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How Should Christians View Mary, Jesus’ Mother?

The Bible doesn’t offer us much information about Mary, but her role in God’s redemptive plan was unique.

Luke 1:26-56 records Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel and her visit with her relative Elizabeth. In chapter 2, we see her pondering everything that has happened in connection with her son’s birth. In the same chapter, Mary gently rebuked 12-year-old Jesus for causing Joseph and her much concern by remaining behind in the Jerusalem temple instead of joining the caravan back to Nazareth ( Luke 2:41-49 ).

Mary is mentioned again at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee when Jesus performed His first public miracle ( John 2:1-12 ). She appears a few times after this in connection with our Lord’s brothers and sisters( Matthew 13:54-58 ; Mark 3:31-35; 6:1-6 ). When Jesus hung on the cross, He looked down and tenderly said, “Dear woman, here is your son!” ( John 19:26 ), assigning her to the care of the apostle John. The last mention of her is found in Acts 1:14 , where she is referred to as “Mary the mother of Jesus.”

Mary was a remarkable person. The angel who came to Mary with the announcement that she would bear the Son of God said that she had “found favor with God” ( Luke 1:30 ). God honored her above all other women by choosing her to become the virgin mother of the Messiah. However, the biblical accounts do not emphasize her role as the mother of Jesus. In fact, nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus even call her “mother.”

Although the Gospels portray her motherly concern, they clearly show her subordination to her son. In John 2:4 , Jesus called her “woman” (which wasn’t as harsh an expression in Greek as it would be in modern English), apparently to gently show her that His relationship to her as Savior must take precedence over that of son.

The Bible nowhere implies that she was born without sin. In fact, she herself recognized her need of a Savior ( Luke 1:47 ). She was qualified to give birth to the sinless Son of God because God chose her and miraculously caused her to conceive by the “overshadowing” of the Holy Spirit( Luke 1:35 ). While it is right to honor her as the mother of Jesus Christ, there are no biblical grounds for placing her in a position of mediation between ourselves and our Lord. The Scriptures declare:

There is one God and one Mediator between God and men,the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).

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