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Miracles - the Light on (and from) the Bible!     Madonna of the Streets     Miracles - the Light on (and from!) the Bible!


Mary and the Bible

Mary and the Bible



For centuries, Christians have debated what role, if any, Mary should play in peoples’ spiritual lives. Interest in Mary has increased in recent years; both from those who attack as well as defend her. Since much of the debate revolves around the Bible, it only makes sense that we check God's Word for ourselves on this topic. So let's start a brief survey of what the Scriptures should teach us about Mary, to help resolve this controversy.

"The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. Upon arriving, the angel said unto her:

'Hail, full of Grace! The Lord is with thee. Blessed are you among women.'... The angel went on to say to her: 'Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son, and name him Jesus. Great will be His dignity and He will be called Son of the Most High.'...Mary said: 'I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.'" (Luke 1:26-28, 30-32, 38).

Luke's account continues:

"Thereupon, Mary set out, proceeding with haste into the hill country, to a town of Judah, where she entered Zachariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out in a loud voice: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’;...Then Mary said: 'My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. For He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness; all generations to come shall call me 'blessed!'" (Lk. 1:39-43, 46-48).

Consider what we’ve read. Does your church, accept, teach and fulfill Mary’s Spirit-filled prophecy "all generations to come shall call me 'blessed.''? Have you called Mary 'blessed?'


The Scriptures never indicate that Mary is divine, rather, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you." (Lk. 1:35) We should note the Bible accurately prophesying that "all generations to come will call" Mary "blessed!" (Lk. 1:48).



'The Holy Spirit will come upon you' Lk. 1:35

In Matthew, we read:

"The angel of the Lord appeared in a dream and said to him: 'Joseph, son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she conceived this child. She is to have a son and you are to name Him Jesus because He will save the people from their sins.'

All this happened to fulfill what the Lord said through the prophet:

'The virgin shall be with child and give birth to a son, and they shall name Him Emmanuel.' a name that means ‘God is with us.’" (Matt. 1:20-23).

Clearly that 'Virgin' is Mary. The first direct Biblical reference to Mary is found very early in mankind’s history, in Genesis:

"Then the Lord God said to the serpent:...'I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at His heel.'" (Genesis 3:14, 15).

The 'woman' in this passage from Genesis is Mary, because 'her offspring' is Jesus. Jesus would strike at the serpent's (an image for the devil) head, while the best the devil could do is nip back at the Lord's heel. It is interesting to note that the devil is Mary's enemy in this verse. Have you met someone who felt 'enmity' toward Mary, as the serpent did? Do you side with Mary and her Son?






The prophecy in Genesis of a Savior for mankind predicted the serpent (the devil) would be an enemy of "the woman (Mary) and her offspring", Jesus (see Gen. 3:14).



Though Jesus was part of the God-head (cf: John 1:1-5, 14), He obeyed His mother as a youth: "When His parents saw Him, they were astonished, and His mother said to Him: ‘Son, why have you done this to us? You see that Your father and I have been searching for You in sorrow.’...He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother meanwhile pondered all these things in her memory." (Luke 2:48, 51). Thus Jesus fulfilled Exodus 20:12.



The very first public miracle Jesus performed was at Mary, His mother’s, request:

"On the third day there was a wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and His disciples had likewise been invited to the celebration. At a certain point the wine ran out and Jesus’ mother told Him, ‘They have no more wine.’ Jesus replied: 'Woman, how does this concern of yours involve Me? My hour has not yet come.' His mother instructed those waiting on table, 'Do what ever He tells you.'...They did as He instructed them...The waiter tasted the water made wine...Jesus performed this first sign of His at Cana in Galilee. Thus did He reveal His glory, and His disciples believed in Him." (John 2:1-5, 8, 9, 11).



Notice in the above that Mary’s instruction was to do what Jesus said, and He responds in the tradition of intercessory prayer that goes back to Abraham (cf. Gen. 20:7, 17). Clearly, Jesus listens to His mother's prayer! Note too the fact that Mary’s request brought Jesus glory, and caused His disciples to believe in Him. Can we deny that Mary leads others to faith in Jesus, after reading this Scripture?



First named as being at His Cross was Mary:

"Near the cross of Jesus there stood His mother...Seeing His mother there with the disciple whom He loved, Jesus said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son.'In turn He said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother.' From that hour onward, the disciple took her into his home." (John 19:25, 26-27).



