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And having come to her he said, “Grace

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to you,

O recipient of grace,

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for THE LORD is with

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When the messenger arrived he said to her, “Rejoice in God’s grace, for you are a willing recipient of the grace God has freely shown you, and you are accepted and specially honored by Him. Here is God’s message to you: The SUPREME RULER is your close companion, with whom you have close fellowship.”



This word is obviously used as a greeting, but the greeting is based on the idea that the person being addressed is a recipient of God’s grace. The word’s primary meaning is “grace,” but it is sometimes translated “rejoice, be glad,” for those are proper responses for one that has received God’s grace. Our rejoicing can never be separated from God’s grace.

2: “recipient of grace”

It is difficult to put into English the full impact of the Greek word used here, and in my paraphrase column I risk losing the reader in too much detail. Most English translations choose to render it as “highly favored,” which is not wrong, just weak; there is so much more to it than that. Not only does the angel greet her with a greeting that is based on God’s grace, he goes on to highlight the fact that she is a willing recipient of the grace God has freely shown her, as one who is accepted and specially honored by Him. The word itself was understood by Greek speaking people to convey the following: 1) the recipient of God’s grace is willing to receive it;

2) God’s grace is freely given, it is not earned; 3) someone who receives God’s grace is highly esteemed, honored, or favored; 4) the receipt of such grace is accompanied by joy, gladness, and rejoicing.

The most remarkable aspect of this word choice is revealed when we think about whom the angel is speaking to – the “rebellious, defiant one,” for that is what Mary means. I believe Mary was a devout Jewess, raised in a good family; however, she was not a perfect child, nor a sinless young lady. With a name like that it is likely she had an inferiority complex, which may explain why the angel tells her three times that she is accepted by God and is a recipient of God’s grace. Before the angel could give her his important message, he had to address her deep insecurities and reassure her that she was accepted by God. In these ways she represents all mankind in our need of a savior, and her name was used by God to weave together a description of the coming of the Savior which includes all the characters necessary to make the story right. Without a guilty, needy, and helpless sinner as part of the narrative, the arrival of a savior would be senseless. However, the emphasis of the narrative is not her sinful condition, despite the meaning of her name; the emphasis is that she, though rebellious, has been a recipient of God’s grace, a truth that is communicated with double emphasis in this verse—“Grace to you, O recipient of grace”—and is repeated in v. 30.


This preposition means “after, with, or among,” but it communicates much more than physical proximity. Its use here indicates a closeness in relationship, a companionship with its accompanying fellowship. This is yet another way in which the text is shouting at us that the rebellious one has been fully accepted by God and because of His grace is in close fellowship with Him, to the point that He is giving her a very special role and task.


Isn’t something missing here? Some translations also have “blessed are you among women” at this point in the text. The manuscripts that do not include these words are (for the most part) the earlier, therefore, more important ones. The word “blessed are you among women” appear to have been added later by a scribe during copying, but it was added early enough to make it into many manuscripts after it. Don’t let this bother you, for the words, “blessed are you among women,” do occur in Lk 1:42 and there is no doubt about their inclusion at that point.