“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” – Luke 1:26-30
It had been six months since God had broken his 400 years of silence. Just six months before, God had sent Gabriel to tell Zacharias and Elizabeth about the miraculous birth of their son John…the forerunner of Christ sent to prepare the way of the Lord.
Now in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Gabriel appeared before Mary to bring her a divine message from God.
Gabriel greeted Mary and said, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” What was Mary’s reaction? She was fearful and troubled at what the angel had said. Why was Mary troubled?
What kind of woman does God choose to bear the Son of God? Mary must have been very young, a teenager at best. Maybe 13 or 14 years of age. The Bible doesn’t tell us anything about Mary other than her name and that she was a virgin, betrothed to a man named Joseph. Unlike Zacharias and Elizabeth, Mary was not commended as being upright and blameless before the Lord. She was a young Jewish girl in a small town called Nazareth.
Was Mary troubled because she knew she was undeserving of God’s favor and grace? Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us that Mary was sinless. In fact, Mary needed a Savior every bit as much as we do. Mary was not favored or shown grace by God because of who she was. She was shown grace by God, because He chose to do so.
Mary knew that she was a sinner before holy God. In Luke 1:46, Mary rejoiced in God her Savior and extolled His mercy. Only a sinner needs a merciful Savior. But Mary was also a true believer.
Mary was highly favored because God chose to use her as His instrument, through which the Savior of the world would be born. She was blessed among women because of what God would do through her…not because of who she was or what she deserved.
Likewise…God has shown us grace and mercy, not because we deserve it. He doesn’t choose us because of who we are or what we have to offer. But in His sovereignty, God chooses to save us from our sins. We are not saved because we are better than our brother or neighbor or friend. In fact the Bible tells us that He chooses the weak and foolish things of this world.
What about you…have you recognized your need for Jesus the merciful Savior? This Christmas, do you celebrate because you received the gift of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary? Why not choose Him today and have your name recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life?