(28) And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (29) And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. (31) And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. (31) And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.Luke 1:28-31
God iniated this part of the plan of redemption by sending an angel to a virgin named Mary. Notice how the angel greeted her. He called her “highly favoured” and “blessed”. God was choosing to use Mary for this incredible responsibility, and in doing so the angel is pointing out the honor that is being given to her in being chosen.
He also said that “the Lord was with” Mary. God is omnipresent. He is everywhere. This presence though spoke of God’s working in Mary’s life. Gabriel certainly would have understood and experienced God’s presence. In Luke 1:19 he said about his own experience:
And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.Luke 1:19
God was choosing to use Mary for this incredible task, and she was taken back by this kind of greeting.
(29) And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.Luke 1:29
Just as was the case with Zacharias when he saw the angel, the sudden presence of this supernatural being “troubled” Mary. But she was not just troubled at his presence, but in what he said. What did all this mean? It’s a natural question.
Just as was the case with Zacharias, Gabriel told her not to be afraid. He told her the specifics of the task for which she was chosen. What was this honor and favour leading to for Mary?
Well to answer that we see the first of three times that the word “behold” is used in this passage.
(31) And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.Luke 1:31
Mary was being chosen by God to supernaturally conceive and birth the son of God. What an incredible task!
Much more can and will be said about this conception and birth, but it is right at this point to say that God chose to use people in His plan of redemption. To be clear, Mary did not and can not redeem anyone. Only Jesus can save. Yet, God chooses people to play the part that they can in sharing his plan of redemption with the world. We do what we can do, and in God’s plan of redemption He does what only He can do. The scripture says this important truth:
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.2 Peter 3:9
That God would use any of us is not because we are so deserving, but because He is so loving and gracious to us. We are truly highly favored to take on this responsibility of participating in this plan of redemption.
How can you be used specifically today to share God’s plan of redemption with someone?