A recent sermon I heard put a new twist on a familiar passage. I’d like to share it with you. The message was about Mary. Luke 1:30 says “the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.’” “Found favor” literally means “highly favored” and “greatly blessed.” What a privilege to be used by God in such a special way! The same word is used for us in Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. So we are just as richly blessed and highly favored as Mary – what a wonderful privilege!!!
But wait a minute. There’s more to this than first meets the eye. Think of what Mary went through in life. She was criticized and rejected for being pregnant before she was married. She didn’t have a decent place to give birth, and then they had to flee to a foreign country to save their lives. Her family was full of discord as her other children thought Jesus was crazy. Later, as a widow, she watched her Son rejected and cruelly tortured and murdered. Is that what it means to be highly favored? Yes, in fact it does. If we follow Jesus, then we will experience what He experienced (John 15:18-21). No one was more highly favored by God than Jesus, but He was not highly favored by His fellow man or by life in general. Neither will we be. If you became a Christian to have a cushy, easy life, you are mistaken. If you follow Jesus to have all your needs and wants instantly met, you will be greatly disappointed.
The great blessings we receive because we are highly favored will come to us in the next life, not this one. They ARE coming, but not yet. We will experience them in heaven. Does this world look like heaven?
John 15:18-21 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.
Are you surprised, even disappointed, by the difficulties you face in life? Turn your eyes to Jesus and faithfully serve Him, as Mary did. You ARE highly favored. The blessings are coming. Remember that you are not living your best life now, but one day you will be!