“His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear him.”
Luke 1:50 CSB
Importantly, Mary also indicates that God’s mercy is for those who fear Him. What might this mean? Is God’s mercy, His compassion, conditional?
Our Lord’s ultimate desire is to show mercy to all (eg, see Romans 11:32). So if His mercy is for all then perhaps one consideration is that fearing Him helps us to experience what is already ours.
In addition, when Mary is initially troubled by the angel Gabriel’s announcement, she is told, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (1:30). Shortly after this, in the next chapter, an angel tells the shepherds not to fear (after they are initially “terrified”) for the angel has “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (2:10) and then a multitude of angels is described as praising God and announcing “peace on earth to people he favors” (2:14).
This story indicates that people no longer need to fear when God finds favor with them. And it seems Jesus’ birth points to God’s favor over all people! Is it possible that even our most natural impulse to fear God is unnecessary because of the mercy and favor that were set in motion by Jesus’ birth?