“Highly Favored, full Of Grace, You are blessed!” Can you guess who I’m talking about? The first person to whom this salutation was recorded in the Bible was in Luke 1:28. Yes it’s Mary. Let’s look at the whole greeting, hmmm? “Hail! Thou art highly favored! The Lord is with thee; Fear not! For thou hast found favor with God.” UN-merited, unearned favor with God is the pure definition of grace! Yes Mary had grace bestowed on her, unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor.
The angel did NOT say: “Hey there! Congratulations! You’ve just reached the highest level of brownie points humanly possible with God and your reward is, you will be the mother of the Messiah!” No the angel told her God’s grace was upon her. UN-merited favor is something you do not deserve.
As a former Catholic, I understand that I could be stoned or burned at the stake for committing blasphemy of Mary but really, I think Mary is quite embarrassed by the unfortunate hyper-value or deity that has been placed on her by that religion and others. Mary needed to be saved from her sin by Jesus like all of us. “Mary Did You Know” is the most beautiful Christmas song. The words are so awesome: “This Child that you deliver, will soon deliver you.”
Now comes the real point of this blog: Our status as born-again Christians is the same as Mary or better. The whole Old Testament is full of people, Jesus said, who looked forward to the time when men would be freed from the guilt of sin, when sin would not be imputed unto them, a time of God’s grace upon mankind. (1 Peter 1:10, Matt 13:17, Psalm 32:2) John the Baptist was the greatest among those born as humans, but we, born of His Kingdom, are greater than John The Baptist. (Matt 11:11)