Honoring Mary

Sin entered the world through the actions of a woman.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Genesis 3:6

God used a woman to bring the Redeemer into the world to atone for sin.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:18-21

Certainly we should honor her for her faith and her willingness to be used by God.  Here is how Elizabeth responded when Mary visited her.

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
Luke 1:41-42

Here is Mary’s response.

And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.”
Luke 1:46-49

But is it possible that some people give her more honor than she deserves?  In the quote above she considered herself blessed because of what God had done for her, not because of any innate goodness she possessed.  But some have gone beyond this and claimed that she was somehow inherently greater than anyone else who ever lived.  An article on Catholic Online begins with these words.

Mary, also known as St. Mary the Virgin, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, Mary Mother of God or the Virgin Mary is believed by many to be the greatest of all Christian saints. The Virgin Mother “was, after her Son, exalted by divine grace above all angels and men.”

Mary is venerated with a special cult, called by St. Thomas Aquinas, hyperdulia, as the holiest of all creatures. The main events of her life are celebrated as liturgical feasts of the universal Church.

Mary the Blessed Virgin

Jesus would certainly not have agreed with this.

As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!”

But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Luke 11:27-28

The Bible only records one command given by Mary.

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
John 2:5

This took place at the wedding at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine.  If we want to honor Mary we should not give her titles such as Queen of heaven or Mother of God, or pray to her, but obey her command to do whatever her Son, Jesus, tells us to do.

Mary has supposedly appeared to many people and given them commands.  Perhaps her most well known appearances are the ones at Guadalupe, Mexico, in 1531, at Lourdes, France, in 1858, and at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, but there have been many more.  You can learn about some of them here: marypages.com.  Are these really appearances of Mary or is there some other explanation?  Before you decide I suggest that you read this: Queen of All.  Notice what is said on page 11.

Testing the Spirits Those who are familiar with the Word of God know that we are to be cautious when dealing with alleged heavenly visitors. The apostle John reminds us: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1).

The apostle Paul adds this warning: “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15). Furthermore, the New Testament repeatedly warns of deception, in the name of Christ, in the last days. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24). Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1).

The principal way to test these reported “Messengers From Heaven” is to test their messages with the Bible. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

What do you suppose Mary thinks of these attempts to honor her in ways that contradict the Bible?  Jack Chick wrote a tract in which he speculated about what her response might be.

Why Is Mary Crying?

I don’t agree with everything Jack Chick says, and I even disagree with some of the statements in this tract, but I believe it gives a good idea of how Mary feels about some of the ways we “honor” her.

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Posted on June 13, 2016, in Bible study and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Honoring Mary.

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