Skip to comments.Who is Mary of Nazareth?
Posted on 04/08/2008 3:40:51 PM PDT by annalex
Who is Mary of Nazareth?
By Kenneth J. Howell, Ph. D.
What kind of woman was Mary of Nazareth? As is true of Jesus, we know nothing of Marys physical appearance or demeanor. But the historical sources give us a rather detailed picture of Marys character.
Several historical sources give us much biographical information about Mary and they may be fairly reliable documents, but in this article I want to ask what we can learn from the canonical Scriptures about Marys life and character.
Its often heard that the Bible says very little about Mary, but a closer look at Scripture reveals something quite different. If we use even the most superficial of criteria (i.e.,number of words and verses), the New Testament says more about Mary than it does on topics everyone considers essential. For example, the very important parallelism between Adam and Christ in Pauls epistles occupies only two passages with a total of thirteen verses (Rom 5:12-21, ten verses & I Cor. 15:21-23, three verses). Passages about Mary in the birth narrative of Lukes Gospel alone occupy eighty-two verses. And this isnt counting Matthew, Mark and John.
My personal experience as a non-Catholic Christian convinced me that I couldnt find much about Mary because I wasnt looking for it. Also, the Scriptures sometimes teach deep and rich truths in a very short space. For example, the topic of justification by faith occupies a very small portion of the New Testamentits only discussed directly in Romans, Galatians and James 2:14-26but it has played an enormously important role in the history of the Christian faith. Thus, it is unwise to conclude that the amount of verses devoted to a topic in the Bible is directly linked to its importance. In any case, theres more in the Bible about Mary than is often supposed.
A Woman for Our Times
Mary of Nazareth seems on the surface to be an ordinary Jewish woman whose life was indistinguishable from many others. She cooked, sewed and cleaned. She prayed, conversed and served the needs of her family. Yet what we see in the biblical stories of Jesus birth shows that Marys life was extraordinary. Her extraordinariness did not lie in herself; it was a divine gift. By the free choice of God the Father, she was predestined to be the mother of the Redeemer. By His mercy, the heavenly Father filled her soul with His grace and His presence. In divine providence, Mary became the Spouse of the Holy Spirit by receiving in her womb the Son of God. In the silence of her Sons infant life, she contemplated the astounding truths of heaven.
This contrast between the ordinary and the extraordinary is important. The significance of Marys life was hidden from everyday view. Rarely could others around her see the remarkable power and meaning of her life, just as many could see nothing remarkable about the life of her Son. And Mary precedes us all in that same respect. Paul says our life is also hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3,4). Our outward life may seem very ordinary, but the inner strength of our life is the same as Marys. The source of that strength is the One whom Mary borethe Savior of Bethlehem.
We share so much with Mary. Like her, we are called to be disciples of her Son. When she and Joseph found Jesus in the temple, they both learned more of what being disciples meant. It means giving over to God the Father the things in our lives which are most precious to us. But discipleship is impossible without faith, and Marys example of faith calls us to the same commitment. When she said YES to God (Lk 1:38), she called us to faith in Christ by her example. Faith also means walking with God in the dark times when we cant see where the road ahead is leading. Mary knew that experience by her hidden life. She won no awards and received no acclaim from the world in her day. Yet her hidden life was brimming with importance and power.
Though her life appeared insignificant, her greatest influence came through the suffering she would endure. Simeons words in Luke 2:35 call us to the same life as Marysa life of blessing through suffering. And not just any suffering. Her suffering and ours must be united with and flow from the sufferings of Marys Son, Marys Lord and ours.
