Skip to comments.What did Jesus (not) say about... His mother, Mary?
Posted on 12/31/2010 1:09:10 PM PST by RnMomof7
What did Jesus (not) say about... His mother, Mary?
"You know what you lot's problem is? You just don't think enough about My mother." I've often had two thoughts about Mary: I dearly hope that her heavenly bliss has not been spoiled by the knowledge of how monstrously men came to pervert her significance and place in relation to her Son. And... In that view, I've thought that my article on Mary in a Bible dictionary might read, "The mother of Jesus. A pivotal yet minor figure in the New Testament, mentioned by name in only four books."
On the subject of Mary -- as on all other subjects -- the world divides into two kinds of people: those who affirm the binding sufficiency of Biblical revelation, and those who rebel against it. With the latter, their issue is spiritual in origin, and no amount of reasoning or Biblical evidence will suffice. With the former....
My semi-humorous summary above makes a point, but it is scarcely fair to the real woman, who was a truly remarkable individual. Few if any of us (and certainly no men) can do much of a job of imagining ourselves in her sandals. She was clearly a God-fearing young lady, as we shall see, who found a massive weight laid on her small, young shoulders.
We once dwelt on the difference between aged priest Zechariah and young Mary. The trained expert, faced with a word from God that would bring him blessing and cost him nothing, doubted and was judged. The rustic young girl, receiving a word that would also bring blessing but potentially cost her dearly, simply responded "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). For this, her cousin later said, "blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Luke 1:45).
That tells us a great deal about Mary. Also, when she went to see Elizabeth, Mary burst forth in a song of praise that could be described as a glorious patchwork of quotations from (and allusions to) previous written revelation (Luke 1:46-55). Given that this is presented as a spontaneous outburst of praise, we surmise that Mary had hidden God's word in her heart. This gives us a strong indication as to how she could embrace the angel's word with such believing grace.
Think of it: this is in all likelihood a young teenaged girl. No formal education, no Bible college, no T4G or TGC conferences, no Christian blogging or bookstores. Probably not even a personal copy of the Torah -- just what she heard in synagogue and at home. But Mary received what she heard with such faith and eagerness that it prepared and enabled her for this absolutely and literally unparalleled place in history. It would be churlish at best to denigrate Mary as a believer solely because cultists deify her.
In fact, it is ironic that cultists themselves slander Mary by insinuating that she was in effect an ungodly, faithless wife in standing aloof from her wifely obligations to her husband (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Though any word of Scripture can be twisted to say anything when subjected to alien agendas, we do best to take the text in its most natural meaning, and affirm that Jesus was the first of a number of children (Matthew 1:25; 12:46; 13:55; Luke 2:7; 8:19; John 2:12; 7:3, 5, 10; 1 Corinthians 9:5), sharing the same mother but separated from them by His virginal conception and birth, and His divine nature.
Yet (and all Christians will add "of course") Scripture portrays Mary as a flawed sinner, saved by grace alone just like every other believer. She knew and confessed that she personally needed a Savior (Luke 1:47). When she tried to hint to her adult Son what she thought he should do, she received a respectful reminder of how their relative roles had changed (John 2:4). We must note the grace with which she accepted that word (John 2:5).
Nor was this the only time Jesus put a distance between Himself and His earthly family. One day when He was teaching the Word of God, His earthly family -- who evidently were not numbering themselves among His students at this point -- stood outside the circle of believing pupils, and tried to call Him from His ministry and back to themselves (Matthew 12:48; Mark 3:33). How did Jesus respond? "Family first"? "Mom first"? Hardly: But he replied to the man who told him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:48-50). So it is hardly surprising that the rest of Scripture gives very little notice to Mary. The New Testament is primarily about Jesus, not about Mary. She has played her role -- pivotal, yet taking up less space in the inspired text than the patriarchs, Moses, David, Peter, Paul, or even Job. As a devoted Son, in His dying moments Jesus assures Mary's continued care (John 19:25-27). Then she basically vanishes from the text, apart from one last appearance in Acts 1:14, where she has finally taken her place on a level plane with every other Christian, in prayer and worship of her risen Son.
So what would Mary say to us today, were she to speak? Would she bid our attention on her, summon the spotlight from her Son to herself to any degree, try to increase her place in the Christian's worshipful consciousness?
Or would she not rather reiterate what she had already said - "Whatever He tells you, do" (John 2:5)?
To ask the question is to answer it. We best honor Mary not by idolatrously focusing on her person, but by embracing her example of humble, devoted, Biblically-informed, self-disregarding, God-centered faith.
She didn’t understand him. ;)
I’m taking it that this is a slap at Catholics. My question to the author is ‘why does it trouble you so much to have Mary revered?’. She was a woman amongst women. Chosen of God for the raising and care of Jesus. THAT is one special lady. The mother of our Lord whether this guy likes it or not.
