Christmas: What should we know about Mary?
Of course, I’m speaking of Mary, the mother of the Christ child, Jesus. What are some of the most important things we should know about her? As with other things pertaining to the Christmas story, there are many wonderful things to be said about her, but there are some other beliefs that are simply not true. While there should be no doubt that Mary was a wonderful woman God chose to be the mother of Jesus, we first need to realize that she was born a sinner like all of us. There’s nothing in Scripture that tells us otherwise.
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [Emphasis added]
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: [Emphasis added]
Mary is not an exception to this. She needed God’s salvation just like the rest of us. She was a wonderful woman but clearly not without sin. She, too, knew she needed a Savior. Here’s the record of it.
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. [Emphasis added]
Like Abraham and others who had gone before her, she was a believer in the Lord God of Israel.
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. [Emphasis added]
Please notice that he didn’t say he believed IN God [even though he surely did]; it says he believed God and what He said. That’s what we’re to do. Today, in our time, God says salvation is gained by faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection [I Corinthians 15:1-4]. Of this Mary knew nothing at all. But what truth God had revealed to her she believed. And that became the basis for her salvation.
Mary, as predicted, is clearly the most famous woman in all the Bible. Notice what she said that’s recorded in Scripture for us.
48 For he [God] hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. [Emphasis added]
Mary is said to have been “favored” and “blessed” of the Lord. That was because of her love for Him.
Luke 1:28-30, 50
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. [Emphasis added]
As with any truly faithful believer, she was not only a blessing to people in her own generation, but even for ones to come.
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. [Emphasis added]
I think we’d all like to be remembered favorably in generations to come. The sure way of doing that meaningfully as a blessing to people is by being a faithful servant to our Lord. That happens by being a serious student of His Word. While others are soon forgotten, we can be long remembered, particularly by God. Because we are told that He even remembers the death of every sparrow, He’ll surely remember us.
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings [less than a penny], and not one of them is forgotten before God? [Emphasis added]
As a young girl Mary had been wise enough to keep herself pure sexually. We know that from a comment she made to the angel when she was told that she was going to give birth to a child.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [Emphasis added]
Mary had chosen not to fornicate and to save herself for the one she would marry. Such should be the case for every single woman today.
I Corinthians 6:18-20
18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
19 What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [provided that you are a believer] which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. [Emphasis added]
I Thessalonians 4:3-5
3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
5 Not in the lust of concupiscence [PATHOS & EPITHUMIA = lustful passion], even as the Gentiles which know not God: [Emphasis added]
One of the most important things every believer should learn from Mary is that since God has a wonderful plan of blessing for us, there’s nothing in life we should fear. We all need to be cautious about all our decision-making, but we need not live a life of fear and worry. Such is not of God.
2 Timothy 1:7
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. [Emphasis added]
Our Lord in His earthly ministry had some important words for all about this.
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. [Emphasis added]
Even in this time when Mary was nearly full term in pregnancy, she was a brave lady to make such a trip to Bethlehem with Joseph.
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David🙂
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. [Emphasis added]
No woman would want to travel like this even for a mile being nine months pregnant, let alone some ninety miles. Tradition tells us she rode there on a donkey, but there’s no such evidence in Scripture. It is possible that she had to walk all the way there. Then as verse seven tells us, even after that long journey, there was no room in the inn. Again, she was surely a courageous lady.
I’ve always thought it interesting and helpful what our Lord had to say about the “blessing” of having children.
27 And it came to pass, as he [Jesus Christ] spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.
28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. [Emphasis added]
This is clearly telling us that the intake and application of the Word of God far outweighs the blessing of childbearing. Yet by their actions we can tell that most people don’t think so. The Word of God has eternal value; childbearing itself does not!
1 Peter 1:23-25
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. [Emphasis added]
Later, after the cross and resurrection, where do we find Mary? It is important that we take note of this. She’s in prayer with the other disciples. She’s not being prayed unto; she’s in prayer just like all the other believers. Just as it was then, all prayers are to be directed to God the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ.
14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. [Emphasis added]
Prayer was no different for Mary than it was for all the others. If she lived today, the same command that’s addressed to us would be addressed to her.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing. [Emphasis added]
Mary never had a privileged position of prayer because she was the mother of Jesus. Furthermore, she needed the care of others just as women do today. This is why Jesus made the statement He did from the cross to His apostle John. He wanted to be sure His mother would be cared for in His absence. Don’t all men have such a responsibility today?
25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. [Emphasis added]
All mothers are to be loved and protected. Here Jesus serves as a wonderful example for us in that. Even in all the pain of His dying moments on the cross, He thinks of her needs and her wellbeing.
Again, Mary was no doubt a wonderful woman. She has inspired more art and music than any other woman in history. But there’s nothing in Scripture that tells us that she should be an object of worship or that she occupied a position equal to or above that of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, there’s nothing in Scripture that tells us she now prays for people. Not one word! Therefore, we can pray and other believers still here on Earth can pray for us. Believers are encouraged to pray for one another. But there’s only made-up teaching that says Mary prays for people now.