We must recognize that while we are like Mary in many ways, she is also unique. The Mother of Jesus became a unique channel of Christs bodily presence in the world. Through her body the Son of God, indeed God Himself, took His shape and form. Her eyes, her face, her stature, her blood, her DNA. Whatever natural makeup His body had, it came from this blessed virgin. We can never give to Jesus what Mary gave to Him. She cooperated in Gods plan of salvation in a unique way. We can never give the substance of our bodies to Jesus the way Mary did, but we can do what others around Mary did. We can welcome Jesus into our lives, our world, our businesses, our homes, our schools and our hearts. We can welcome both the Son of God into our lives, and His mother who is blessed above all women (Lk 1:42).
Imagine yourself to be Simeon and you see the salvation of Israel (Lk 2:30,31). Would it have been possible to hail the One who would redeem the world, and not also call His mother blessed among women? Dont we call them happy, even blessed, who receive great gifts from God? Isnt Mary then the most blessed person to have ever lived? She received in her own body the greatest gift that anyone has ever received.
Mary is an instrument of the presence of God. She is a tabernacle where the Son of God came to dwell in the midst of His people (cf. John 1:14). We can look at the experience and promise of Gods presence in the Old Testament among the people of Israel because it is there that we learn of Gods yearning to live among His people.
When the people of Israel were in the desert and saw the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, they bowed down and worshiped the Lord who had come to visit them with His special, local presence (Ex 33: 9,10). The same experience happened at the birth of Jesus. Matthew tells us that the Magi "found the child with Mary his mother." Their response was like that of the ancient Israelites who encountered the presence of God directly. "They fell down and worshiped him" (Mt 2:11). The Magi didnt simply feel Gods general presence around them. They came to a specific place where God had given His presence in a specific way. They worshiped an infant boy who was Gods presence made specific and local. They did not worship Mary just as the Israelites did not worship the tabernacle itself. But the Magi did honor Mary with their gifts because they recognized that she was the instrument of bringing Gods presence into the world.
Our goal as Christians is to find those places where God manifests His presence in our times, and to go there with the expectation of worshiping Him and of honoring those who are the instruments of His presence. God transforms and unifies His people by giving them His presence. And Gods presence, once it fills the hearts of Gods people, brings unity in their relationships with one another. I believe that if Christians recognized Mary as Gods chosen instrument of unity for Christians, we would see a level of spiritual life and unity among Christians unprecedented in the last four hundred years of western Christianity.
Marys Response and Ours
Marys response to Gods grace in her life helps us to understand that unity among Christians comes through faith and obedience. Mary is a sign, an indicator of how we must respond to God. What were Marys responses? The most justly famous is her response to Gods invitation through Gabriel, "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38). With this commitment she showed herself to be Jesus mother in both the natural and supernatural orders. It was a response prompted by grace and fulfilled by obedience. And obedience leads to praise. Mary praised her heavenly Father in the Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55) for the salvation that had dawned on the human race. Any parent knows the delight of having a child express thanks for favors done. Mary knew instinctively that the Father in heaven would be pleased with her song of thanksgiving. She wanted to give praise to Him because she wanted to delight His heart.
What moved Mary to obedience and praise? Wasnt it her contemplative spirit? She constantly "treasured up these words" turning them over in her mind and heart again and again (Lk 2:19, 51). Mary knew, as Paul would later write, that the life of her Son, the Christ, was a mystery (see Col 1:24-2:3 esp. 2:2). Indeed, Christs life contained "the mystery that was hidden for ages and generations, but now has been revealed to the saints" (Col 1:26).
Mystery in the Bible is not a five dollar novel but a priceless revelation of the Fathers glory (cf. Jn 1:14-18). Paul calls it a mystery because it is at once revealed and concealed. Concealed to the spiritually obtuse; revealed to those with open hearts.
Since Marys life was inseparably bound to Jesus, her life becomes a mystery just like His. In fact, their lives are not two separate mysteries but one grand mysterythe mystery of salvation. Jesus life is the saving mystery and Mary was drawn into it by grace. Thats why Marys life is a sign of salvation, because her life is drawn into the mystery of her Sons life. Salvation is to be drawn into the love and power of the Son of God. Christ humbled himself to share in our humanity that we might share His divinity. Mary is a harbinger of our future.
