Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a remarkable – and too often ignored – person in Biblical history.
Think about the people whose stories shape the history of redemption. The Hall of Fame of Faith found in Hebrews 11 includes a long list of men and women who, by faith, were part of God’s plan to rescue humanity.
The list includes Noah, the drunkard. Abraham, the liar. Sarah, the manipulator. Isaac, who followed in his father’s sinful footsteps. Jacob the deceiver. There’s Moses the murderer. And Rahab, the harlot. And… well, you get the picture right? People of great faith with feet of great clay!
But what about Mary, the mother of Jesus? Her faith is inspiring. When God disrupted her life with what would have been humiliating and devastating news for a teenage girl, she responded with the simple statement “I am a servant of the Lord.” Indeed, remarkable.
While the failings of other Bible characters are stark, the Bible only hints at Mary’s failings. When she and her children came to see Jesus, and He responded by saying “Who is my mother? And who are my brothers?” we get a hint that even Mary may have had doubts about her son’s mission.
Why this reflection on Mary? And how is this connected to the Protestant Reformation?
It’s because of the reformation slogan Solus Christus. Christ alone.
By the early 1500’s, the monotheistic Christian faith had begun to sprout some polytheistic tentacles. While the church still affirmed the Nicene creed, the practice of the church was making suspect its “one God” profession.
Men and women from church history were elevated to saintly status by the Pope, and people began bringing their intercessions to the saints instead of the “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). The Pope himself bore (and still bares) the title “The Vicar of Christ.” In that role, he is seen as the representative of Christ on earth, vested with the same power and authority as Jesus Himself.
But above the Pope or any of the saints, the church had come to extend Mary’s role in redemptive history to a wholly unbiblical place. The Roman Catholic Church gave her the titles of “Co-Redemptrix” and “Mediatrix.” As the mother of Jesus, they said, she plays a vital role in the redemption of mankind and in the ongoing mediatorial work of her Son. Catholics often pray to Mary, believing that she has special influence over her Son.
We should acknowledge here that this theological overreach on the role of Mary in our redemption has led many Protestants to undervalue or even ignore this amazing woman, chosen by God for the honor of being the mother of the Messiah. There is much we can learn from Mary’s life and her example. She is, as the angel Gabriel declared, “highly favored.” She deserves more honor than most of us afford her. This teaching series from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is a good place to start a study of the life of Mary.
But one of the hallmarks of the Protestant Reformation was the return of Jesus to His rightful place. He is our only Mediator. He alone is our High Priest. His death alone was what brought salvation to fallen men and women. Our faith is in Christ alone.
In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
The RSP team spent last Saturday getting our church property on David O Dodd ready for the upcoming church picnic. I’m told a hornet’s nest was discovered and has been eliminated!
Scroll down here for info about the picnic: