“And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” ~ Luke 1:28
Have you ever read a long list of Bible characters and wondered why God mentioned those people and their histories? Why do we need to know about the great, great, great grandfather of someone we have never heard of and never read about anywhere in the Bible again? Because the Bible is the very Word of God, we know that everything included is there for a reason. Genealogies provide historical accuracy, reveal prophecy, and demonstrate God’s plan for His people. But have you noticed that there are key people in the Bible that we know nothing about?
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one of those people. Despite being one of the best-known characters in the Bible, we know very little about who Mary is and where she came from. Have you ever wondered who Mary’s parents were? Did she have brothers and sisters? How did she spend her days?
Here is what we do know about Mary. She was from Nazareth, an insignificant town off the beaten path. She had a cousin named Elizabeth. And we know that Mary was a bride-to-be, looking forward to her upcoming wedding to Joseph.
I imagine being a bride back then was just as exciting as today. No doubt Mary spent countless hours thinking about her wedding, perhaps picking out a dress, taking advice from aunts and family friends about being a wife, and imagining her home with her future husband. To the reader, it seemed that her life was going according to plan.
Little did Mary know that God had a special purpose for her life. One day, Mary was greeted by Gabriel, the great messenger of God. What do you think Mary was doing when this angel met her? We often picture a grand scene featuring a bright, shining angel appearing from the sky. But the Bible does not clarify the details of this meeting. Maybe Gabriel appeared to Mary and spoke to her in a soft greeting, “Hello, dear friend! I have wonderful news for you…” Gabriel revealed a special assignment for Mary that she had been hand-picked by God to bring our great Savior into this world.
At this encounter, we learn that Mary was already held in high esteem by God. Gabriel noted God’s favor of Mary not just once but twice, saying, “Greetings, favored one!” and “you have found favor with God” (Luke 1). I wonder what made Mary so special. Why was she favored in the sight of God? And how can you and I be so esteemed by the Lord with our lives?
Mary was faithful to the task that God gave her. She willingly said “yes” to God even though it meant disruption of her life plans. Mary told Gabriel that she was “the Lord’s servant” and demonstrated faith that his words to her would be fulfilled (Luke 1:38). She not only showed faith at that moment but also in the plans for her son.
Surely Mary knew the prophecies from Isaiah about what was to come of her baby. She knew that her son was the Savior of the world, and she knew what He would have to face one day. Regardless, Mary loved her son fiercely. She was by His side during the significant moments of His life and ministry. She took her job seriously of protecting Him, supporting Him, and training Him up until the right time. She was even there at the foot of the cross when He died; she was there 40 days later when He ascended into heaven. That is why Mary was favored in God’s eyes.
God uses people of all backgrounds to fulfill His purpose. Just because you don’t have a lineage that traces back to the patriarchs does not mean that God cannot and will not use you for His plans. Mary was a perfect example of this. She was a prominent figure in the life of Jesus, and God used a seemingly ordinary girl to fulfill the astounding miracle of the birth of Christ.
We can look to Mary as an example of what it means to have God’s favor no matter the circumstances. God calls those who are obedient and faithful to Him, and He wants to use us in the same way.
But we don’t have to wait for an angelic encounter to hear from God. In fact, God has already given you and me an assignment! The work that Christ fulfilled on the cross through His death and resurrection is just the beginning. We have been assigned to proclaim the Good News of Christ’s salvation to every nation on earth. God has given us every resource we need to accomplish this task. If you are living your life in obedience to God, you can expect Him to work miracles through your life just as He did through Mary’s.
Live a life favored by God through obedience to His Word and faith in His promises. We have an assignment today, just as Mary did all those years ago. God is ready to use you to fulfill His divine story through your life. Be alert and always ready to say “yes” to the great things the Lord has planned for you!
Questions for Thought
- What do you imagine Mary’s life was like living as a young bride-to-be in Nazareth before she had her encounter with Gabriel?
- How can you say “yes” to the assignment God has already given us in your everyday life?
Read the passage, Luke 1:46-56. Here we find Mary’s song of joy and praise to God for the great things He has done and will do in the future. Spend some time today thanking God for the great blessings He has already bestowed upon you in your life, and praise Him for the wonderful things which are to come!
Director of Communications
Abigail is a graduate of Baylor University. She loves serving the Lord’s Kingdom every day through her work at First Dallas leading the Communications Team. She enjoys traveling the world, spending time with her family and friends, reading, and being in the outdoors.