Mary Highly Favored - How we should think about Mary
"The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Luke 1:28
J. C. Ryle: We should notice, in the second place, the high privilege of the Virgin Mary. The language which the angel Gabriel addresses to her is very remarkable. He calls her "highly favored." He tells her that "the Lord is with her." He says to her, "Blessed are you among women."
It is a well-known fact, that the Roman Catholic Church pays an honor to the Virgin Mary, hardly inferior to that which it pays to her blessed Son. She is formally declared by the Roman Catholic Church to have been "conceived without sin." She is held up to Roman Catholics as an object of worship, and prayed to as a mediator between God and man, no less powerful than Christ Himself. For all this, be it remembered, there is not the slightest warrant in Scripture. There is no warrant in the verses before us now. There is no warrant in any other part of God's word.
But while we say this, we must in fairness admit, that no woman was ever so highly honored as the mother of our Lord. It is evident that one woman only out of the countless millions of the human race, could be the means whereby God could be "manifest in the flesh," and the Virgin Mary had the mighty privilege of being that one. By one woman, sin and death were brought into the world at the beginning. By the child-bearing of one woman, life and immortality were brought to light when Christ was born. No wonder that this one woman was called "highly favored" and "blessed."
One thing in connection with this subject should never be forgotten by Christians. There is a relationship to Christ within reach of us all--a relationship far nearer than that of flesh and blood--a relationship which belongs to all who repent and believe. "Whoever shall do the will of God," says Jesus, "the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." "Blessed is the womb that bare you," was the saying of a woman one day. But what was the reply? "Yes! rather blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it." (Mark 3:35; Luke 11:27.)
(J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (The Banner of Truth Trust) vl.2 pg.22-23)
G. Campbell Morgan:
"The Christian Church generally has, in the process of time, fallen into two attitudes towards the Virgin Mother, one of which is utterly wrong, while the other is mistaken. The first is that of the Roman Church, which has placed her between humanity and the Son of God. This is idolatry, and its effect has been disastrous. The second is that of Protestantism, which in a warranted re-bound from Mariolatry, has forgotten to hold the mother of our Lord in esteem which is due to her. Mary was a member of the sinning race, and needed and shared in the redemption which is provided by her Son; but the honour conferred on her was of the highest, and our thought of her, and our language concerning her, should at least not lake the dignity and respect manifested in the word of Gabriel. Hers was the crown and glory of all Motherhood, and we should ever think and speak of her reverently." (G. Campbell Morgan, Searchlights From the Word (Flemming H. Revell) pg.313)