bestow this wonderful blessing on. I wonder. There are just so many. Hey should I flip a coin or how about any miny mighty moe.” Now I don’t want to diminish God’s decision but I want to show you that Mary was the perfect person for the job or role that God gave her.
Not just because of God’s undeserved grace or favor but because she put herself in the position to be blessed of God.