Mary in the Bible
We got an email from a well-meaning Evangelical that said:
The Bible references to Mary make it clear that her special role practically ended with the birth of Jesus. She was in the frame because Jesus was, not because she was what RC’s believe. The Gospel writers do not seem overly interested in her after this...To make so much out of such few and tiny references really does come across as if you are clutching at straws.
Anyone who confesses the Bible to be the Word of God can appreciate that it's not the number of Scripture references found on a given subject that determines its validity, otherwise The Prayer of Jabez would not have become a best-seller (based on two verses of Scripture, 1 Chron. 4 : 9-10). Everything in the Bible is important. It is the Word of God.
The Bible actually has quite a bit to say about Mary, both explicitly in the New Testament and implicitly (prophetically) in the Old Testament. In the New Testament Mary is present at almost every major event in the life of Jesus:
- His conception (Luke 1:2)
- His development in the womb, including the fetal development of John the Baptist (Lk 1:43)
- His birth (Lk 2:7)
- Offering Him to God (Lk 2:22)
- Early childhood (Lk 2:22-38)
- His prophetic announcement of his mission at 12 years old (Lk 2:49)
- His start in public ministry and the first of his miracles, which she instigated. (Wedding at Cana Jn 2:3)
- His death on Calvary (Jn 19:26)
- The birth of the Church at the Pentecost (Acts 1:14).
I hardly think of these as a "few tiny references." Mary's role is infinitely greater than Jabez who won so much attention from some Evangelicals.
Mary said "Do whatever he [Jesus] tells you to do." (Jn:2:3) She is the first person in history to say this about Jesus. Adrian Rogers, the famous Evangelical pastor, said "This is the best advice that anyone has ever given anyone!" (Apr. 13, 2009 Radio show) That is quite a compliment, to say that no other advice given by anyone in Scripture, or in all of history, is better than Mary's advice. It was such great advice that Jesus went ahead and turned the water into wine even though a minute earlier, he said "what concern is that to you and to me?" (Lk 2:4 NRSV)
The cover story of Time Magazine March 21, 2005 was "...Catholics have long revered her, but now Protestants are finding their own reasons to celebrate the mother of Jesus." It says:
... a growing number of Christian thinkers who are neither Catholic nor Eastern Orthodox have concluded that their various traditions have short-changed her [Mary] in the very arena in which Protestantism most prides itself: the careful and full reading of Scripture.
The Bible shows that Mary was very active in the life of the Church after Jesus was born and even after He died.
Mary was a "born again" Christian who received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and spoke in tongues 2000 years before Pentecostals got the gift (Acts 1:14, 2:3).
A mother's role does not end with the birth of a child. Actually, that's when it starts to get intense. Mary and Joseph were trying to keep Jesus from being killed by Herod.
My mother still has a role in my life. I (Hugh) call her up all the time. She checks my grammar on this web site - even though she's a non-practicing Presbyterian! She thinks Mary rocks! We got an email that said:
Please don't think I don't have any respect for Mary... She is the greatest woman to ever have stepped foot on this earth, but she is not a prayer vehicle. I cannot find one verse in the Bible ...
I have an article about asking Mary for prayers here, but There is also something else we should consider.
Mary was alive when the apostles were alive. They didn't have to talk to her in Heaven. They could just walk over to her and have a conversation ... lucky guys!
Luke and Mathew weren't at Jesus' birth. Mary was likely the one who told them about it (Lk 1-2, Mat 1-2). I can imagine the apostles crowding around her as she described the Nativity and the early life of Jesus that we find in Scripture. Mary was a humble servant who honoured the role of the male disciples to write the account of it.
What does Mary say about herself in the Bible?
In the Bible, Mary clearly spells out her role in eternity:
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of his maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. (Lk 1:46-49)
The Bible says Jesus is magnified by Mary's soul. A soul is eternal and not limited by life on earth. Mary reinforces her eternal ministry by saying "all generations will call me blessed." If the Bible intended Mary's ministry to end with the birth of Jesus, or at his death, or even at Mary's death, it wouldn't use that language.
