And [Gabriel] came to her and said “Greetings, O favoured one, the Lord is with you! But she was greatly troubled at the saying , and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.” (Luke 1:28-30)
Imagine if someone greeted you like this: “Greetings, O favoured one, the Lord is with you!” Maybe, like Mary, you would be greatly troubled at the saying. Maybe, like Mary, you would spend time trying to discern what sort of greeting this might be. After all, this is not normal. This is not how people greet each other. How much less is it how we expect God to greet us! I expect Him to say, ‘Oh there you are, you filthy sinner!’ Even a ‘hello’ from God would make me afraid. We would be seriously troubled if an Angel called us ‘O favoured one, the Lord is with you!’ I would think, ‘What me? Favoured?’ ‘Out of 8 billion people surely He can’t mean me?’ Seriously, how does God view you? Are you favoured or was it just Mary? Is the Lord with you or just Mary? What do you think God thinks of you? Don’t you wish God would think of you in the same way He thinks of Mary? The stunning answer is that God views you in exactly the same way He views Mary! Yes, that’s right. I know the Roman Catholic church teaches otherwise, but in this they are mistaken. The reason Gabriel called Mary ‘favoured’ and ‘the Lord is with you’ is because of what he says in the last line: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.” It is God’s favour alone that determines how He sees us. Favour is another word for free grace. If you’re a Christian, then by definition, God has showered His favour upon you. By free grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:8,9). And Jesus taught His disciples that He will never ever leave them or forsake them. He said, ‘I am with you always’ (Matthew 28:20). It is as true for every Christian as it was for Mary, that we are favoured and that the Lord is with us because of His grace. More. Mary was favoured because she was chosen to carry Jesus in her womb. In this she is absolutely unique. However, every Christian now carries Jesus within us – not bodily of course – but He nevertheless lives within us too! “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (John 14:20) So seriously, you are just as favoured as Mary. PRAY and ask God that you will revel in His grace and be able to look in the mirror and say this to yourself: ‘Greetings, favoured one, the Lord is with You.’ Don’t be afraid. God has picked you to shower with His grace.