Jesus’ dying act was to ‘give’ His mother to the disciple He loved, and by example, to all of His disciples. Have you been 'instructed' by Mary's example, as His disciples were at Cana, and have you taken her into your home, as the beloved disciple did at the foot of Christ's cross?



Let's see what else the Sacred Text reveals about Mary.



"'What mean such miracles wrought by His hands? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, Joseph, Jude and Simon? Are not also His sisters here with us?' And they took offense at Him."; (Mk. 6:3-4). "And he (Joseph) did not know her until she brought forth her firstborn son. And he called His name Jesus." (Mt. 1:25).



Every age and culture has its own unique expressions. In order to best understand the true meaning of the Bible, or any book, it helps to know what those expressions, idioms and metaphors mean. Let's look at some examples.



A ‘firstborn’ son is a Jewish legal phrase, meaning the son was given the rights and duties described in the Law of Moses (see Ex. 13:2; Num. 8:17). So ‘firstborn’ doesn’t imply that other sons followed. The Jewish term ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ can mean the same as our words ‘cousin’ or ‘relative’. The New Testament Greek word ‘adelphos’ also can mean 'relative'. But there's more!

Mark’s 'Son of Mary' is again a legal phrase meaning the only son of a widowed woman. When Mary told the angel ''I am a virgin', she indicated her decision to be a PERPETUAL virgin, a fact attested to by Isaiah 7:14. So Matthew’s expression, 'know her until' meant Joseph had nothing to do with the conception of Mary’s Son, as is indicated by Luke 1:31 and 35, not that Joseph and Mary later had relations.



While this would be hard to imagine in our age, celibate marriages were not unheard of in times past. Jesus Himself indicated as much: "Not all can accept this...some have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven." (Mt. 19:11,12). A eunuch is one who can't engage marital relations, so here, it is a metaphor for those who willingly abstain from sex.



Luther and Calvin, prime movers of the Protestant revolt, both interpreted the Bible as supporting Mary’s perpetual virginity. The early Christians firmly believed the same.

Scripture shares more insights about Mary: "And a great sign appeared in the heavens: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars...she brought forth a male child, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne...she has a place prepared by God, there she was taken care of..." (Rev. 12:1, 5, 6).

Many see here a prophecy of the Miracle of the Sun, photographed and witnessed by 70,000 people (including a number of non-believers) at Fatima, Portugal in 1917. It's also the image described by St. Catherine Laboure in 1830, which became the ‘miraculous medal.’ God crowns Mary with 12 stars, symbolic of: Israel, the Church and the Apostles.

Revelation 12:13 continues: "When the dragon saw that it had been thrown down to earth, it pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child." The Bible describes the devil angrily pursuing Mary; just as some wrongly attack ‘the woman’ today. Do you side with the devil, attacking ‘the woman’? Or should you side with Jesus, who loved, listened to and respected His Mother? Does your church attack or honor Mary?

"Then the dragon became angry with the woman, and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus." (Rev. 12:17) In the sense of John 19:25-27, we should be spiritual 'offspring' of Mary: those who ‘keep God’s commandments’ and ‘bear witness to Jesus’. God crowns Mary, who is 'full of grace.' So shouldn't we honor Mary, since God does?



So what are some of the things the Scriptures has taught us about Mary? Mary was a perpetual virgin, who concieved Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible reports that Jesus responded to Mary's requests. Mary is revealed as an example of what a good disciple of our Lord should be! Her soul "magnified" the Lord, and she rejoiced in her Savior, just as we should. Her 'yes' to God's will brought Jesus to others, just as our obeying God's will in our life can bring others to know and love Jesus, who is our Lord and Savior!

So it is no surprise that Jesus Himself tells the beloved disciple to take His mother into the disciples' home. Jesus listened to His mother's 'prayer' (which means 'request,' not worship) at Cana. Mary isn't divine, but she is rightly held in high regard in the Gospels. Note the prayer 'The Hail Mary' is Bible-based. The Scriptures we’ve read are a sample of the Biblical praise Mary receives, from Genesis to Revelation. Let us share these insights about the favorable light that Scripture places on Mary with others. Amen!




Latin for: Pray to the Lord that He may send workers into His Vineyard



Mary's Biblical insruction (Jn. 2:5):
"Do what ever He (Jesus) tells you." Advice all Christians should agree on!


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