A magnifying glass increases the object it is focused on, so being in relation to Mary's eternal soul does not draw focus away from Jesus, it does the opposite. It magnifies him. This is the Bible's word to the people of God, and it is my experience. I've heard Evangelical pastors do sermons on just about every passage of Scripture except this one. In fact, the movie "The Nativity" removed words referring to Mary when this Bible passage was on the screen during the final scene. It's crazy to remove words about Mary from the Bible to make some Christians feel more comfortable.
Catholics believe Mary's soul still "magnifies the Lord" for Christians of our generation who choose to relate to her. Currently, Catholics are pretty well the only ones upholding the biblical prophecy to call her blessed, which was intended for all generations, and for all Christians.
Video: The Bible and Mary
"Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it."
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 964
Here's a great video about what the Bible has to say about Mary:
Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant
When I was in Israel, I had the privilege of staying with an Orthodox Jewish family. We talked late into the night about the Old Testament. You should hear the way they talk about the Ark of the Covenant. They sound just like Catholics talking about Mary.
If you want to understand how Catholics think about Mary
look at how the Israelites treated the Ark of the Covenant
The Ark carried the Word of God made stone (10
Commandments). Mary carried the Word of God made flesh
when she was pregnant with him. (Jn 1:1, c.f. Ez 11:19) The Ark was not
the Word of God, but it was still very important because of its role in
relation to the Word of God, same with Mary. The Ark of the Covenant
disappeared in 1 Sam 4:11 but returned (1 Sam 6:4). It disappeared
again, during the Babylonian conquest (600 B.C.) never to be seen
again to this day (Jer 3:16). They are still looking all over Israel
for it. As Catholics, we don't think they will find it, because the Ark
of the New Covenant is now in Heaven, presented as Mary, the mother of
Revelation 11:19 - 12:6
Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his
covenant was seen within his temple ... A great portent
appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon
under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was
pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving
birth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear
a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born.
And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule
all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was
snatched away and taken to God and to his throne...
So when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he
pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the
woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could
fly from the serpent . Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and
went off to make war on the rest of her children,
those who keep the commandments of God and hold the
testimony of Jesus.
- The Ark of the Covenant has been restored to the temple
- The temple is now heaven (See also Heb 9:1-12)
- A woman with a crown is there - the new Ark
- She gave birth to the son who will rule the nations and is at God's throne, who is Jesus.
- If the woman gave birth to Jesus then she is Mary
- The devil is trying to destroy her but she is safe
- The devil is making war on her children, who are all faithful Christians.
If Jesus is the Word made flesh, then we could consider Mary the Ark made flesh.
There is much Biblical evidence that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. This was upheld by many Church Fathers of the early centuries, such as St. Athanasius and St. Epiphanius. Here's a chart of comparing Bible passages about Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, and the Ark of the Old Covenant.
Catholics believe Mary's "Yes" undid Eve's "No!"
Catholics see an important link between Mary in the New Testament and Eve in Genesis. (Gen 3:3-24) We believe Mary's "Yes" to God and his plan of redemption, reversed Eve's "No" and reversed Eve's refusal to obey and cooperate with God. Mary's "Yes" and cooperation with Grace blew away Eve's "No" and fall from Grace. (Lk 1:2) Catholics think it is not by accident that Eve (the woman) came out of the body of Adam (the man), and that Jesus (the man/God) came out of the body of Mary (the woman). This view was put forth by St. Justin who lived from about 110 to 165 A.D. and is consistent with Paul's comparison of Jesus to Adam. (1 Col 15:22, 45). Eve wanted to be all knowing, and ate from the "tree of knowledge". Mary did not need to know the entire plan and at times didn't understand what her son was doing (Mk 3:20). A chart of side-by-side Scripture references at the end of this article helps compare Mary to Eve.
Mary was a true servant. She went to Elizabeth's place to do menial chores and housework for 3 months while Elizabeth's pregnancy with John was advancing (Lk 1:56). That was the custom of the day, to do chores for a relative who was coming to term with her pregnancy. We can imagine Mary washing Elizabeth's toilet area, cleaning the floor, and making meals while she knew she was carrying Jesus, the Saviour of the world, in her womb. What humility, what a servant! (Lk 1:39). Catholics think she still is a humble servant who serves Jesus tirelessly.
"For just as the former [Eve] was led astray by the word of an angel, so that she fled from God when she had transgressed His word; so did the latter [Mary], by an angelic communication, receive the glad tidings that she should sustain God, being obedient to His word. And if the former did disobey God, yet the latter was persuaded to be obedient to God, in order that the Virgin Mary might become the patroness of the virgin Eve. And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so is it rescued by a virgin; virginal disobedience having been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience."
