Have you ever stopped to think about how God chose Mary to be His vessel for Christ’s entrance into the world? We know from Scripture that God knows each one of us intimately, before we are even born.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13-16).
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” ( Jeremiah 1:5).
Do you marvel at the wonders of God? Even before you were born, He appointed a set number of days for you to live. According to Ephesians 2:10, you were “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
God’s plans and His ways are not, unfortunately, something we always adhere to. The Scripture is true when it says, “We all like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). We have the unbelievable God-given ability of freewill, the right to choose to obey God or disobey Him. Amazingly, He knows what we will say before we say it and what we will do before we do it. Yet even when we disobey and do that which we know will displease Him, He does not give up on us. Instead, He continues to love us. So much so, He decided to send His Son to earth to teach us how to live. And He chose a young maiden whose days He had ordained before she was born. He knew her heart, and He knew she was obedient to Him. Mary was the perfect vessel to bring the Son of God into the world.
Twice in Luke 1:26-38 the angel Gabriel tells Mary she is highly favoured. The Greek term in verse 28 is translated “charitoō” (khä-rē-to’-ō) and means three different things that all apply to Mary:
• to make graceful – charming, lovely, agreeable
• to peruse with grace, compass with favour
• to honour with blessings
In verse 30, Gabriel tells Mary that she has found favour with God, and it means something slightly different. The root “charis” (khä’-rēs) in this case means:
• that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness; grace of speech
God "prepared in advance" the character qualities Mary would have. He honoured her with these blessings and looked on her as someone who brought Him joy, pleasure and delight. So when He came to her with the news that she would bear the Messiah He knew how she would react for she was "highly favoured".
Can you imagine being so loved and respected by God that He would honour you in such a way?
Mary obediently surrendered to God’s desires for her life. God was pleased to honour her by using her for His good purposes. Mary knew she was about to face a world full of trouble and hurt when her friends and family discovered she was pregnant. In fact, during those days she could be stoned to death. Yet she said yes to God.
God has also prepared you in advance for His good works. Your gifts, talents, character qualities - everything about you is for a specific purpose He has ordained. Are you unhappy with your life? Does it seem to always be "beating you over the head"? What we consider troubles and trials, God may consider blessings. How then should we react to bad news or heartache? God looked on Mary with favour because she was surrendered to His will. When life presents its problems to you (and it ALWAYS will) how do you react? Are you trusting God enough to surrender to His will and trust Him with the outcome?