Our response to Mary is indicated by how others around her responded to her extraordinary life. Those responses strike me as compelling because I looked on Mary as little more than the virgin-mother for the first forty years of my life. Mary was simply a biblical fact. Even then I never plumbed the depths of her virginity or maternity. But the responses to Mary in the Bible compel us because they provide wisdom and guidance on how we should respond to Gods extraordinary work in her life. They compel us because they are responses to Gods grace. And what does our salvation depend on? On how we respond to Gods grace and salvation!
No better clue to our response can be found than Elizabeths, John the Baptists mother. Her spirit-filled words to Mary (cf Lk 1:41) should penetrate every Christians heart, "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb" (Lk 1:42). We can scarcely imagine what it would be like for the mother of our Lord to come to our home as she carried God within her womb (Lk 1:43). We can and should be no less amazed than Elizabeth to have Mary in our lives.
Simeon provides a further indicator of the proper response to Mary. For Simeon, the baby in Marys arms was "the light of revelation for the Gentiles and the glory of Israel." The old prophet knew that this child was destined for "the falling and rising of many in Israel and a sign to be contradicted" (Lk 2:34). But Simeon also knew that Marys future life was so intimately bound to her Sons that he promised her, under the direct inspiration of the Spirit, that "a sword will also pierce your soul" (Lk 2:35). The future sufferings of Jesus would be so profuse that they would overflow into Marys life. Her life would become a mirror of His life. Today, we can look upon Mary as a reflection of Jesus her Son. Mary is our window into the one and only Son of God who alone can unify people torn apart by misunderstanding and prejudice.
But perhaps our most important response to Mary is guided by that of Joseph. It is almost impossible to imagine the puzzlement and pain he must have felt when he learned that his espoused was pregnant (Mt 1:20). Yet Matthews account shows clearly how Joseph obediently played the role that divine providence had set for him. In the quiet background, Joseph took his place in the kingdom of God to perform Gods will no less than Mary. And his love for Mary and Jesus flowed from a truly just and holy heart (Mt 1:19). His love for his wife Mary was a perfect picture of Christs love for the Church (cf. Eph 5:29). It is the same love we are called to have for Jesus and Mary.
Why, there is sufficient scriptural evidence that St. Luke and St. John at least were firsthand familiar with the life of Our Lady; we know from scripture that she was with the other apostles as well at Pentecost. St. Justin Martyr (early 2c) offers the cornerstone of all orthodox mariology -- the symmetry between Mary and Eve -- which only works if Mary is completely free from sin. If the Holy Tradition did not supply that knowledge to St. Justin, he had no reason to invent it and risk someone proving him wrong.
We are never going to resolve these differences
Thousands of converts from Protestantism each Easter prove otherwise.
The Catholic population as a percent of the total is declining, so what does that tell us? Popularity is not a proof one way or the other.
Immaculate conception means that Mary was conceived free from original sin. Before I am accused of overstating the case, the Immaculate Conception doctrine was formulated with such precision late, in 19c. to be precise.
The historical belief of the Catholic and Orthodox Church of the seven ecumentical councils, held unchanged today by the Orthodox is that Mary was a virgin when Christ was conceived and remained virgin following His birth and was free from all sin all her life. However, the historical Church did not specify with precision at what moment exactly Mary was free from all sin, because the concept of Original sin was not universally held with such precision as it is held now in the West, at that time. Once the concept of original sin — a sinful predisposition inherited from Adam and present from conception in all men — has been developed in the West, Immaculate Conception became a logically necessary refinement of the historical belief in sinlessless of Mary.
The practice of the Church — since the Pentecost till today — is that doctrines are formulated when a controversy about them arises but not sooner. The fact that a doctrine was proclaimed at a given time, say in 19c does not mean that the doctrine was something made up or innovated at that time. In fact, churches were dedicated to the immaculate conception in the West way before the 1st Vatican council, — it had been a belief of the Church all along in some inchoate form.
