Favour With God
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible."
Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
[Luke 1:26-38 NKJV]
The name Mary is a diminutive of Miriam and means ‘rebellion’. What was Mary, the mother of Jesus in rebellion against? The only clue we have lies in how God often uses people with a strong natural character — the apostle Paul is a striking example. Perhaps she can be looked upon as rebelling against the perceived religious wisdom of her day (and of the present time also) which declares that women are secondary to a man. Whatever the answer, Mary must have been ‘a strong woman’.
In the section of Luke 1 quoted above, there is no mention of the husbands of either Mary or Elizabeth. The only man is Jesus and “He will be great”. The only ‘man’ in the Bible is Jesus — the rest of us (male and female) are ‘women’ in God’s eyes, because we must each birth ‘the man child’. In this way, Jesus can be rebirthed in His people, to form ‘the Church of Jesus Christ’. This is the work of The Holy Spirit and reveals that with God nothing is impossible.
When we abide in Him, we dwell in The Holy Spirit and He lives in us just as Gabriel pronounced; The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. In this way, by giving birth we effectively become the child we have given birth to — to be transformed into Sons of God.
For any one of us whom The Lord has touched, we are eternally changed. We may not yet become perfect, but we are all set on the road to perfection in Christ Jesus. Why? Because we have ‘found favour with God’.
If not rebellion, it is certainly a step beyond the ordinary that we are invited to embrace when The Holy Spirit speaks.
“... He is my rock and my salvation” (Psalm 62:6). A rock conveys the idea of an encircling guard, as that of a mother watching her child who is learning to walk; should the child fall, he falls into the encircling love and watchfulness of the mother’s care. “The LORD is my rock,” my encircling guard. Where did the Psalmist learn this truth? In the school of silent waiting upon God.
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GEORGE and GILL STEWART