Chocolate ice cream is my favorite. Except on really hot summer days, when strawberry is my favorite. Unless we’re talking about a milkshake, in which case vanilla is my favorite. This may seem contradictory, but in fact, the definition of the word favorite is “a person or thing regarded with special favor or preference.”We have come to think of the word favorite as meaning exclusive, but if we consider the dictionary definition, nothing could be further from the truth. We can have lots of favorites.
- Has it ever occurred to you that God regards you “with special favor or preference”? That you are favored by God?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 1:26-38 (ESV)
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And 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 bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to 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.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- How did Gabriel address Mary when he greeted her in verse 28? What was Mary’s response?
- What did Gabriel say to Mary to comfort and assure her before he ever gave her assignment as the earthly mother of God (vs. 30)?
- Verses 31-37 give supernatural details and confirmation of God’s plan for sending the Messiah, and verse 38 gives Mary’s response. What does Mary’s quick turnaround of emotion and reaction show about her relationship with God?
- What might there be in your relationship with God that keeps you from being totally guided according to God’s Word?
RESPOND TO GOD
It is striking that Mary was greatly troubled by Gabriel’s appearance long before he mentioned that she would give birth to the savior of the world. Mary was confused by the simple fact that she had “found favor with God.” Somewhere between verses 29 and 38, Mary moved from who she thought she was to who God had called her to be: God’s favored. And once we get it—once we see who we are in God’s eyes because of what Mary’s son has done for us—we, too, will respond, “Behold, I am a servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
- Ask God to impress upon you the extent to which he favors you, loves you, delights in you, and chooses you.