How would you respond to someone greeting you with the statement, “You are highly favored?”
Would your answer change if the statement came privately?
It is one thing to have a fellow human make this type of statement to us, regardless of the motive behind it.
But what about when an angel from God speaks to you this way?
You Are Highly Favored | Luke 1:26-27
26 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.
What does “in the sixth month” refer to? (See Luke 1:24)
Elizabeth’s husband Zechariah also encountered the angel Gabriel while burning incense in the temple. (Luke 1:8—19)
Consider what the angel Gabriel says about himself to Zechariah.
19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 
What is significant about Gabriel?
Luke shared that Elizabeth and Zechariah followed God’s commandments faithfully, yet were still without children at an older age. (Luke 1:6-7)
During Zechariah’s encounter with Gabriel, we learn that Elizabeth and Zechariah had prayed to have children. Gabriel appeared to Zechariah to announce their prayers had been answered. (Luke 1:12-13)
Six months after Elizabeth became pregnant, as Gabriel had announced, God sent Gabriel on another mission.
Where did Gabriel appear this time? (Luke 1:26)
Unlike Zechariah’s encounter with Gabriel, we are not told what Mary was doing at the time Gabriel appeared to her.
Zechariah was serving in the temple at the time of his encounter.
As for Mary, the only thing we are told is that she was in Nazareth, a town in Galilee.
What other significant details does Luke reveal about Mary in Luke 1:27?
You Are Highly Favored | Luke 1:28-29
28 And [Gabriel] 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.
Gabriel did not open with “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you,” to Zechariah.
Instead, Gabriel stood at the side of the altar of incense and waited for Zechariah to notice him. (Luke 1:11-12)
Gabriel opens by telling Zechariah to not be afraid and that his prayer for a child with Elizabeth was answered. (Luke 1:13)
Zechariah and Elizabeth were both descendants of the priestly tribe of Israel. (Luke 1:5)
What is Luke emphasizing in verses 26-29 by leaving out Mary’s bloodline at this point?
How did Mary respond to Gabriel’s greeting?
What does Mary’s response reveal about her?
You Are Highly Favored | Luke 1:30-33
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.”
What does Gabriel tell Mary after calming her fear and stating for the second time that God favors her?
Describe the significance of the child Mary will bear.
You Are Highly Favored | Luke 1:34-37
In response to Gabriel’s announcement, Mary asks,
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 
Remember, Luke previously stated Mary was betrothed to Joseph, a man of the house of David. Luke also stated twice that Mary was a virgin. (Luke 1:27)
Mary rightly discerned that this child announcement would not involve the natural process of conception, since Gabriel did not mention Joseph.
Gabriel responded favorably to Mary’s question with,
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.”
What specifics did Gabriel reveal about how Mary would conceive?
Why does Gabriel mention Mary’s relative Elizabeth?
You Are Highly Favored | Luke 1:38
Consider Mary’s response to Gabriel’s last words to her.
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. 
Describe Mary’s character based on this final response to Gabriel.
You Are Highly Favored | Application
God sent the angel Gabriel to give specific information to Mary, a betrothed virgin, in a small village north of Jerusalem.
We are repeatedly told Mary is favored by God.
Yet, here she is, betrothed but not yet married, and the Lord is telling her she will bear the very Son of God through a special power of the Holy Spirit.
Imagine how hard this would be for her to explain to the following people:
- Her parents
- Extended Family
- The community
As we read Luke 1:26-38, we learn Mary will bear not just any child, but the promised Son of God from Isaiah 7:14.
What an amazingly tough assignment to receive.
God’s favor often comes with tough assignments.
Yet, God’s grace in extending His favor through these tough assignments results in His power being displayed in astonishing ways and His name being praised.
It also results in drawing us closer to Him as our Lord and Savior.
What tough assignment has God given you?
Are you resisting God’s assignment or embracing it as Mary did hers?
Share one example of seeing God’s power in your week with someone who needs encouragement.
13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.