Mary • Devotion #2: The Favored One
Donna Fox | Assistant to the Growth Pastor
“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’” (Luke 1:30)
“I have found favor with you.” Would we not all love to hear those words from our God? What an honor, to have God find favor with you! It ranks right up there with “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
Such was the case with Mary. She was maybe 14 years old. In that culture, girls were betrothed (engaged) at a young age. Mary was betrothed to Joseph but was not yet married. An angel appeared to Mary and told her she had found favor with God and would have a baby. Imagine what she must have been thinking when she heard those words. “Get outta here” or “You are joking,” is what we might say today.
How does one “find favor with God?” Is this something we can earn by good works, or buy? Is it something we can steal away from another? No. It is a result of our faith. We are all unclean, sinners, fallen from grace (Isaiah 64:6). But Mary was pleasing, approved, liked by God, and chosen to carry our Lord and Savior in her womb. She was a virgin, so what would Joseph say? What would others think? They surely would not hear the news and say “Congratulations, Mary, you are carrying God’s Son and it is a miracle.” No, they would likely say, “You liar, you whore.” They would see her as a very immoral person.
The angel told Mary the child would be named Jesus. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:31). Mary was the first person ever to hear the name of Jesus. What an honor! Do you think she comprehended what this all meant? I doubt it. She knew she was specially chosen, for sure. She believed in God and trusted His plan for her life. But still, it could not have been easy. No one would believe her. She had to remain strong in her faith and trust that God would work out the details, which He did!
Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, had a similar experience. Her husband, Zacharias, and she were not able to have children. They were aged when Zacharias was visited by an angel, similar to Mary, to announce that Elizabeth would bear a son and his name would be John (Luke 1:13). Fast forward six months later to Mary. We do not know if Mary knew about Elizabeth at the time, but she inevitably found out shortly when she visited Elizabeth and the unborn baby, John, leaped in his mother’s womb! How exciting to have a family member to share her joy with, because undoubtedly everyone else was looking down on Mary.
Another person in the Bible who found favor in God’s sight was Noah. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). He was used in a mighty way to save his family and the animals during the great flood. God chose Noah for a particular purpose because of his faith.
God chose Mary, Elizabeth, Noah, and others because of their great faith. We need to strive to have this great faith so that God will use each of us for His will and in His timing.