Luke 1:29 “But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be.”

Observation:  In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy with John, the angel Gabriel made another prenatal appearance, this time to her cousin Mary to announce an even more miraculous event: Mary, who had never known sexual intimacy, was going to conceive a child supernaturally. Gabriel’s greeting had been stunning in its simple directness. “Hail favored one! The Lord is with you.” It was that greeting that “greatly troubled” Mary and caused her to ponder its meaning.

Application: “Hail favored one! The Lord is with you.” It’s little wonder that Mary was troubled. Until now, no human ears had ever heard quite such a pronouncement, and from an angel no less. It would be one thing for Mary’s mother or father to have assured her that she was precious in the sight of God, but aren’t our earthly parents paid to say such things? “Yeah right,” I might think, but the glow quickly fades as my low self-image doesn’t permit such parental affirmation to take root and grow into a stable reality.

But this statement to the child-woman Mary came from a different Source; it carried a higher level of authority. God Himself had been watching Mary and it was He who favored her. It was at His initiative, not hers, that the course of her eternity was set. The pre-incarnate Christ Himself declared His favor toward her. It’s no wonder God had to begin by telling her not to fear.

Here’s a challenging thought: could I ever hear a similar declaration from above calling me favored? Does my heart fill with jealousy over Mary’s unique heavenly affirmation? What I now realize is that I now am like Mary was. The same God whose gaze followed Mary has seen me too. At His initiative He has set the course of my own eternity. He calls me favored, made righteous by the blood He would one day spill before Mary’s horrified eyes as she stood at the foot of Calvary’s cross.

So yes, I am favored as Mary was. His gaze now lovingly follows me as it did Mary. And because of that He now declares for all time and eternity that I, too, have found favor with Him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, even as you spoke to Mary you now speak to me, assuring me of your love, covering me with your grace, telling me not to be afraid. Lord Jesus, no matter how high the waves of life’s devastation I need fear no evil, for you are with me. your rod and your staff comfort me. And yes, even in the presence of fearsome enemies, you have spread a marvelous banquet for me to enjoy, now and forever. Thank you Lord. I rest well in you.