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Jesus, God of Gracious Condescension

And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

Luke 1:28

Watch session one: Jesus responds to our need

As stories go, everything about Mary’s seemed impossible. It seemed impossible that, after four hundred years of silence, God would send a messenger to a young girl probably no more than fifteen years old. It seemed impossible that a girl would find fa – vor with God. And it seemed impossible that through a virgin would come “the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32).

It certainly seemed impossible to Mary.

an ordinary girl

It’s hard to picture it—an ordinary Mary. A Mary without a glowing halo. A Mary without that expression of demure solemnity we’ve come to associate with her virginity. But the truth is, Mary was just that: ordinary—a noname girl from a no-name town, living in an insignificant corner of the Roman Empire. Still, we struggle to accept her ordinariness.

“But Mary was humble,” we object. Or, “She was holy,” we tell ourselves.

No matter how we put it, we all do it. We buy into the idea that God chose Mary because there was something about her that made her extraordinary. Something that made her worthy of God’s notice. Something that made her special. But that’s not the picture of Mary we get from the Gospel of Luke. Far from it. When Gabriel appeared to Mary and called her “favored,” when he exclaimed, “the Lord is with you,” Mary didn’t know what to do with it. Surely Gabriel had made a mistake. Surely he’d gotten the wrong girl. Mary, the gospel writer tells us, “was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be” (Luke 1:29). Mary’s story seemed impossible. It seemed impossible to her, and it should seem impossible to us—but that, of course, is precisely the point.

but for grace

Mary’s story is impossible. But for grace. It’s easy to come to Mary’s story and be so overcome by the miracle of the Virgin Birth that we forget about the miracle of grace. We forget that it was grace that sent Gabriel with a message of good news to a no-name town under Roman subjugation. We forget that it was grace that looked on Mary, an unimpressive, ordinary girl, with favor. And we forget that it was grace, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that made it possible for a virgin girl to bear the very Son of God—Jesus, the rescuer of humankind. Grace is the outpour – ing of God’s condescension, the bridge that connects the ordinary and the impossible. It did in Mary’s life, and it does in our own.

We live within the limitations of our ordinariness. Maybe we have ordinary skills. Maybe we have ordinary jobs. Or maybe we have ordinary relationships. But we can find comfort in knowing that the same grace that moved in Mary’s life is the grace that moves in ours. It is the grace of a God who bends to look on us with favor. It has nothing to do with us and who we are, but everything to do with Jesus and who he is.

It is because of grace that Gabriel could say to Mary, “Nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). And it is because of grace that God says the same to us.


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Daily Question

Do you really believe God graces the ordinary? Or are there places you strive to be better than ordinary in order to earn God’s grace?

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Comments (10)

In the past I always felt I had to be perfect to have prayers answered. The more I know, the more I realize there is nothing I can do to earn God’s graces. When I asked Jesus in my heart and to be my savior, all of Gods love mercy and grace was waiting for me. I ask for little things every day because he said ask for big and small. I have asked for the impossible and he has answered beautifully and has given me great things to witness about. I always try to do my best but I fall short every day. I’m so thankful there isn’t requirements to Gods grace. I need it every day❤️

I do believe God graces the ordinary. There is certainly nothing special about me or my abilities yet God has used me.
But I have been guilty of trying to earn his grace.

It’s by God’s Grace that I am where I am today. Years ago, I would never had thought that I would be involved in girls’ ministries, mentoring to young ladies & more. Being divorced, I really didn’t think church people would accept me in their ministries. However, by God’s Grace, I found the love & acceptance of a particular church. God led me to the love of children & compassion in several ministries, which is the high lite of my life.

I believe that God uses the ordinary person to do extraordinary things. He only requires a willing vessel. I must accept that God can, will and does use me as long as I am willing to submit to his will.

I believe God gives grace to the ordinary, however, not always me. I long to be better by having a bigger house, more money, nicer furniture, nicer car. I sometimes feel that if I had these things that I could be more hospitable and have people over more. I am learning through this in that I did feel God speak to me that regardless of what your house is, or lack of money you can still have people out because being hospitable is more about your actions then the surroundings. Because of this I had 2 co workers out to my house to work on stuff for work. I don’t know what God may be doing but through this I can be Jesus to them and serve them.

I do, I think it is the best way to show his glory and almighty power. I struggle in areas attempting to be better than ordinary for example, giving or loving others well. I like to imagine he is smiling down on those efforts. I should not rest my acceptance upon those acts.

I believe God graces the ordinary. We all start out ordinary from the get go. God graces us as we grow in him and obey him. I don’t strive to be better than ordinary because I feel that I am not worthy; that’s Gods job.

I definitely think I strive to be extraordinary in certain areas of my life, because I don’t want to be forgotten or unmemorable to others. I want God to find favor in me, but more often I want others to find favor in me as well. This was a great reminder that God works in the ordinary, and is able to show us His grace in the ordinary.

Maybe I look at my own understanding…always wondering if God will know that I’m one of those that "gets it."…like a twisted teacher’s pet. Gross. What a terrible thing to realize. But, the fact of the matter is that I don’t…I don’t "get it." I’m a wreck most of the time…and, it’s possible that it’s a direct result of always thinking "I got this"…until I don’t. And, now I perpetually DO NOT "got it." It’s the height of selfishness. I’ve made an idol out of self-reliance, and I’ve made a mess of my thought life, my spiritual life, my stress level, and my health.

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