St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Bk. 5, 19.1 (c. 180 A.D.)
Where does the Bible say Mary is the "Mother of God"?
Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, says "Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Lk 1:43) This passage gives us a title for Mary. She is "mother of my Lord." After Jesus was born the Bible says:
"And going into the house they [the Magi] saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him" (Mt 2:11 my emphasis).
The Bible calls her by her name, "Mary," and by her title "mother" while the passage calls Jesus by the title "child," which puts him in relation to her at the very moment the Magi worshipped him. They weren't kneeling because He was a baby, but because He was God. Jesus didn't become divine some time later in life. The Bible was trying to teach us who Mary is in relation to Jesus (God). She is his Mother even when he is being worshipped as God, making her "Mother of God."
Catholics think the title "Mother of God" is Biblical. In a special way, she is mother of the incarnate God, who is fully God. He was always God, and Mary gave birth to him as such. Today, Catholics don't have a problem kneeling in Mary's presence either. She is as much with Jesus today as she was on that day when she held him and the Magi kneeled in her presence to worship of him. When we kneel in the presence of Mary it is because she is with her Son, Jesus. We saw a cool bumper sticker that said:
"Wise men still find Jesus with his mother."
Martin Luther, the founder of the reform said this:
"St. Paul says 'God sent his Son born of a woman, These words which I hold for true, really sustain quite firmly that Mary is the Mother of God." (Martin Luther, Martin Luther's Works, vol 7, pg 592)
This does not mean that Mary's title "Mother of God" infers that she existed before God. Jesus is present from the beginning of time. "In the Beginning was the Word" (Jn 1.1). In the Old Testament, Jesus was the "rock in the desert" (Exo 17:6, 1 Cor 10:4).
The official title "Mother of God" was instituted as a response to a heresy of Nestorious which was an attack on Christ's divinity. The heresy tried to present Jesus as pure spirit who only took on humanity as a convenience, like a coat, thereby separating his human and divine nature. The Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.) said that the relationship between the divine and human in Christ was so closely united that the Virgin Mary was actually Theotokos (Mother of God). Far from distracting from the divinity of Jesus, the title "Mother of God" actually affirmed the identity of Jesus as truly God/Man. His divine and human natures were inseparable. After the council, Christians of the time celebrated in the streets when this was reaffirmed.
Does the Bible downplay Mary's "specialness"?
Mark 3:33-36 is often pointed at as a statement against Mary's "specialness":
"Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
Thirteen verses before this passage we find an answer to her worry about him. Mary came out to Jesus because he wasn't eating properly. This would worry any mother.
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." (Mk 3:20)
We must remember that Mary was a mother. She was on a pilgrimage of faith (Lk 2:19, 51). She was not "all knowing." She was not like "Eve" in the garden who ate from the tree to gain all knowledge. She did not always understand how her Son would accomplish his mission of Salvation. She wanted her Son to succeed in his ministry and she wanted to take him away from the people to feed him so he would be healthy and not starve. My mother said I was crazy when I wasn't eating, I bet yours would too! Mothers are weird that way. They always worry about whether their kids are eating enough - even after their kids are grown up! This passage does not undermine her specialness, it emphasizes her motherhood. In Mark 3:34, Jesus was saying something like:
"OK ma, I'm a big boy, I can feed myself, don't worry about me, I'm an adult, my ministry has begun, and people who do the will of God are my mother and brothers, and no one did God's will more than you said 'yes' to my birth."
He was also giving himself to all mankind at that moment. Rather than "diss-ing" his family, he was inviting the world to join his family. I remember when Mary invited me into the Holy Family of Jesus.
We should also note that the passage takes a cool twist. When Jesus said "Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother" He is saying that Mary was the greatest Christian who ever lived. Apart from Jesus, no one in the history of mankind has ever outdone Mary in doing the will of God. She said "Yes" to bearing Jesus. (Lk 1:38) We must remember that Jesus always speaks on many different levels. In this passage, he speaks on a material level about not needing to eat, he teaches on a spiritual level by inviting all of humanity to join his family, and he demonstrates that Mary is the most awesome disciple because no one ever did the will of God more than Mary's "yes."