Existence of well-informed converts prove that individual Protestants can change and come home to the Catholic Church for reasons of conscience.
As if there are not well informed Catholics who leave the church and find they have a better relationship with Christ elsewhere.
I never read a convincing Protestant conversion story. The template is always
— The Catholic Church does not teach from scripture
— I was told that rituals and rules save me
— Now I have a personal relationship with Jesus and read the Bible.
A well-informed Catholic will never say such dreck. Sure people leave: the Church is an early-medieval countercultural, terribly demanding institution, while Protestantism caters to the modern middle class with utter servility.
But my point was much simpler than that — you said that the Church cannot change people’s minds and the presence of informed converts demonstrates otherwise.
The terms for brother, step-brother, and cousin did not have the distinct meanings that they have in modern English, hence the misinterpretations that result from using modern English as the definitive basis for one's interpretations.
Because it is not a big issue to Protestants. As far as who is 'well informed' and what is 'dreck', that is nothing but your biased opinion and only serves to be inflammatory. As far as me saying 'the Church cannot change people's minds', I never said that. I just don't see fights between denominations or Catholics vs. Protestants as being God's will. I view us all as brothers and sisters in Christ, and most of the differences we bicker over mean little to God.
Is the person Jesus God incarnate, or is he something less?
The people who originally rejected "Mother of God" (or its Greek equivalent, Theotokos), thought Jesus was something less than God incarnate. Do you agree with them?
Why certain people may have rejected term “Mother of God” hundreds of years ago is of no concern to me nor does it have any relevance to me. Jesus was the manifestation of God in the flesh, and that is who specifically the Bible calls Mary the mother of. The Bible does not refer to Mary as the Mother of God or the Queen of Heaven or any of the other Godlike titles Catholics like to give to Mary. God and the Son existed long before Mary, and to call Mary Mother of God needless confuses things.
I enumerated the elements that point to the former Catholic being badly informed: the ideas that the Church does not teach or know the scripture, that the sacraments are rituals, that obedience to rules saves, that personal relationship with Jesus cannot exist in a liturgical hierarchical church -- all come from ignorance of Catholicism.
Do these differences "mean little to God"? The scripture tells us that they are of great concern to God: St. Paul was furious that there were divisions in Corinth; Christ prayed fervently that we be one as His Father and He are one. Surely we can cooperate, for example, in pro-life politics, and very much in Protestantism remains Catholic and is therefore authentic Christianity, even though it is rarely acknowledged. However, the religious belief dictates culture and culture drives politics; it is hard for me to observe the centrifugal trajectory of Protestant Christianity in the past few centuries and not to expect even weaker bonds between us in the future.
The division Paul spoke of was not about things like what title to call Mary by. The divisions Paul spoke against was that who to follow. Some were saying Paul, others were saying Appolo, others were saying Christ. That is what Paul was upset by. People are saved by belief in Christ Jesus, not by any church or its numerous doctrines.
What to call Mary by is indeed unimportant, unless, like the objectin to the “Mother of God”, it betrays a christological disagreement. Our marian devotions differ, for example, in the West and in the East. I was always puzzled by the vehemence with which Roman Catholic expressions of piety are attacked by the Protestants.
The true problem is indeed whom to follow: the followers of Luther, and, especially, Calvin simply don’t have the Catohlic belief system intact, starting with its core, the Eucharist. We don’t have visible communion because we don’t have the sacramental union.
Well, some, anyway.
Because many Protestants view your reverence towards Mary as going beyond piety to deity.
Well, talking past each other on that is surely a sign of schism that should matter a great deal to God.
Mary IS the mother of God. One cannot separate Christ’s humanity from his deity. This, in fact, is what raised the issue of Mary’s role at the Council of Chalcedon.
People came to the orthodox conclusions about Mary because of what was known by the orthodox to be true about Christ, but was denied by the Arians and others.
