Mary, The Mother Of Jesus

Bible Book: Luke  1 : 46-48
Subject: Mary; Worry; Christmas; Mother of Jesus

When babies are born, someone gives them a name. Most of us like our names. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 7:1 that, “A good name is better than precious perfume.” Proverbs 22:1 states “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”

Practically everyone knows that the mother of Jesus was the Virgin Mary. Her name appears 24 times in the New Testament as well as other references to her. Mary’s name is listed in the first three gospels as well as in Acts 1:14. Interestingly, John made a reference to Mary when Jesus turned the water into wine.

An angel announced to both Joseph and Mary that she would become the mother of Jesus. The news astounded and impressed Mary so profoundly that she declared that “henceforth all generations shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:48).

Catholics have “latched on” to the words that Mary spoke. As Christians we esteem Mary. We don’t worship her nor call her “the queen of heaven,” a title that was given to a pagan goddess in the book of Jeremiah (7:18; 44:17-19, 25). The Hebrews in those ancient times poured out incense to that pagan deity and worshipped “the queen of heaven.” That adoration brought God’s wrath down upon His own people for devoting themselves to one who was not nor ever could be God.

We recognize Mary’s “high place” in God’s plan. She rightly called herself “the handmaiden of the Lord.” We praise God that He prepared a human instrument through whom “God became man in Christ.” Thus we esteem Mary as the mother of Christ’s humanity. Let’s look at a few reasons why Mary is honored and called “blessed.”

I. Mary – Chosen Of God

We honor Mary as one chosen of God. The choice that God made concerning the coming of Jesus as the world’s Redeemer was made in “eternity past.” In Genesis 3:15 the first statement of the gospel of redemption was given, surprisingly, to the devil. The Lord said “the seed of the woman would crush the devil’s head.” The words about “the seed of the woman” without doubt had reference to Christ’s birth through Mary.

The prophet Isaiah wrote that a virgin would have a son whose name would be “Immanuel,” or “God with us” (7:14). Isaiah 9:6 states that the Promised Redeemer would be “The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father.” The word that’s used in the Hebrew language for the “Mighty” defines God in other places with that same word. Jesus would say later, “The Father and I are one,” signifying His deity (John 10:30).

A. Chosen For Salvation

God chooses His people for salvation. Mary made reference to her own salvation with the words expressed in Luke 1:47, “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”

Mary needed a Savior, a Redeemer. The Bible states that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Paul quoted from the Old Testament when he wrote, “there is none good, no not one” (Romans 3:10; Psalms 14:3; Ecclesiastes 7:20).

Just as Mary needed a Savior, so do we. The only perfect person who has ever lived is Jesus. He is the Savior who gave His life for Mary and for multitudes of sinners worldwide.

B. Chosen For Service

God chooses His people for service. Mary expressed this truth in Luke 1:38 as she answered Gabriel by saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word.” In Luke 1:48 Mary again referred to herself as God’s “handmaiden.” She was ready to serve God by becoming the mother of Jesus.

God wants us to be saved and to serve Him. We don’t come to the end of our relationship with God by accepting His salvation. Like Mary we ought to be ready to serve Him, to become His “handservants.”

Claude and Delma Jacks point the way for us in this area of service. After a long life of ministry in churches, they continue to serve God in their “golden years.” The Jacks couple has taken “short term” assignments with the Baptist International Mission Board in China, the Philippines, in Zambia, and other places. Five or six times they have gone overseas to teach and preach and minister in countless ways. God calls His people to serve. We applaud those who continue to serve the Lord.

We esteem Mary for her service unto God as she constantly did “the will of God.”

II. Mary – Chaste In Life

We honor Mary for her chaste life. She was a person of integrity. She lived a life of purity. Joseph got the “shock of his life” when he first learned that Mary was going to have a child before he and Mary were married. At the first news came to him that Mary was expecting a child, Joseph wanted “to put her away privately” (Matthew 1:19). He didn’t want to face the same of her pregnancy nor did he want Mary to be embarrassed over the matter of her becoming a mother before their marriage.

Before Mary and Joseph “came together” as husband and wife, she was already an “expectant mother” (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:35). The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary so that the miracle of her pregnancy did not come about by some deviant sexual act on her part, but she conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Even though we affirm the “sinful nature” of Mary, we do not level any charges against her as a sinful person who was unfaithful to her betrothal to Joseph.

We need to follow in the steps of Mary with “chaste lives.”

