The angel Gabriel visited Mary to announce the plans of God for her. I wonder what it felt like to have him appear out of nowhere. I know how it goes when someone comes up behind me unexpectedly—I jump, my heart races and I have to catch my breath. I can’t imagine her shock, especially in what he said: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God.” Mary found favor with the God of the universe!
What does it mean to have favor? We tend to view it as someone who gets a lot of access into places, or with people, the average person doesn’t get. In Luke 1:28 it means “to grace or highly honor” someone. My stepdaughter’s friend consistently runs into celebrities in the most unusual places. I don’t know if I’ve met even one, but this young man meets some of the biggest stars on a regular basis and takes photos to prove it. This can be considered favor. Another example of favor is when someone is seen in a crowd, chosen and placed into a position that others wanted and were possibly more qualified for. Remember how David was called out to be king among all of his brothers who appeared more qualified? That’s favor. These are examples, but it’s not a full picture of the meaning.
In Luke 1:30 above, favor means “to be graciously accepted”. Think about that. You and I are highly favored in God’s eyes because we are graciously accepted. It’s not about what we did. A few years ago, the Lord told me it would be a year of favor. I initially got excited because I thought of the doors and opportunities He was going to open for me. He reminded me of this verse and that favor was first about being accepted. From this place of being accepted, doors open and opportunities can be accessed. We first have to believe that we are accepted. I’ve seen people miss open doors because they didn’t know this truth. It all starts here.
Let’s go back to Mary. She wasn’t favored by God because she was going to birth the Messiah. If that’s the case then favor can be based on what we do. Mary was favored because she was accepted first. From that place of acceptance, she was able to birth the Savior and a whole new era. Let that sink in. You are accepted. You are favored. As you grasp this, you can fully step into all God asks of you and all the places He invites you into. You are highly favored!