Marian doctrines always have Christological issues at their core; they’re not promulgated merely to magnify Mary further.
You don't have to to make the argument.
I never read a convincing Protestant conversion story. The template is always The Catholic Church does not teach from scriptureThe template, many times, is ...
I was told that rituals and rules save me
Now I have a personal relationship with Jesus and read the Bible.... as a Catholic, I felt like I was just going through the motionsPsalm 63:1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
As a Protestant, ... I have found a far richer, and more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Whereas I used to relate through Mary, and saints, and priests, etc., ... now I relate directly with Jesus, my Saviour, Himself, ... as in the manner of David the king.
Abraham beat Mary by about 2000 years. So did Sarah his wife. Moses by about 1500 years. David beat her by 1000 years. What about Samuel? Or his mother. There's also Elijah. And Elisha. How about Rahab, the prostitute ?
All people reknown for their faith, and before Mary.
And also, as long as Mary isn't in addition to Christ for salvation.
You can choose to refer to people who preceded Christ as being counted among His Saints if you like, but most being counting after His incarnation.
And rightfully referring to Mary as His first Saint does not diminish anyone’s faith.
I’d score Noah as the first person in the Bible to have demonstrated faith in God, although Enoch has a claim implied.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, though, has to be scored as the first person to have faith in Christ, though, with St. John the Baptist in utero as the historically debated runner-up.
Aren't you doing the same thing?
Read the Bible, or large sections of it, as a whole. Two of the Gospels include extensive geneologies of Jesus' heritage - tracing his origin back as a product (son) of Israel. Why is B so hard to grasp, then?
Classical Hebrew has a documented vocabulary of about 25,000 words. This is approximately 1/40th the size of the current English vocabulary. The case of classical Greek is similar.
Even discounting the explosion of technological terms in the past couple centuries, words in classical languages almost always had a wider and less precise range of meanings than we expect from modern English usage.
To squint through 21st century spectacles at a seventeenth century translation is a conspicuously error-prone method of determining the meaning of difficult parts of God’s word.
P-J, you said: Mary IS the mother of God.
Show me chapter and verse where Mary is refered to, word for word, as “the mother of God”.
What Mary was mother to died. Diety doesn’t die, not even for a second. God was IN Christ. God is a Spirit. God the Father was in Christ doing the miracles.
P-J, you also say: One cannot separate Christs humanity from his deity.
AR gives you no arguement, but I will.
Christ DID separate his humanity from his diety.
That was the power in the Christ that enabled him to lay down his life, and take it back up again.
Consider the testamony of Peter to Cornelius in Acts 10:34-43: “..How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power....for God was with him....Him God raised up the third day....it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead”. That’s how Jesus Christ can say: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”.
Mary was given the great honor of giving birth to the human that God would give his Spirit to without measure. John 3:34
Yet, Mary did not give Jesus Christ any power whatsoever; and therefore is not “the mother of God”.
>> Aren’t you doing the same thing? <<
How so? I’m exactly acknowledging that the lady in Revelations does represent the covenant Israel. All I’m saying is that it is highly meaningful that the blessed virgin Mary re-presents the covenant Israel. She is the re-presentation, the embodiment, the fulfillment of Israel.
>> Read the Bible, or large sections of it, as a whole. Two of the Gospels include extensive geneologies of Jesus’ heritage - tracing his origin back as a product (son) of Israel. Why is B so hard to grasp, then? <<
Read the geneaology of Matthew. It’s told in a way which would be quite shocking to an ancient who read it for the first time:
“And Jacob begat Joseph, husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”
Notice the wording casts Joseph (and his entire lineage) as notable because of his relationship to Mary, just as it casts Mary as notable because of her relationship to Christ. What a shocking upheaval! The entire history of the Jews, leading to Joseph, whose significance is only that he is the husband of Mary.