No one in the history has been more obedient to God than Mary. As a 15 year old girl she faithfully said "Here I am Lord, the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your will" (Lk 1:38) not knowing how she would ever be believed and how she would escape the Jewish law of stoning an adulteress. She was engaged to Joseph, the love of her life. Yet she risked losing him, and almost did, in order to say "yes" to having Jesus. (Mat 1:19) She was carrying the Saviour, so if she would have been stoned to death Jesus would have died too. Then she would not get eternal life and neither would any of us. Her "yes" was BIG. Mary put Jesus ahead of Joseph and even her own life. This was before Jesus was even conceived in the flesh. How much more would she put Jesus ahead of herself now that He has risen.
"Even when Jesus was dying on the cross He was thinking about his
Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ
declared: Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does
the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and sister and my
mother. I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin
Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the
chosen one from whom our Saviour was born among men, who was created
by Christ before Christ was created in her fiat did she not do
the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the
Father's will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have
been Christ's disciple than to have been his mother, and she
was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers
was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would
obey as her master.
Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what
I have said. The Lord was passing by and crowds were following him.
His miracles gave proof of divine power. and a woman cried out:
Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb! But the
Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical
relationship, replied: More blessed are those who hear the word
of God and keep it. Mary heard God's word and kept it,
and so she is blessed. She kept God's truth in her mind, a
nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb. The truth and the
body were both Christ: he was kept in Mary's mind insofar as
he is truth, he was carried in her womb insofar as he is man; but
what is kept in the mind is of a higher order than what is carried
in the womb.
The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed, and yet the Church is
greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the
Church, a holy, an eminent â€“ the most eminent â€“
member, but still only a member of the entire body. The body
undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. This body has
the Lord for its head, and head and body together make up the whole
Christ. In other words, our head is divine â€“ our head is God.
Now, beloved, give me your whole attention, for you also are members
of Christ; you also are the body of Christ. Consider how you
yourselves can be among those of whom the Lord said: Here are my
mother and my brothers. Do you wonder how you can be the
mother of Christ? He himself said: Whoever hears and fulfils the
will of my Father in heaven is my brother and my sister and my
mother. As for our being the brothers and sisters of Christ,
we can understand this because although there is only one
inheritance and Christ is the only Son, his mercy would not allow
him to remain alone. It was his wish that we too should be heirs of
the Father, and co-heirs with himself.
Now having said that all of you are brothers of Christ, shall I
not dare to call you his mother? Much less would I dare to deny his
own words. Tell me how Mary became the mother of Christ, if it was
not by giving birth to the members of Christ? You, to whom I am
speaking, are the members of Christ. Of whom were you born?
â€œOf Mother Church,â€� I hear the reply of your hearts.
You became sons of this mother at your baptism, you came to birth
then as members of Christ. Now you in your turn must draw to the
font of baptism as many as you possibly can. You became sons when
you were born there yourselves, and now by bringing others to birth
in the same way, you have it in your power to become the mothers of
- Billy Graham, "Hour of Decision" radio broadcast Dec. 2006 CHRI Radio
Show: Augustine's commentary on
Jesus speaking about his mother this way.
Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and sister and my mother. I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Saviour was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her fiat did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father's will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ's disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.
Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what I have said. The Lord was passing by and crowds were following him. His miracles gave proof of divine power. and a woman cried out: Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb! But the Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship, replied: More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Mary heard God's word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God's truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb. The truth and the body were both Christ: he was kept in Mary's mind insofar as he is truth, he was carried in her womb insofar as he is man; but what is kept in the mind is of a higher order than what is carried in the womb.
The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed, and yet the Church is greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the Church, a holy, an eminent â€“ the most eminent â€“ member, but still only a member of the entire body. The body undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. This body has the Lord for its head, and head and body together make up the whole Christ. In other words, our head is divine â€“ our head is God.
Now, beloved, give me your whole attention, for you also are members of Christ; you also are the body of Christ. Consider how you yourselves can be among those of whom the Lord said: Here are my mother and my brothers. Do you wonder how you can be the mother of Christ? He himself said: Whoever hears and fulfils the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother. As for our being the brothers and sisters of Christ, we can understand this because although there is only one inheritance and Christ is the only Son, his mercy would not allow him to remain alone. It was his wish that we too should be heirs of the Father, and co-heirs with himself.
