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MARY, BLESSED MOTHER OF OUR LORD
(Luk 1:39-55) 12/16/07
I. MARY’S TITLES
1. Even though the word “blessed” is used five times in the first chapter of Luke, it is only referred to Mary twice; once by Elisabeth (1:42a) and once by Mary (1:48).
a) Elisabeth also calls the “the fruit of [Mary’s] womb” blessed, which refers to Jesus (1:42b).
b) In addition, Elisabeth refers to herself as “blessed” because she believed the prophecies of Christ (1:45).
c) Zecharias praises the God of Israel and calls Him “Blessed” (1:68).
2. The Roman Catholic Church calls anyone “blessed” who has been canonized and been exalted to the position of a saint. From that point on that saint is beatified and worshipped.
3. The Roman Catholic Church specifically calls Mary, “Blessed” in a sense that venerates her above all creatures, both in heaven and on earth (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Ch. 8, p. 53). This has been the cause of much debate and is called, Mariolatry, the excessive veneration or worship of the Mary.
4. From a biblical perspective, Mary is blessed because God chose her from among all other women to be the mother of the Lord Jesus. For that reason, she will be considered by all humanity (especially mothers) to be blessed. However, this does not exalt her to a position of deity, mediatrix, or redemptrix.
5. Luke 1:42 reveals that Mary was not blessed inherently, but was “blessed among women” because of the “blessed fruit” in her womb.
c) Here the Greek word for “blessed” is eulogéō which means to speak well of or eulogize.
6. Luke 1:48 reflects the idea that Mary is considered to be blessed by generations to come because her child was the expected Messiah.
a) Note that Mary would only be considered blessed, “from [that] time on” referring to the conception of the Savior.
b) This particular word for blessed is makarízō which in regard to man, is a spiritual joy as a result of obedience to God. In regard to God, He alone is blessed because of His innate glory and attributes.
c) Furthermore, Mary, who no doubt is in heaven, cannot bestow a blessing on anyone, even as no other person in heaven can look down and bestow a blessing. Only God can give divine favor and blessing.
B. “Mother of God”
1. A title that has been given to Mary and has been accepted by the majority of denominations is the, “mother of God.
2. In fact, it is a title that is also given in the Greek as Theotokos. Theos for God and tokos for bearer of offspring, i.e. “God-bearer.”
3. There has been considerable controversy surrounding this title. The initial controversy focused not on Mary but on Christ.
a) The opposition was brought by Nestorius (351-451) who viewed Christ as two persons, one divine and one human. Thus, Mary was the mother of the human Jesus.
b) Nestorianism was condemned by the Council
c) Orthodoxy holds that Christ (one person) possesses a full divine nature, and a perfect human nature was added at His birth.
d) The title Theotokos then is concluded by the logical syllogism: Jesus is God, Mary is the mother of Jesus, and therefore Mary is the mother of God.
e) Technically, Scripture says that Mary is the, “mother of the Lord” (Luk 1:43), but as long as Theotokos is properly understood, it is acceptable.
f) Many Protestant theologians prefer to call Mary the, “God-bearer,” (i.e.the true meaning of Theotokos), although Catholics and Protestants agree the term is not intended to imply that Mary gave Jesus His divinity or that Mary is divine. It is for this title that Mary is truly “blessed” because she gave birth to the Savior who was God and man.
4. The problem arises when Mary is given excessive veneration, not from giving the title of Theotokos, but from those who pray to Mary or see her as a Co-Mediator.
a) The Roman Catholic Church states, The entire body of the faithful pours forth instant supplications to the Mother of God and Mother of men that she, who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers, may now, exalted as she is above all the angels and saints, intercede before her Son in the fellowship of all the saints (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Ch. 8, p. 69).
(1) To pray to Mary is to ascribe deity to Mary. Prayer is a form of worship and even the angels refused worship (Rev 19:10; 22:8-9).
(2) The Bible teaches that God alone deserves worship and prayer (Deu 6:13; Mat 4:10).
(3) Also included in prayer to Mary is the assumption that she is omniscient and omnipresent to hear man’s prayer from earth.
b) Another extremely problematic belief is the Roman Catholic Church’s assertion that Mary in some way aids in the salvation of men. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation…Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix. (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Ch. 8, p. 62)
(1) The Scripture clearly states that there is only one mediator and Christ is that mediator (1Ti 2:5).
(2) If Mary was part of the mediatorship why is her name not mentioned in this passage?
(3) Anyone who believes in the doctrine of Christ’s sole mediation, could not call Mary a Mediatrix.
C. “Sinner Saved by Grace”
1. Another title could be given to Mary, a title that is implied from her own lips; a “sinner saved by grace.
2. In Mary’s Song of Praise (Magnificat), she makes a telling declaration (1:47), she rejoices in “God her Savior”. If God is her Savior, than that implies Mary needs saving. The only way Mary would need saving is if Mary was a sinner just like every other human being.
3. Or to put it another way, if Mary was not a sinner (and she would be the only one in history), then she would have no need of a Savior.
4. Roman Catholic dogma declares that Mary was not a sinner based on what they call the Immaculate Conception which states that, from the first moment of her conception the Virgin Mary was, by the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of Mankind, kept free from all stain of original sin. (Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus in 1854)
5. The focus of Scripture is not on Mary but on Christ who when the Magi came, worshiped Jesus, not Mary (Mat 2:11).
6. Mary is blessed because the angel came to her and no other woman to tell her that she would bear a Son. But the angel proceeded to tell Mary that she shall call His name Jesus (which is transliterated from the Hebrew name Joshua meaning “Jehovah saves”) because He and He alone will save His people from their sins (Mat 1:21).
7. The focus of Christmas must be on Christ who alone is Mediator and Savior of the world, including Mary.