What The New Testament Teaches About Mary

In my last two articles I have sought to show how evangelicals differ from the Roman Catholic Church on certain important issues. I would like to say here that I am no lover of controversy. I feel sure that I would not make a good debater; I lack that killer instinct, and feel that, as a Christian minister, I ought to always try to see the other person’s point of view even if I cannot agree with it. But I think that it is necessary to point out the differences clearly; and this week I would like to speak about Mary the mother of Jesus.

I well remember many years ago a youngster bursting into the church, during a service, and shouting: "You cursed people, you don’t believe in either God or the Virgin". Of course the poor lad was only reacting to what he had been taught; and we thank the Lord that those days have long gone and that we enjoy, by and large, in Spain, the blessing of religious liberty. Everyone is free to believe according to personal conviction, and to change that belief, if he so wills without fear or favour - this surely is a basic human right.

Evangelicals’ belief all that the New Testament teaches about Mary, we honour her and see her has one of God’s great examples of faith and fidelity,

Think of her faith when the angel Gabriel announced that she was to conceive although she was a virgin, and that the Holy One who was to be born would be called the Son of God - Luke 1: 35.

One of the most extraordinary announcements ever made, and she was only a very young women, no wonder that she was troubled, nevertheless her faith did not fail and she answered the angel with those timeless words -

"Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word." - Luke 1: 38. AV.

Here we see a tremendous example of faith in God and submission to his will. Can I ask you? Are you ready to submit to God’s will for your life as Mary was? Are you ready to thank and glorify God for his goodness to you, as she did in that great prophetic utterance that we call "the Magnificent".

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name." - Luke 1: 47 to 49

Blessed indeed to be the chosen instrument through whom the Son of God would take upon himself and become flesh.

If you are a believer thank him for being your Saviour as she did, if you are not, then ask him to become your Saviour and he will.

We read that - "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" - Luke 2: 19. The visit of Gabriel, her visit to Elizabeth, the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and the visit the Magi and their gifts. Faith always treasures up and meditates on the greatness of God both in the past and for eternity, and the apostle Paul tells us that - "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God - Romans 10: 17 AV.

Throughout his childhood, adolescence, and his young manhood Mary was mother to the Son of God, what a privilege and what a responsibility, and she carried it out faithfully until the day when his Heavenly Father called him from Nazareth and he began his intense and miraculous ministry that terminated in the cross and the victory of the resurrection.

We see Mary again at the cross where Jesus himself commended her into the hands of the apostle John who took her into his home, where inspired by the Holy Spirit she related to Luke all those things about Jesus’ birth that she had treasured and meditated upon through the years.

The last time that we see her is with the 120 on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came like a mighty wind and filled them all with ecstasy and they worshipped God in other tongues.

There are many great figures in the Bible apart from Jesus himself - Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David and John the Baptist to name just a few, but Mary was unique, chosen as God’s instrument for the greatest miracle since man was created, to be the mother of the Saviour of mankind. The first woman (Eve) failed and sin corrupted mankind, but God chose another woman whose faithfulness brought salvation to mankind, therefore evangelical Christians honour her and call her - "blessed" just as she said.

But to elevate Mary to a level which neither Jesus nor the New Testament give her does not honour her. Jesus told the Pharisees "You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down" - Mark 6: 13. And this is what the Roman Catholic Church has done where Mary is concerned.

For many Roman Catholics, although not all, she is as important as Jesus himself, and for many Catholic women she is approached in prayer more than Jesus, and her images are worshipped, which is clearly idolatry in its most blatant form. The New Testament is quite clear about worship and prayer; we are to pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

Then there is the doctrine of the "Immaculate Conception" of Mary. There is no scriptural warrant whatsoever for this. The only immaculate conception that there has been is that of Jesus Christ.

One of the most important doctrines about Mary is her perpetual virginity when Matthew clearly tells us -

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary into his home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus - Matthew 1: 24 & 25. Emphasis mine

When Jesus visited his home town he did not receive a very good reception; this is what the people said - "Isn’t this carpenters son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers names James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us - and they took offence at him - Matthew 13: 55 to 57. And, of course his family is mentioned in other places.

The argument that these were all cousins is weak and does not convince. There is no doctrinal reason for Mary to have remained a virgin after the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. This is man’s tradition once again taking precedence over the word of God.

God bless you!!!
Pastor Gordon Guillermo Burgess
Alicante Church Of The Good Shepherd