Now having said that all of you are brothers of Christ, shall I not dare to call you his mother? Much less would I dare to deny his own words. Tell me how Mary became the mother of Christ, if it was not by giving birth to the members of Christ? You, to whom I am speaking, are the members of Christ. Of whom were you born? â€œOf Mother Church,â€� I hear the reply of your hearts. You became sons of this mother at your baptism, you came to birth then as members of Christ. Now you in your turn must draw to the font of baptism as many as you possibly can. You became sons when you were born there yourselves, and now by bringing others to birth in the same way, you have it in your power to become the mothers of Christ.
Another verse that is often used to downplay the role of Mary is:
"Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!" but he said "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." (Lk 11:27-28)
Catholics do not think this is a downplay of Mary's role, it is simply focusing on her obedience rather than her motherly function. It is showing that the real miracle about Mary bearing Jesus was her obedience to the Lord under danger of being divorced by Joseph and being stoned for "adultery" (Lk 1:38).
How can Catholics say Mary is Holy?
I read on a message board a young Evangelical say "Mary is not holy, she is blessed because she was a virgin." She objected to Catholics calling her holy. That really blew me away. The Bible is full of people who are described as "holy."
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. (Heb 2:11)
For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. (1 Peter 3:5)
...for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."... (1 Peter 1:15-16)
If my belief in Christ can make me holy, I can't imagine someone saying that Mary's belief in Christ didn't make her holy. Evangelicals would agree there is no woman in the Bible more holy than Mary. We Catholics think Mary is the holiest human ever, because of her relationship to Jesus.
Does the Bible give Mary the role of "Mother of all People"?
In saying "yes" to God, Abraham became the father of all humanity (Gen 22:17). Catholics believe that similarly, Mary's "yes" to God made her the mother of all humanity. (Lk 1:2, Jn 19:26) Mary responded to the Angel of God (Lk 1:2) and so did Abraham (Gen 22:11). The Bible talks about Mary at the foot of the Cross. It says:
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26),
Most certainly he was saying, as Evangelicals suggest, that John should take care of his mother. But Jesus does not speak on one level alone. His words are multi-layered and rich. We believe in this passage, the greater meaning is that Jesus gives Mary to all people as our mother. I (Hugh) felt this the first time I read that passage (before I heard it from Catholic theologians).
|Old Testament||New Testament|
|The death of Man came upon a tree in the garden of Eden||The conquest of death came upon a tree, which is another scriptural name for the Cross|
|Adam was the father of all people||Jesus was the father of all people|
|Eve was the Mother of all people||Mary is the logical New Codefendant Eve|
And at the foot of the Cross which was prefigured by the tree in the Garden of Eden, Jesus says to the apostle take her as your mother, and to Mary he says take him as your son. Jesus was not simply just concerned with taking care of his mother. He also told Mary to be John's Mother. John represented all of the Christians, he was the only disciple present, and therefore he was standing in the gap for us.
Jesus could have given that discourse at any time in the days leading up to the crucifixion. He waited until his last breath to do it when every breath was agonizing and a moment before he died (and conquered sin). Most of the early Church fathers say that he waited until that moment because the scenario at the foot of the cross completes the scenario at the foot of the tree in Eden and to leave Mary out of that scenario as the new Eve, is a one legged analysis I would say.
By this point her pilgrimage of faith is maturing. When Jesus was younger, she chastised Jesus when he ran away at twelve year old (Lk 2:51) and when he was not eating properly at thirty years old (Mk 3:34). Now she has accepted Simeon's prophesy (Lk 2:34-35). She has kept the faith, she stands obediently at the foot of the Cross (Jn 19:26). Later she reaped the rewards (Acts 1:14), and now in heaven, she shares the greatest of those rewards with us, her faith in Jesus, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.
Below we have a chart that compares Mary to Eve. Just as Eve was given the title of "mother of all the Living" by Adam, Mary was given the role of mother of the living by Jesus (Jn 19:26). Catholics believe this was confirmed in Revelation 12:17 where she is described as the mother of those who hold to the testimony of Jesus.
