Mary Did You Know: Finding Favor

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David Bahn-Reflections Podcast 

Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Art Deco Train Station-Another View | Omaha, NE | November 2022

It seems easier and easier for me to lose things these days. Where are my keys? “Have you looked…,” Diane will reply. I can’t find my earbuds (She may actually have hidden them, after all). I laid my phone down somewhere. Did you see it? Thankfully the phone has a find me feature. Not so much the keys or the earbuds. They could be gone forever if I lose them. Maybe you can identify with that.

Many of us are on a quest of which we may be completely unaware. In the words of the country western song, we’re all very inclined to be looking for love in all the wrong places. The French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal famously said:

“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” – Blaise Pascal

So when I read that Mary is told by the angel, “You have found favor with God…,” I am intrigued. Was she looking for that? Was she yearning for God’s favor? Was there a vacuum in her heart? Wasn’t she a daughter of Abraham? Wasn’t she a daughter of the covenant? Wasn’t she already in?

Perhaps she did not know that she was yearning for Jesus Christ. Could be that she really didn’t know that the son soon to be born would be God in the flesh. St. Augustine says “You have made us for yourself O Lord and our hearts are restless until they  rest in you.”

Did you know, Mary, that you needed rest that could only be supplied by resting in the goodness, faithfulness, love, and mercy of God? Did you know that the child to be born of whom you were about to learn would fill a vacuum in your heart?

I suspect all this is true for many today. We may put our yearnings in categories of disease, guilt, shame, disappointment, loneliness, emptiness, hopelessness, betrayal, or death’s looming shadow. But we’re all empty vessels, and sadly we too very often seek to fill ourselves with all the wrong things. Mary may have been different, and for that reason chosen to bear the Son of God. Salvation comes to us by God’s grace – from first to last. But those of noble character – though no more saved by grace than you or me – find God’s favor in unique ways. And although Mary found favor with God, she would still need herself a Savior. The Child that [she] delivered would soon deliver [her.] We’re all broken, but character before God matters.

Mary is a bit unlike David or Saul of Tarsus. They both had to have a sharp rebuke in order to be shaped more fully to God’s purpose and plan. Mary’s would be much more gentle (cf. Matthew 12:46-50). But Mary had found favor with God. I yearn for that as well. I hope to find it. I pray that you do too, dear reader. I pray that you do too.

Mary Did You Know?

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will calm the storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby
You kiss the face of God

Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great, I Am

Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? Oh

Songwriters: Mark Lowry / Buddy Greene
Mary, Did You Know? lyrics © Greensleeves Publishing Limited, Word Music, LLC

PS: You might find it interesting to read this biblical examination of the song.

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