The only way to God is through Jesus. Worshipping anyone BUT Jesus is blasphemy.
To avoid dissensions we should be ever on our guard, more especially with those who drive us to argue with them, with those who vex and irritate us, and who say things likely to excite us to anger. When we find ourselves in company with quarrelsome, eccentric individuals, people who openly and unblushingly say the most shocking things, difficult to put up with, we should take refuge in silence, and the wisest plan is not to reply to people whose behavior is so preposterous. --St. Ambrose
Catholics agree; then you say veneration is equal to worship; then things go back around in the same circle while everything BUT Christianity grows in this country. It's a lot easier than attacking Muslims, though, I'll grant you that.
Divide and conquer has never worked better than when after having his earthly religion of Islam stalled, Satan tempted those who should have been working to reform the Catholic Church into leaving and starting their own.
Yes, they do seem to worship all kinds of people.
I wasn’t aware that Catholics worshipped Mary as savior. Where do you get your info?
>> We best honor Mary not by idolatrously focusing on her person, but by embracing her example of humble, devoted, Biblically-informed, self-disregarding, God-centered faith. <<
That’s what every Catholic who focuses on Mary is trying to do. “What Would Jesus Do” is a slightly flawed question. Jesus has the might, power and majesty of omnipotent, omniscient God. When his friends mourned the death of another friend, Jesus raised him from the dead. My faith isn’t that strong; I’ve never raised anyone from the dead. If I did, my pride would be my downfall.
We should seek after miracles. But in those times when we are powerless, when we need the gift of consolation, patience, serendipity, acceptance, we can also look to Mary as a role model of how to relate to Jesus. Then we can build our faith, so we can act more as Jesus did, precisely because Mary can d nothing at all apart from Christ. That’s why Catholics have a saying, “To Jesus, through Mary.”
Protestants often point out that for every “Our Father” (Lord’s Prayer), the Marian Rosary contains 10 Hail Marys. But they miss the point altogether. Each and every mystery of the Rosary teaches us how Mary related to Jesus. For instance, nothing from popular culture has ever embodied the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary more perfectly than “The Passion of the Christ.”
Why is it that Mary drives certain Protestants to such emotions?
I’m glad to see all the Catholics here on this thread. So many times, it’s a protestant dogpile.
Very good article. I think Mary would be mortified that she has been put on a pedestal equal and in some cases above her Savior.
The real biblical Mary never puts the focus on her, when people ask her what to do (wedding at Canaa example), she looks at Jesus and says “Do whatever He tells you to do.”
Mary also knew she was sinful and needed a savior. She also was a normal married woman and had children with Joseph, who did not know her until after Jesus’s birth. She experienced the fullness of normal marriage and it’s not a detriment. Only to those people who want Mary to be a certain fantasy way she never was.
Both Calvin and Luther however did strongly condemn
any devotional practices which implied that
Mary was in any way equal to our Lord
or that she took anything away from
His sole sufficiency as our Savior.
OH Goody! Another ex-Catholic trashing the Church!
"Our prayer should include the Mother of God What the Hail Mary says is that all glory should be given to God, using these words: "Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ. Amen!" You see that these words are not concerned with prayer but purely with giving praise and honor We can use the Hail Mary as a meditation in which we recite what grace God has given her. Second, we should add a wish that everyone may know and respect her He who has no faith is advised to refrain from saying the Hail Mary. (Personal Prayer Book, 1522)."
Lutherans used to make a point of this and stress that there was no contention between Catholics and Lutherans on this point. What happened, did Luther get shoved aside for a new Protestantism or something? It's really wild to see this and a couple of other things come up over and over to the point of absurdity.
The same people licking their chop over the chance to attack Catholics don't seem to spend much time on sites frequented by Mooslims. At least they don't post on them much if they do. I sometimes wonder how many of those who use the oldest crap they can find to attack the Catholic Church aren't even Protestants but just people who want to be sure that divisions remain among Christians to make it easier for whatever they're pushing.
From my point of view I only have one question: I can accept that Catholics "venerate" Mary and not Worship her as I have never heard of anyone in the faith depending on Mary for salvation. My problem is simple, Why pray to her? There is simply no Biblical foundation for praying to her or the Saints. The practice makes it appear that she is being worshiped. The Bible is very clear: "There is one God and ONE mediator between God and man and that is the Man Christ Jesus." I Tim. 2:5 I believe any attempt to pray to anyone other than our Father by and through our mediator Jesus Christ is misplaced. I do not believe that it will damn anyone to hell as long as they put their faith in Christ, but I do believe the practice is wrong. If you have an answer for my dilemma, please correct me for I would love to know your understanding of the matter.