Psalms 24 has questions that are pertinent for us, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? and who shall stand in His holy place? He that has clean hands, and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (vs. 3-4). Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Sir Galahad expressed the benefit of purity and chastity in this way, “My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart if pure.” Like Mary, we need to live in chastity and purity, too. God chooses us and He wants us also to have lives that are pure.

An interesting story about Mary and Joseph goes back to the time of the Hebrews before they entered the Promised Land. Moses sent 12 spies into the Holy Land. Those men found refuge in the home  of Rahab, a notable harlot in the city of Jericho. She hid the spies in her own house because she believed the reports about what God had been doing in the lives of the Hebrews. She had faith in God’s deliverance. Rahab had a big change in her life. Soon after the Hebrews arrived in the Promised Land, one of the Hebrew men married her. She became the great grandmother of David. Even though Rahab had been a prostitute, God cleaned up her life and she became an ancestress of Jesus. She began a life of chastity after a life of sin. That speaks volumes to anyone who needs conversion or the new birth, doesn’t it?

III. Mary – Conversant In The Scriptures

We honor Mary because of her knowledge of the Scriptures. When we read the long Bible passage in Luke 1:46-55, we become aware that Mary knew the Old Testament Scriptures. Implications shine forth in those verses about Mary’s knowledge of Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Jeremiah and others. She mentioned in her “recital of God’s acts” how the Lord had won victory after victory over the enemies of His people.

She was not ignorant concerning God’s Word and the great promises that God gives in His book.

The final time that the Bible mentions the name of Mary related to the pre-Pentecostal days. As the apostles and other believers waited in the “Upper Room” for the coming and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, Mary found a place among them. During those ten days of waiting, watching, and praying, Mary no doubt heard various ones talk about the events of the Old Testament as well as rehearse so much about Christ’s three year ministry. She continued to learn about God. We may follow in the steps of Mary by having a desire to learn more about the Holy Scriptures and putting into practice God’s Word. God blesses and enlarges those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness.”

IV. Mary – Committed To Her Family

We honor Mary for her devotion to her family. When Jesus was born, angels announced His birth.  She heard the report that the shepherds gave when they came to see the Christ child. The Bible says that “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). She treasured the  “good news of the gospel” and the miraculous way in which the shepherds heard about her son.

We know something of the faithfulness of Mary to Joseph. They had “walked together” even before the birth of Jesus. They journeyed together to Bethlehem where Christ was born. Within a short time Joseph and Mary took Jesus and made a trip into Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod (Matthew 2:14). Two years later they returned to Nazareth. Joseph knew the warmth of support and affection from Mary as he worked in his carpenter shop in Nazareth and the surround area. That kind of faithfulness to her husband causes us to honor Mary.

We know something of the faithfulness of Mary to her children. The Bible states in Matthew 1:25 that “Joseph did not know Mary” until after the birth of Jesus. He knew her as the betrothed or the one to whom he was engaged to be married, but he didn’t “know her” in a sexual relationship until after the birth of Jesus. That’s the clear meaning of the text.

Joseph and Mary had other children after the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:7 states that Jesus was her “first born” which indicates that she gave birth to other sons and daughters soon thereafter. Matthew 13:55-56 gives the names of four brothers of Jesus and mentions his sisters. Mark 6:3 gives the names of the brothers and Jesus and also mentions His sisters.

The apostles and other believers met in the “Upper Room” a few days before Pentecost. Luke wrote that Mary was among the 120 believers who stayed together and continued in prayer until the coming

of the Holy Spirit. Mary participated in prayer during those ten days of waiting along with “the brothers of Jesus” which implies His sisters as well (Acts 1:14).

Look again at Mary and “her family.” The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:5 that Simon Peter  had a wife as well as “the brothers of Jesus.” I Corinthians 15:7 that the apostles had seen Jesus alive after His resurrection; also, James, the brother of Jesus, saw Christ after His “Grand Rising.” In Galatians 1:19 Paul wrote that after his sojourn in the Arabian Desert of three years that he visited with Simon Peter for 15 days and with “James, the Lord’s brother.”

Mary was present when Jesus performed His first miracle in Cana of Galilee (John 2). She showed a devotion to Jesus by saying, “Whatever Jesus says unto you, do it” (vs. 5).

When the wedding feast had come to an end, Jesus walked to the city of Capernaum along with His mother and His brothers (John 2:12). These Scriptures give “infallible proofs” about the family of Joseph and Mary. How can anyone deny or explain away these direct statements from the Bible?

Mary set a great example for family life. She was devoted to her husband, to Jesus, and to at least six brothers and sisters of Jesus. By implication we maybe sure that Mary told Bible stories to all her children. She and Joseph must have prayed for them day after day. They attended synagogue services as well as big spiritual events in Jerusalem.

