by Kevin Pauley
And the angel came to her and said, "Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you." - Luke 1:28 HCSB
Of all the women of Judah, Mary was chosen by God to become the mother of the Messiah, the King and Redeemer of Israel. Gabriel said she was selected because she had “found favor with God”, but what was it about Mary that caught the Lord’s attention? What qualities did she possess which “found favor with God?”
She had faith. When the priest Zacharias was told that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a son in their old age, Zacharias doubted the news. However, after being told that she would give birth to the Messiah, Mary only inquired as to how God would perform this since she was still a virgin. Zacharias doubted God’s ability to overcome his age. Mary simply did not want to defile herself. But once God cleared that issue up for her, she responded, "I am the Lord's slave. May it be done to me according to your word."
She willingly surrendered her life to God’s will. Mary did not take thought of the difficulties and inconveniences that would come her way as she would be with Child out of wedlock and then give birth to the Messiah. Mary was willing to lay aside what she willed for her life to surrender to what God had planned for her life.
She revered and adored Adonai and allowed it to overflow in song. To her God’s name was precious and sacred - “the Mighty One….holy is His name.”
She knew the Scriptures which explains why Mary possessed faith, godly reverence and a willingness to surrender herself to the Lord. Not only did she know of the promises made to the Jewish “fathers” or Patriarchs, but she actually quoted word-for-word two Scriptures from Psalms.
She possessed great intelligence and insight. Mary understood the ‘big picture’, the long term impact of what was going on. She deduced that God’s method of bringing the Messiah to the world would scatter those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. She understood the ramifications to the world’s power structures.
She recognized her own need for salvation. Mary never claimed to be sinless. We see in Luke 2:24 that Mary made sure to offer a pair of turtledoves and two young pigeons. This was the sin offering to be made by a poor person who could not afford a lamb.
Later, Mary’s faith in Christ’s identity and mission wavered. At one point, she even tried to declare Him insane! His family declared their belief that He had lost His senses. The Greek existemi sometimes translated “beside himself” is normally used to mean “insane” or “witless”. The Greek word ho para, translated “his people” also means “family.” They went on to try to get him to leave the ministry. Mary knew she was not born sinless. She knew her need for salvation. She referred to Adonai as her “Savior.”
 The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner
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Kevin Pauley is a pastor and writer. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Lynn, their five children and two dogs. His internet address is Berea.
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