Luke, on the other hand, uses his geneaology to emphasize that Jesus was the son of God.
>> What Mary was mother to died. <<
Take care what you state, that you do not commit blasphemy! Christ still lives! He was resurrected, body and soul, from the dead! What part of Christ do you deny? Seriously, you cannot call yourself a Christian and say that any part of Christ died! There is no corpse of Christ; there is no dead “historical Jesus.” He was not given a new flesh; his risen flesh still bore the wounds where the stakes were driven through his hands and feet, and still bore the hole where the spear pierced his side. So how can Mary be mother to anything which died?
This is the very reason why Orthodox, Catholic are so mystified by Mary, and why the ancients doctrinally established the title of “Mother of God” (Theotokos): because to deny that God had a mother is to deny that God became Man.
**Take care what you state, that you do not commit blasphemy! Christ still lives!**
Hello?? FRiend, I quoted the words of Jesus from Matt. 28:18; (after the resurrection...from...the...dead) “All power is GIVEN unto me in heaven and in earth.” I absolutely affirm he has risen from the dead.
So I ask you, who gave him all power? Certainly not Mary.
I referred to John 3:34. Here’s the next verse: “The Father loveth the Son, and hath GIVEN ALL things into his Hand
Who raised the Christ from the dead? Certainly not Mary.
The Spirit of God left the Christ while on the cross, or he would...never...have...died. As simply as the bread and fishes was multiplied by God, so would an endless supply of oxygen charged blood sustained his body while on the cross.
But, as the passover lamb, he had to die. That’s the object Mary was blessed to help bring forth; the man Christ Jesus, not the God that chose to dwell in him without measure.
**This is the very reason why Orthodox, Catholic are so mystified by Mary**
Your problem, not mine.
**the ancients doctrinally established the title of Mother of God**
And that is probably where your problem started. One could make a case that the one that transforms himself into an angel of light (Satan) has also transformed into an ‘ancient’ in time past.
I realize that man-made tradition dies hard, for the pride that sustains it has been passed on for generations.
Let God be true, and every man a liar.
Yes, that is a common variation as well. In other words, the poor man did not get Catholicism, — he was going through motions. Those indeed should educate themselves or leave.
Dying is a separation of the spirit from the body. Insofar as Christ’s divine nature was temporarily separated from his body, Christ’s divine nature did indeed die.
But even normal sinful men who die do not destroy their souls by dying.
Nothing of Christ was destroyed by death, except, temporarily, the union of his body and spirit; the first fruits of the resurrection all the dead will experience at the Final Judgment.
>> Your problem, not mine.<<
I do not use the word “mystified” as an eight-year-old would. Being mystified isn’t a problem; it doesn’t mean to be left puzzled over apparent contradictions. It means to be transformed into a state of awe and wonder.
>> I absolutely affirm he has risen from the dead. <<
And yet you stated, in devestating contradiction to this, the assertion that what Mary was the mother of is dead.
>> So I ask you, who gave him all power? Certainly not Mary. I referred to John 3:34. Heres the next verse: The Father loveth the Son, and hath GIVEN ALL things into his Hand Who raised the Christ from the dead? Certainly not Mary. <<
No one debates this.
>> The Spirit of God left the Christ while on the cross, or he would...never...have...died. As simply as the bread and fishes was multiplied by God, so would an endless supply of oxygen charged blood sustained his body while on the cross.
But, as the passover lamb, he had to die. Thats the object Mary was blessed to help bring forth; the man Christ Jesus, not the God that chose to dwell in him without measure. <<
But that which was the son of Mary also rose from the dead. The spirit re-entered flesh. Jesus was not the co-existence of two beings in one form, but was one being with two natures. That one being did experience death in the manner that the saints still do; like all men, his soul persisted after death. But he is neither dead nor asleep; his soul has reunited with his flesh.