When Jesus was 12 years of age, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem with them as they celebrated the “feast of the Passover” (Luke 2:41). As the parents left the city at the end of the religious observance that reminded the Hebrews of God’s deliverance of His people from Egyptian slavery, Mary and Joseph unintentionally left Jesus in the temple with religious leaders. When they learned of Christ’s absence, they returned and searched for Him. They had “sorrow in their hearts” for Jesus until they found Him (Luke 2:48).

Family life is the basic unit of society. We need to “look well to the ways of the household.” Families need to pray together, read the Scriptures together, worship together in the family circle as well as in congregational worship. Joseph and the mother of Jesus have left an ideal route for all families to travel.

Susannah Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley, was asked how she had brought up her children in the faith - and she and the pastor husband had 19 sons and daughters. Mrs. Wesley answered the question, saying, “By getting hold of their hearts when they were young and never letting them go.”

Family life needs reviving. We need a rejuvenation of that which is basic in society. A nation will not change and a world or a community will not have much hope unless a return to God takes place where families learn and practice the truths of the Bible. We need this big turn-around today. Mary and Joseph set the challenge and pace for family life.

V. Mary – Called Blessed

We honor Mary because of the prophecy about her that future generations would call her “blessed.” Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth who was to become the mother of John the Baptist, said, “Mary was blessed among women” (Luke 1:42). Mary also declared that from that time onward “all generations shall call me blessed.”

We acknowledge the special place that Mary had in God’s plan. She became the mother of Jesus. And yet, Mary never claimed a role that was not hers. She simply became a “handmaiden” or servant of the Lord. She fulfilled her role in a matchless kind of way as the physical mother of Jesus and as the mother of other children that shared the home life of Joseph and Mary. We may without controversy state some fabulous facts that ought to be instilled within our minds about Mary as well as about Jesus.

The Bible states clearly that we have one mediator and redeemer. 1 Timothy 2:5 clearly declares that “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

We do not have “Co-Redeemers” nor can there ever be such. Jesus became man, as He ever

remained God so that He might give His life for our redemption. He reaches both God and man for that is who He really is and will eternally be the “God-man.”

The Bible states clearly that only Christ is sinless. Mary did not have an “Immaculate Conception.” That is, she was not born “without sin.” Bishop Eusebius, an early Church leader, declared that “only Christ is without sin.” Ambrose wrote that only Christ was born without sin and that birth was by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In his exposition of Psalms 34:3, Augustine wrote that “only Christ is perfect, and He came to blot out the sins of others.” In the late 300s Athanasius, the Patriarch of Alexandria, declared that Mary was “ever virgin.” Centuries later the devotion to the “Immaculate Heart” of Mary began as a religious  ritual. Mary’s “perpetual virginity” is a vital part of today’s catholic teaching.

Early in Christian history at the Chalcedon Council (451 A.D.), the doctrine of “Theotokos” was declared. That is, the “Mother of God” phrase began to be used. Anselm of Canterbury wrote, “God became man without sin.” And by implication he wanted to say that no other person has been sinless, nor can we declare any other human being sinless.

Pope Gregory the Great in the early 600s wrote that John 14:4 shows that only Christ is perfect, and that the rest of humanity is in a sinful stream. Pope Innocent III declared that Mary was born in sin,  but that she gave birth to Jesus who was without sin. Thomas Aquinas of the Dominicans in the thirteenth century (1200s) declared that Mary was born in sin and that only Christ is the sinless one.

In 1854 Pope Pius IX issued an ex-cathedra dogma or teaching stating the “Immaculate Conception” of Mary - - that is, that she was born of Saint Anne without sin. The “battle of belief” about Mary’s sinless birth had been going on for several centuries. Some catholic theologians had “voted” for her sinless status while others declared the opposite.

The ruling Pope in 1950 declared the “Dogma of the Ascension of Mary.” That is, the pronouncement was given that is binding upon all Catholics that Mary arose bodily from the grave, ascended to heaven, and now rules as “the Queen of Heaven.” This is a Catholic teaching, but it is not biblical.

Franz Schubert in the 1800s set to music the “Ave Maria” which is a prayer to Mary. The words used in the Rosary are these, “Hail Mary, Full of Grace; the Lord be with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” Catholics have 17 yearly festivals in which they honor Mary.

The truth that we need to understand is that Mary fulfilled her role as the physical mother of Jesus. We go to God through Jesus without any other “go-between.” While we honor Mary and hold her in high esteem, we remember that Jesus is the “King of kings and the Lord of lords.” We bow before Him and follow Him as the Lord of life.