In Luke 1:26-31, the angel of the Lord appears to Mary and tells her that she is favored by the Lord and that He is with her. Was this the angel Gabriel or a manifestation of God?
What exactly does having God’s favor mean and how is it applied here?
We are not surprised by her reaction of fear but intrigued by her pondering what was said to her. What can ‘pondering’ mean in this situation and are there other biblical examples? And what are the ways that we have the favor of the Lord?
Yes, in Luke 1:26-31, the angel who appears to Mary is identified as Gabriel. He is sent by God to deliver a message to Mary about her role in God’s plan.
Having God’s favor means that one has found grace in God’s sight and is the recipient of His blessing and kindness. In the case of Mary, the angel tells her that she has found favor with God and will conceive and give birth to a son who will be called Jesus, the Son of the Most High. This is a remarkable blessing, as Jesus was the promised Messiah who would save His people from their sins.
Mary’s reaction of fear is understandable, as it is not every day that an angel appears to deliver such an extraordinary message. However, her response of pondering what was said to her shows that she was taking the message seriously and seeking to understand its significance. Pondering in this context can mean reflecting deeply and seeking to discern what God’s plan might be.
There are other examples in the Bible of people who pondered God’s message and sought to understand its meaning. For example, in Luke 2:19, after the shepherds had seen the baby Jesus and told Mary and Joseph what the angels had said to them, it says that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Similarly, in Luke 2:51, after Jesus had been found in the temple, it says that Mary “treasured all these things in her heart.”
There are many ways that we can have the favor of the Lord, such as through faith in Jesus Christ, obedience to God’s commands, and a humble and contrite heart. The Bible also teaches that God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6-7), and that He delights in showing His favor to those who seek Him with their whole heart (Psalm 119:2).