Highly Favored

Mary and Her Son

Do you believe in angels? In miracles? One of the most miraculous events in history occurred nearly two thousand years ago when a shiny angel named Gabriel appeared to a teenage girl named Mary with a message from God’s throne:

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!” (Luke 1:26-28).

These words are written in the Holy Bible, which is Planet Earth’s all-time bestselling book. According to the Sacred Scriptures, it was God Himself who sent Gabriel to Mary. Indeed, Mary was “highly favored” and “blessed” among women because an unfathomable event was about to occur within her young body. The drama continues:

But when she [Mary] saw him [Gabriel], 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. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS” (Luke 1:29-31).

Therefore, Mary was “highly favored” because she had been divinely chosen to become the receptacle for the greatest miracle of all time. She was about to conceive inside of her womb a Child who would be unique from all other normal humans. No other mother could claim such an inestimable honor. Her Son’s name would be “JESUS.”

Gabriel continued: “He [Jesus] will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32-33). Mary’s Baby would be “the Son of the Highest”—far above every president, prince, princess, ruler, or king. He would finally sit upon “the throne” as Supreme Ruler over a “kingdom” that would have “no end.”

How Can This Be?

Mary then said to Gabriel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34).

Here Mary highlighted one apparently insurmountable problem. At that moment, she was engaged to a man named Joseph, yet they hadn’t consummated their union. Their honeymoon was still future, and Mary was still a virgin. How can I have a baby without being impregnated by a man?she wondered. Such a thing had never happened—ever!

Gabriel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God…. For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:35-37). Gabriel’s answer to Mary’s dilemma reveals an unfathomable mystery. Even before her wedding day, “The Holy Spirit” would rest upon her, and “the power of the Highest” would move within her. A never-before-conception would occur apart from any earthly father. In this unique instance, the Dad would be the Almighty Himself, and Mary’s Baby would be “the Son of God.”

In complete submission Mary replied, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Mary’s last words to the holy messenger before he vanished reveal that she considered herself to be a humble “maidservant of the Lord.” She had complete confidence in what was “told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45).

Called Blessed

A short time later, Mary told her cousin Elizabeth: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:47-48). Mary’s words are deeply significant. First, “all generations” would call her “blessed.” Unlike any other mother since the dawn of time, Mary had the privilege of giving birth to God’s Son. Second, her humility is again revealed in that she called herself a “lowly … maidservant.” Third, she realized that God Himself was her “Savior.”

Mary’s use of the word “Savior” reveals that she knew she needed to be saved from sin, just like all of us sinful mortals. Her Savior was her Son. “You shall call His name JESUS,” another angel also told Joseph, “for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Both Mary and Joseph were “His people,” needing to be saved from sin.

When Jesus began His public ministry, in one instance “His mother [Mary] said to the servants [at a wedding], ‘Whatever He says to you, do it’”(John 2:5). This shows that Mary not only honored her Son, but also that implicit obedience to His words was her motto. Whatever Jesus says,we should do.

It is important to stress that while Mary was truly blessed to become the earthly conduit for our Savior Jesus Christ, the overriding focus of God’s Book is to exalt her Son, notHis humble mother. Saint Paul later made that crystal clear when he wrote that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).

One doesn’t need to be a skilled mathematician to calculate the meaning of the word “one.” There is only “one God,” not myriads of gods, and there is only “one Mediator between God and men,” and it isn’t a woman. Not even Mary. No. It isthe Man Christ Jesuswho alonesacrificed His life on a cruel cross to pay the price for human sin.

Honoring Her Son

Considering these clear Bible verses, have you ever wondered what Mary herself would think about her exaltation to nearly divine status in the church? I imagine that neither Saint Peter nor Saint Paul would approve—because, significantly, in all their inspired New Testament letters, they never mentioned Mary evenone time. Why not? Not because Mary wasn’t blessed, but because she herself is not our Savior or mediator.This honor belongs exclusively to Mary’s Son. Jesus Himself is the star of the show, and His glory must not be eclipsed by any man or woman who was conceived in the usual way. Seated on His exalted throne above, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself tenderly appeals to each of us, saying,

 

Come to Me,all you who labor and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28, italics added).

 

Jesus deeply loves us and warmly invites us to come directlyto Him for rest, forgiveness, peace, and “everlasting life” (John 3:16). Again, Jesus Himself says, “Come toMe.”Let’s remember the words of the blessed virgin who said,

 

Whatever He [Jesus] says to you, do it (John 2:5).

 

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

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