Luke 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Reading the text of the Annunciation, we notice an interesting detail in Gabriel’s message to Mary, “Thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee.”

Since Mary was highly favored as a chosen vessel to accomplish God’s will, it seems unnecessary or almost redundant to state, “The Lord is with thee.” However, divine favor automatically comes at a high price. We notice the toll exacted on Mary’s spirit, evidenced by her initial reaction, “She was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.” Luke 1:29 But why did she dread the election or favor of God?

Well, think of Job for a moment. This man of integrity was so highly favored that when Satan appeared with the other angels in a heavenly audience, God specifically asked the adversary to consider testing Job. (Job 1:6-8, Job 2:1-3) Due to God’s extreme appreciation for the man’s sterling character, poor Job became the object of a relentless attack. But through it all, God remained with His faithful servant during the trial.

The Bible clearly states, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 However, that verse does not say the person who is predestined to accomplish God’s purpose will have an easy life. No, the verse only confirms that in the end, God orchestrates every event to accomplish His will for the ultimate good of those He calls. However, with divine election, we absolutely need God’s sustaining presence to help us bear the weight of His favor.

Poor Mary! The task God gave her was not going to be easy. As a very godly Jewish girl, she was being asked to bear the horrible shame of pregnancy before marriage. Although many people no longer seem to value legitimacy of childbirth within the bonds of wedlock, yet Mary could have actually been executed for her pregnancy according to God’s Law (Deuteronomy 22:21). So, without God’s abiding presence overshadowing Mary, His divine favor could have actually led to her death.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him forget about himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25 In another place Christ said to evaluate the price that serving God will cost before you begin! (Luke 14:25-34)

After listening to Gabriel’s announcement of God’s favor, I think Mary knew her life would be very difficult, yet she humbly replied, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:38 In spite of the prophecy that a sword would pierce Mary’s soul (Luke 2:35), yet the Blessed Virgin willingly surrendered her life to bear God’s favor, while trusting in His constant help.

So, what about you? Are you brave enough to accept God’s favor, along with His help? God’s plan to save your soul cost many individuals a great price to establish. Although free, your Salvation was not cheap. What are you willing to give so that others might believe and be saved?

Edwin Woolsey’s family has lived in Shannon, Texas, and Howell counties since 1860. He taught 31 years at Missouri public schools and is currently the pastor of a small country congregation at Pilgrim Rest Community Church. Follow him on Twitter at @edwinwoolsey.

“Tragically, our kids are going to hell… because we have irresponsibly allowed them to drift in that direction without any input or restraint on our part, trusting in the damnable doctrine of “Age of Accountability.”

-Edwin Woolsey

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply