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Mary did not know it yet, but she needed encouragement. God has a wonderful way of building us up before we need it. At this point in the story, she was clueless what was about to happen. She was engaged to be married but a virgin. God sent a messenger to let her know what an amazing woman she was.

AND God was with her. She needed to know that. She needed confidence even though she didn’t know it. She would find out soon enough. But first things first. That is God’s way.

So … she would learn more soon. But to get started, God encouraged her. That is his way. God is good and in a good mood. Always!

  • Is it my way?
  • Do I encourage first?
  • May it be so.

And in the sixth month [of Elizabeth’s pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God [and therefore by God] into a city of Galilee that had the name Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph from the household of David [that is, descended from King David]; and the virgin’s name [was] Mary. And on coming into her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one; the Master [is] with you!”[1]

Luke 1:26-28 (Literal Translation – Gundry)

When you consider Gabriel’s greeting, you can well understand why Mary was perplexed and afraid: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!” (The phrase Blessed art thou among women is not found here in many Greek manuscripts. You find it in Luke 1:42.)

  • Why would an angel come to greet her?
  • In what way was she “highly favored” (“greatly graced”) by God?
  • How was God with her?

Mary’s response reveals her humility and honesty before God. She certainly never expected to see an angel and receive special favors from heaven. There was nothing unique about her that such things should happen. If she had been different from other Jewish girls, as some theologians claim she was, then she might have said, “Well, it’s about time! I’ve been expecting you!” No, all of this was a surprise to her.

Gabriel then gave her the good news: she would become the mother of the promised Messiah whom she would name Jesus (“Jehovah is salvation”). Note that Gabriel affirmed both the deity and the humanity of Jesus. As Mary’s son, He would be human; as Son of the Highest, He would be the Son of God. “For unto us a Child is born [His humanity], unto us a Son is given [His deity]” (Isa. 9:6). The emphasis is on the greatness of the Son, not the greatness of the mother.[2]


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[1] Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 224). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

[2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 172). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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