Catholics believe their relationship to Mary is Biblical
Catholics believe that their relationship to Mary is very biblical. They feel it would be unbiblical to ignore her place in Scripture. Many Evangelicals say that Mary's ministry and purpose ended with the birth of Christ. If that was so why would the devil be so interested in destroying her after the birth of Jesus. Catholics believe the passage identifies Mary as the rediscovered Ark of the Covenant. Now the Ark is in heaven. It has been found. It is Mary. The passage of Revelation describes the woman in heaven with a crown of 12 stars as the mother of Jesus (not a pagan goddess). She is presented as a very important player, not only because she gave birth to the Saviour but also because she will continue to play an ongoing role in service to him in the spiritual battle with Satan and his evil angels. The passage also says all those who hold the testimony of Jesus are her children. That includes Christians of all denominations. They are all her children. This is why Catholics don't think it would be right to abandon Mary simply for the sake of Christian unity. Mary just too important. Catholics wouldn't give up Mary any more than the ancient Jews would be willing to give up the Ark of the Covenant.
Mary has a very special role in this spiritual war. She is not a "dead person" who faded away into the pages of history. She is a prayer warrior who is alive. Catholics think her ministry did not end with the birth of Jesus. That was only the beginning of her important role.
Although the passage shows Mary with a crown in heaven that does not make her a god. She is a creature. The passage clearly shows that Jesus went to "God's Throne." He is the King. What respectable king does not have a queen. Her entire dignity stems from Jesus, the King, her Son. Catholics have no problem honouring her and asking her to pray to Jesus for us.
An invitation - pray to Jesus about Mary
Many people wish that this thing about Mary would go away and that the Church would be in greater unity with other Christians if it would.
It appears that most of the closed feelings against Mary have crept into the reform movement in the last 100 years. Many great Protestants have had strong feelings for Mary including C.S. Lewis. Most early reformers had strong positive feelings for Mary including Calvin, Heinrich Bullinger, and John Wesley. Even Martin Luther spoke to her in the first person saying:
No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity.
(Martin Luther Sermon - Feast of the Visitation, 1537)
We are not apologists. Apart from all this doctrine and stuff, the reason we believe that Mary is in heaven helping us is because each of us had an experience with Mary that we cannot refute (Hugh's testimony here, Diane's testimony here). No one can tell us she is dead. We don't worship her. She is a friend who prays for us and has shown us very cool things about her Son, Jesus. We believe we are better Christians today because of Mary.
If you are afraid to talk to Mary, we invite you to:
Pray to Jesus about Mary.
Any Evangelical would say it is perfectly safe to pray to Jesus about anything. Ask Jesus what's up with Mary. Give him time to respond. We pray you have the same experience that has led to our powerful convictions about the validity of Mary as a helper for the helpless, and a great prayer warrior.
|Ark of the Old Testament||Fulfillment - Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant|
|There I have set the ark in which is the [old] covenant of the Lord that he made with his people Israel (2 Ch 6:11)||Elizabeth's spouse, Zachariah says "He has remembered his holy covenant" (Lk 1:72) "the new covenant in my blood" (Lk 22:20)|
|The Word was written by God on Tablets of Stone (Ex 25:10) placed inside the Ark (Deut 10:1)||The Word of God became Flesh (John 1) conceived inside Mary (Lk 2:38) Mary carried the Word of God.|
|[The New Covenant] will not be like the covenant that... they broke though I was their husband (Jer 31:31)||The Holy Spirit (God) is Mary's spouse (Lk 1:35)|
|"Who am I that the Ark of my Lord should come to me?" (2 Sam 6:9)||"Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me" (Lk 1:43)|
|When the Ark carrying the Word of God returned "Hugh was leaping and dancing before the Lord" (2 Sam 6:14)||When Mary came into Elizabeth's presence carrying the word of God, the baby leaped for joy in Elizabeth's womb (Lk 2 38)|
|The Ark carrying the Word of God is brought to the house of Obed-Edom for 3 months, where it was a blessing. (2 Sam 6:11)||Mary (the new Ark) carrying the Word of God goes to Elizabeth's house for 3 months, where she is a blessing (Lk 1:56)|
|The Ark is captured (1 Sam 4:11) and brought to a foreign land and later returns (1 Sam 6:13)||Mary (the new Ark) is exiled to a foreign land (Egypt) and later returns (Mat 2:14)|
|The Ark of the Old Covenant disappears (Jer 3:16) never to return||The Ark of the New Covenant appears as Mary (Rev 11:19)|
|The Ark was in God's Temple on earth (Ex. 30:26)||Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant is in God's temple in Heaven (Rev 11:19)|
|Joshua summoned the twelve men carrying 12 stones representing the tribes of Israel. "Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God." (Josh 4:3-5)||The Ark of the New Covenant, Mary with a crown of twelve stars representing the tribes of Israel. (Rev 12 :1, 11:19)|
|The Israelites circle Jericho with the Ark of the Covenant and blowing horns for seven days before their victory. (Joshua 6)||The angels blow seven trumpets to herald the victory over Satan, (Rev. 8-11) before the introduction Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant (Rev. 12) which proceeds the final battle in Heaven.|
In Revelation the woman is both Mary and the Church.