When Elizabeth said, “who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me,” she did not mean in the earthly sense, for Jesus the man had “no kingdom in this world.” Rather, the Greek word used to express the object of her wonder was the same word used in bibles in her day so as not to write the Holy Name. (i.e., “Thus sayeth the Lord:”)
It was not until the adoptionist heresies that anyone mistook “the Lord” for anything other than “YHWH.”
What would have been the point of Jesus’ constant prayers to the Father, if the Father and Son were indeed the same person?
Why baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
For those keeping score at home, the heresy we’re considering in Zuriel’s posts is Sabellianism, or modalism, in its modern, Oneness, expression seen in some Pentecostalist churches.
Pure HERESY. CHRIST and CHRIST alone is the path to salvation. Mary was a SINNER, was born into sin through her father.
To have faith in anything or anyone other than or including with Christ is a LIE from Satan.
Satans plan was always to deflect worship from Christ. Sharing that worship or adoration with Mary achieves that goal.
The Woman described in Revelation is either Israel or the Church which Satan wishes to destroy.
Jesus wasn't born into a sin nature because the sin nature passes through man. That is why Adam not Eve was blamed for the first sin. The responsibility fell to Adam.
The Apostles never raised Mary up for worship. They directed everything to Christ.
God always required a unblemished blood sacrifice for sin. Jesus was the ultimate and final unblemished sacrifice.
To worship Mary or have any faith in her for salvation is pure blasphemy.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me (Mary's not included or wasn't left out.)
All these are your opinion, and it contradicts scripture. For example, when a woman is described in the scripture as the mother of Christ, I do not fantasize what it means, I read what is written.
Of course, John 14:6 is the Catholic teaching, as is the entire Holy Scripture.
All these are your opinion, and it contradicts scripture. For example, when a woman is described in the scripture as the mother of Christ, I do not fantasize what it means, I read what is written.
Of course, John 14:6 is the Catholic teaching, as is the entire Holy Scripture.
These are also the beliefs of men more knowledgeable than me. And what contradiction of scripture? Name one thing I stated that contradicted scripture. I can use scripture to verify everything I said.
Mary was a sinner the same as me. She is not devine. And has no power to forgive sins or provide salvation.
Her blessing was that God found favor with her to bear the savior of the world.
Mary was a sinner the same as me. She is not devine. And has no power to forgive sins or provide salvation.
The idea that Mary was a sinner is not in the scripture. Indeed she is not divine, not a priest, and not a savior.
23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Again in Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
More importantly Mary herself in Luke 1: 46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Savior from what? There is only one thing she could be saved from-SIN.
I said: I absolutely affirm he has risen from the dead.
You said: And yet you stated, in devestating contradiction to this, the assertion that what Mary was the mother of is dead.
My exact words that you refer to were: “What Mary was mother to died.”
I did not say dead, as in present tense.
**one being with two natures.**
One visible being, the man Christ Jesus (body and soul), AND the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient God the Father that dwelleth in him, and raised him from the dead.
“..as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father..” Romans 6:4
Jesus said: “..the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” John 14:10
You said: When Elizabeth said, who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me,
No arguement here. Only that the words of Peter make it clear WHO made the Son Lord: “..that God hath made this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36
That’s why he is Lord, the unlimited Spirit of God is GIVEN unto him. Mary didn’t make that part.
Gotta go, 200 miles to Chicago and hopefully no tornadoes enroute. I’ll check back tomorrow night.
**Why baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?**
The apostles didn’t just quote the Matthew 28:19 command, they obeyed it, by baptizing in the name of Jesus.
Jesus said: “I come in my Father’s name.”
He, by inheritance obtained a better name than they.
Jesus said that the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, would be sent in “my name”.
That’s why the apostles baptized in the name of Jesus.
Now, I suppose you think that after Jesus had opened their understanding, they still messed up. If you disagree, you’re slamming the Lord Jesus and his ability to teach.
Outta time, cheerio. I’ll check in tomorrow night.
