Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you!
“26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed (engaged) to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.”
Luke 1:26-29 NKJV (brackets mine)
The angel Gabriel appears to Mary to bring her the news of the supernatural conception, and his introduction is “Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” This greeting troubles Mary.
“Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.”
Luke 1:29 NLT
Many Christians would also be confused and disturbed if an angel, or even God greeted them like this, because we don’t feel highly favoured, blessed and as is the Lord is with us. Many of us would feel more as ease if we were greeted with a rebuke or something condemning: “You pitiful one! You sinful and weak one! God is far from you!”. If we feel more comfortable with the negative greeting more than the positive one, it’s because we don’t know God’s true nature and we don’t know our true identity as Christians.
The phrase “highly favoured” was translated from the Greek word “CHARITOO” which is also translated as accepted in Ephesians 1:6 (we are “accepted in the beloved”).
Just like Mary, we are accepted and highly favoured of God. This is nothing to do with our performance but is purely by grace. God loves you, God favours you and God accepts you because of Jesus and what He did for you.