“If the male child is Jesus, then the woman is Mary. This interpretation was upheld by the most sober-minded of the Church Fathers, St. Athanasius, St. Epiphanius, and many others. Yet ‘the woman’ also stands for more. She is ‘daughter Zion,’ which brought forth Israel’s Messiah. She is also the Church, besieged by Satan, yet preserved in safety.” (Scott Hahn, The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth, p. 78)
Chart comparing Mary to Eve
|The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. " (Gen. 2:18)||
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. (Luke 1:38)
a servant is a helper
|The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called 'Woman', because she was taken out of Man...(Gen. 2:23)||And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does
that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come." (John 2:4)
"woman" is an odd title for his Mother, and unusual for the day, Catholics think there was a reason Jesus used that word
Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. (Gen. 2:22)
Eve came out of Adam
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
Jesus,the new Adam (1 Cor 15:22) came out of Mary (the new Eve)
|Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" (Gen.3:1)||his mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says
to you, do it." (John 2:5)
on one level she is amending the disobedience of Eve
|Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (Gen. 3:13)||And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may
it be doneaccording to your word." And the angel
departed from her. (Luke 1:38)
Mary's obedience vs. Eve's disobedience
|Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. (Gen. 3:20)||When Jesus then saw his mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" (John 19:26-27) Catholics believe at that moment Mary was given as mother to all Christians. (As per Rev 12:17, explained below)|
Bible passages Catholics feel are related to Mary:
- Genesis 3:15, 24:43-46 - Rebecca, 28:12 Jacob's Ladder, 30:13?,
- Exodus 3:11-12, 13:2, 13:14 (Magnificat), 15:20, 21, 26 (Magnificat), 25:8 Ark, 34:19-20
- Leviticus 12:2, 8 (Purification)
- Numbers 18:15 (Presentation)
- Judges 6:12, 15 (Annunciation)
- 1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Magnificat)
- Isaiah 7:14 (Virgin Birth)
- Ezekiel 44:2 (Mary's perpetual Virginity)
- Mat 1:16, 18-25 (Mary to be found with Child), 2:11, 13-14, 20-23 (Maji flight to Egypt), 12:46-50 (Who is my mother?), 13:55 (is his mother not Mary?)
- Mark 3:31-35 (Your mother is outside), 6:3 (is he not son of Mary?)
- Luke 1:26-56 (Annunciation, visitation magnificat), 2:5-7, 16-19, 22, 33-35, 39, 41-51 (Nativity, shepherds, presentation, finding in the temple), 8:19-21 (Your mother outside) 11:27-28 Blessed is the womb that bore you
- John 1:14 (incarnation), 2:1-5 (Cana), 6:42 (Do we not know his mother), 19:25-27
- Acts 1:14 (Gathered in prayer with Mary), Gal 4:4 (God sent son born of woman)
- Col 1:15, 18 (first born, Head of body)
- Rev 11:19 (Ark in Heaven),12:1-17 (Woman clothed with the sun)
- 10 Reasons Mother Mary is not just for Catholics
- Mary in Scripture
- Martin Luther's quotes about Mary
- Hugh's experience with Mary
- Is Mary a pagan goddess?
- Do Catholics pray to Mary?
- Repetitious prayers?
- The rosary
- Is the rosary more about Mary than Jesus?
- Learn the Rosary
- Download audio version of the rosary on MP3
- Mary in the early Church and today
- Did Mary have a bunch of kids?
- What's this co-redemptrix nonsense?
- Immaculate conception
- Apparitions - what's all that about?