MARY – Mother of Jesus
Many people, both Protestant and Catholic, hold beliefs for which they have never really been offered any proof. They hold to these beliefs loyally and as a matter of principle, because they are the teaching of their youth.
Today, however, there are many who would rather know the truth of a matter as established in the Bible than blindly hold to teachings for the sake of mere prejudice. After all, any belief concerning Christianity worth having will surely stand up to the teachings and historical facts given in the Bible.
The following is a simple factual comparison of Roman Catholic teachings concerning Mary, the Mother of Jesus, with the words of Christ and His Apostles recorded in the Bible.
MARY – EVER VIRGIN?
Catholic teaching is that Mary, a virgin at the time of the birth of Christ, continued as a virgin throughout her life. Typical Catholic prayers read: “Therefore I beseech blessed Mary, ever virgin…,” and “O Virgin Mary… a Virgin evermore thou dost remain.”
In comparing such teaching with the Bible we have the following relevant references (all Bible quotations in this folder are from the catholic Douai Version of the Bible):- “And coming into His own country, He (Jesus) taught them in their synagogues, so that they wondered and said: How came this man by this wisdom and miracles? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence therefore hath he all these things?” Mathew 13:54-56.
“But other of the Apostles saw I none, saving James THE BROTHER OF THE LORD.” Galatians 1:19.
“And HIS BRETHREN said to Him: Pass from hence and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see thy works which thou dost… For neither His BRETHREN belief in Him.” John 7:3 and 5.
From these quotations the following conclusion must follow:-
- After the virgin birth of Christ, Joseph and Mary became husband and wife, and as such became the parents of at least six children.
- The term “brethren”, or “brother”, translated from the Greek word “adelphos” (the New Testament was originally written in Greek), does not refer to cousins of Christ, as has been claimed by some Catholic writers. The word “cousin” in the New Testament is translated from the entirely different Greek word “suggenes.” See Luke 1:58.
- The mention of “brethren” in the passage from John 7 does not refer, in some spiritual sense, to the followers of Christ. In the same passage His disciples, or followers, are mentioned as quite distinct from His brethren, who at that state did not belief in Him.
- Though Mary gave virgin birth to the Lord Jesus Christ it is quite incorrect to acclaim her as “ever Virgin.”
It is taught as Catholic doctrine that Mary, herself, was “immaculately conceived” without “original sin.” It is said that Mary was not born, as other human beings are, with the fallen sinful nature of Adam’s race. In the Catholic Missal, she is described as “Queen conceived without original sin”.
In the Bible, however, we read the familiar words of Mary spoken not long before the birth of Christ, when she said: “My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Luke 1:46-47.
As Mary, being a devout woman of faith, acknowledged God to be her Saviour, and as only human beings born in sin require a Saviour, the teaching that Mary was “immaculately conceived” without sin is found to be quite untrue.
MOTHER OF GOD?
In the litany and prayers of Catholic ceremony, Mary is frequently referred to as “Mother of God”. Catholic doctrine is that Christ being God in the flesh, and Mary being the mother of Christ, she does becomes “Mother of God”.
The Lord Jesus Christ is referred to in the scripture as the “Son of God” (John 3:18), and also as the “Son of Man” (Luke 19:10). He was Son of God because He was born of God, being conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary, whilst she was a virgin. He was Son of Man having a human mother, who gave to Him His human body, and His humanity.
The Bible reveals Mary, not as “Mother of God”, but as mother of “the man Jesus Christ”. 1 Timothy 2:5.
It is certain that Christ Himself saw no divine significant in His mother’s flesh relationship to Him. The following reference from Mark 3:31-35, makes this quite clear:-
“And His mother and His brethren came and, standing without, sent unto Him, calling Him. And the multitude sat about Him. And they say to Him: Behold Thy mother and Thy brethren seek for thee. And answering them, He said: Who is my mother and My brethren? And looking round about on them who sat about Him, He said: Behold My mother and My brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of God, he is My brother and My sister and mother.”
ADORATION OF MARY?
In the Catholic Missal we read concerning Mary that she is “all high praise most worthy”. The use of “Hail Mary”, and other forms of adoration and devotion to Mary are common in Catholic worship. A further extract from the Catholic Missal reads: “Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, that bore the Son of the Eternal Father.”
With regard to this latter statement, the Bible relates the case of a woman who acclaimed Mary in almost the same words, and also gives the reaction of Christ to such praise of Mary. We read: “And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bare Thee and the paps that gave Thee suck. But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.” Luke11:27-28. In these words the Lord Jesus Christ totally refuted any special referencing or adoration of Mary.
On an earlier occasion, the boy Jesus, at the age of twelve, having remain behind at the temple in Jerusalem, was sought for and finally found by His anxious mother. We read how Mary said to Jesus: “Son, why has Thou done so to us?” To this He replied: “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business.” Luke2:48-49. In this incident, as well as in others described in the Bible, it is quite clear that Mary was very human and fallible and certainly not a Divine personage to whom special praise was to be given, he is My brother and My sister AND MOTHER.”
In Catholic worship, the name of Mary is continually invoked in prayer. Typical prayers from the Roman Missal are: “Holy Mary, pray for us”, and “O blessed Virgin … intercede for me”. Catholic teaching is to the effect that as a mother may have special influence in persuading a son concerning her wishes, so by asking Mary to carry one’s prayers to Christ such prayers will thus be more effective. Mary is described by Catholic writers as “patroness and mediatrix with God”, and “mediatrix of the whole world”.
Comparing these claims with the Bible, we read: ” … there is one God: and One Mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus”. 1Timothy 2:5. Since the word of God makes it clear that there is only One Mediator, then there are not two! Neither Mary, nor any other saint for that matter, is a mediator through whom prayer can be made. Such prayers are ineffective. Jesus said: “No man cometh to the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.
The Catholic Church teaches the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven. It is further taught that in heaven Mary has been crowned as the “Queen of heaven”. Little needs to be said about these matters, as the Bible is totally silent with regard to these claims. If there were the slightest truth in such teachings, then God would obviously have revealed information to this effect in His written Word.
Surely, in this matter, we are justified in quoting from the proverbs of the Bible “Every Word of God is fire tried: … And not anything to His words, lest thou be reproved, and found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5-6.
Mary was highly favored, and “blessed … among women” (Luke 1:28), in that she was God’s chosen vessel for the birth of Christ. The Bible reveals her as a most devout woman with a strong faith in her God.
At the wedding in Cana of Galilee, where Jesus turn the water into wine, Mary gave advice to the servants at the feast. She said: “Whatsoever He (Jesus) say unto you, do ye.” John 2:5. If we have any respect for Mary’s faith or wisdom let us accept this advice, too. Let us discover the words of Christ in the Gospel, and be obedient!
MARY RECEIVES THE HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus had already ascended back into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. In obedience to Jesus’ command, we find Mary gathered with about 120 other believers in the upper room in Jerusalem waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit. We read: “All these were persevering with one mind in prayer, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” Acts 1:14.
On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came, and “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.” Acts 2:4.
Mary thus became a Spirit-filled, speaking in tongues, joyful follower of her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, sharing the wonderful hope of eternal life together with those who then, as well as today, have entered into a similar experience of full salvation.
This is the happy ending of the Bible’s account of Mary the mother of Jesus. Her name does not appear again in the New Testament, but the name of Jesus, the central figure of its theme, is found literally hundreds of times, for He is the Prince of Glory, and the Lord of life.