Well I hope no tornadoes, either.
>> My exact words that you refer to were: What Mary was mother to died. I did not say dead, as in present tense. <<
Fair point, but in the context of an argument that Mary wasn’t the mother of God, there was a plain inference that that which died wasn’t God.
>> Thats why he is Lord, the unlimited Spirit of God is GIVEN unto him. Mary didnt make that part. <<
Well, that’s the heresy of adoptionism, plain and simple. There you’ve gone and blown the entire doctrine of the trinity. True, there are verses of the bible which could lead one to adoptionism, if the matter were not clarified elsewhere: (”All power is given unto me in Heaven and on Earth”, etc.) Hence, we are very blessed to have the gospel of John spell out the incarnation of Christ which is more clear in ways than the infancy narratives:
“IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was WITH God, and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men... [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Note, “was made” is used here in much the same was, “is given” is used in the problemmatic verse. Yet this passage is clear that All things were made by him. Likewise, Jesus, the second person of the trinity, grants himself all power and all authority.
The Word is the second person of the trinity; it is not the Father living in mere flesh.
>> Abraham beat Mary by about 2000 years. <<
Abraham was not a saint 2000 years before Mary. Abraham was in that portion of Hades named for him, until he was risen to Heaven when the crucified Christ “preached to the souls in prison.”
Do not Protestants insist that one is saved through faith IN CHRIST? As great as Abraham’s works were, and as great as his faith in God was (lest St. Paul’s praise of his faith be misconstrued), he could not have faith in what had not been revealed to him.
Mary was the first person to know of the birth of Christ, the first to believe he was the Son of God, and the first to see him resurrected (well, that’s a tie).
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 All have turned out of the way; they are become unprofitable together: there is none that doth good, there is not so much as one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have dealt deceitfully. The venom of asps is under their lips. 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery in their ways: 17 And the way of peace they have not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
This is by the way, a citation from Psalm 13; Psalm 14 goes on to describe men who walk "without blemish, and work justice".
St. Paul's "all" is a literary device of generalization, like "all Mexicans have dark hair". Surely some people existed both in Judea and in Rome who were not bloodthristy murderers. It is not a prooftext for Mary's sinning.
Romans 5 does not even describe actual sin; moreover, "all" in verse 12 becomes "many" in verse 15. In other words, there, too, we deal with a generalization with implied exceptions.
Nobody denies that Jesus is Mary's Savior. It is He Who made her without sin.
So what you're saying is because I am a Christian, that Jesus Christ is my savior, I am without sin and equal with Mary?
2 Grace to you and peace be accomplished in the knowledge of God and of Christ Jesus our Lord: 3 As all things of his divine power which appertain to life and godliness, are given us, through the knowledge of him who hath called us by his own proper glory and virtue. 4 By whom he hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature: flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world. 5 And you, employing all care, minister in your faith, virtue; and in virtue, knowledge; 6 And in knowledge, abstinence; and in abstinence, patience; and in patience, godliness; 7 And in godliness, love of brotherhood; and in love of brotherhood, charity. 8 For if these things be with you and abound, they will make you to be neither empty nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he that hath not these things with him, is blind, and groping, having forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time.
(2 Peter 1)
12 Let no sin therefore reign in your mortal body, so as to obey the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of iniquity unto sin; but present yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of justice unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law, but under grace.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
It is through Jesus that we are justified. Abrahams faith was what God was yet to do in the future. The scriptures tell us that Abraham was justified by faith. And only Christ justifies us. So Christ justified Abraham 2000 years before Mary.
Next Matthew 27:
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
The Bible itself tells us there were saints before Christ died. Before Mary died.
2 Timothy 2:
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
I just wanted to thank you for this discussion. It has caused me to study the word to make my case, as I'm sure it has you. Which is what the scriptures tell us to do. We can agree that we disagree on certain issues, as long as we believe in Christ as savior.
Likewise, thank you.