Questions: What about Mary the mother of Jesus?


Today we continue our summer sermon series of “Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask.”  It’s a time when you get to ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask about something from the Bible, or about God or faith, or about life in general.  And then during the sermon time, we look at one of those questions in the light of God’s Word.Mary & baby Jesus

And the question we are considering today is about Mary.  Now there are several Mary’s in the New Testament and sometimes we can get them mixed up.  Mary, or Miriam as it would have been in Hebrew, was a very common name among Jews in Palestine at that time.  But the Mary we are looking at today is Mary the mother of Jesus.   And here is the question about her:  “Jesus’ treatment of his ‘mother and brothers’ when the come to talk to him (cf. Matthew 12:46) and his words to Mary at the Cana wedding seem harsh and terse.  I feel He wasn’t very kind to them then.  Of course He made provision for her care by assigning John to her at the crucifixion.  Yet the Roman and Orthodox churches honour Mary to the point of veneration.  How would you describe Jesus’ attitude toward Mary, and what should our attitude be?”

Let’s begin by asking ourselves, “What do we know about Mary?”  She was a woman from Nazareth, a town in the north of Palestine that was looked down upon with disdain.   In fact they used to say, “Nazareth, can anything good come from there?”

Mary was likely, along with Joseph, her future husband, very poor.  Forty days after Jesus was born, when the time came to go to the temple and give a sacrifice for Mary’s purification, they could only afford to give two pigeons for the sacrifice, when a lamb and a pigeon was normally given for such a sacrifice.

And Mary was young, probably only about 13 or 14 years old when she was betrothed to Joseph  In those times, that was the usual age for young women to become betrothed.  Betrothal was stage one of the two stage marriage process.  It is kind of like getting engaged except that the bride and the groom were legally bound to one another and this covenant could only be broken by divorce.   They were committed to each other, but not living together and they were chaste.  Only when the groom had a home built for his bride would he come for his bride, initiating stage two of the marriage process,  which is the wedding, and then, and only then, would their marriage relationship be consummated and they would begin their life together as a single family unit—one flesh as the Bible describes it.

According to the world’s standards, there wasn’t much significance in the life of Mary.  Not much there to attract your attention.  Just a poor, young girl from the backwater town of Nazareth.  And yet God looked at one that the world saw as insignificant, and chose her to bear the Saviour of the whole world.

While Mary was betrothed to Joseph, the angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her that she would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and become pregnant.  She would give birth to a son whom she will name Jesus.  Gabriel also said, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32-33)

Now for Mary to agree to be used by God in this way was a very risky thing for her.  We look back in time with the advantage of knowing how it all works out in the end and it is easy for us to assume that things were all sweetness and light for Mary.  But it wasn’t really that way for her.  For Mary to agree to become pregnant before her wedding day would mean that she would be a disgrace both to Joseph and his family and to her own.  The marriage was likely to be called off, and being an unwed mother in those days would offer little hope that any other man would have her for his wife.  Saying yes to God risked economic and social ruin for Mary and it could cost Mary her life.  Becoming pregnant before her wedding point would indicate to others that she had committed adultery and the penalty for that was death.  And yet, in spite of all the risks and all the dangers, Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.” (cf. Luke 1:38) So we know that Mary was a woman of faith.

And Joseph came through for Mary and married her even though she was pregnant.  And they had their little baby in Bethlehem. And there were angels singing over the baby and shepherds worshipping the baby and Wise Men bringing gifts for the baby. And all of these amazing events indicated that Mary’s son Jesus was exactly what the angel Gabriel had said he would be: “the Son of the Most High.”  And Mary treasured up all these things in her heart (cf. Luke 2:51b).

But life as Jesus’ mother was not always joyful for Mary.  When Jesus was presented at the temple forty days after he was born, Simeon spoke these words of prophecy over Jesus and to Mary, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34b-35)

And one of the things that must have been hard for Mary was the way that her relationship with Jesus changed when he began his ministry.  For we have these curious incidents that cause us to ask “What was Jesus’ attitude towards Mary?”  Shortly after Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, Jesus and the five disciples he had chosen so far joined Mary and other family relatives at a wedding in Cana.  Wedding celebrations in those days usually lasted for a week, and to run out of wine in the middle of the celebrations was a major social faux pas and a huge embarrassment for the family.  Perhaps Mary is involved with organizing the feast, or maybe it is because the wine is stored near the women’s tent.  In any case, Mary gets advance notice that the wine is running out.  Joseph is no longer mentioned in the Scripture narrative.  Perhaps he stayed home.  Maybe he has already passed away by this point in time.  And in the absence of her husband Mary goes to her oldest son, as would be natural for her to do, and tells him what is happening.  And then Jesus addresses her as “Woman” instead of “mother” and he says “what is this to me and to you?”  This could be a hostile rebuke, but it is more likely a statement of disengagement, for, as Jesus says, “My hour has not yet come.”  For Jesus, that hour would come when Jesus was lifted up on the cross, and any miraculous intervention by Jesus in human affairs would begin the process of moving towards that cross.  From this point forward, Jesus would no longer be living his life according to who his earthly parents were, he would be living his life according to who his heavenly Father was and according to the mission his heavenly Father had given him.  And so some distance grew between Mary and her firstborn son.  And yet, Mary again responds in faith, saying to the servants at the wedding, “Do whatever he tells you.”  And Jesus changes water into wine so the wedding celebration can continue.

Later in Jesus’ ministry, Mary and her sons go and find Jesus to take him home.  They know Jesus is in great danger because he has been upsetting the religious leaders with his teaching and they want to get to him before the religious authorities do.  No one in their right mind would tweak the noses of the scribes and Pharisees like Jesus has done.

And yet, when Mary and her other sons come to the house where Jesus is teaching inside, and he is told that they are outside waiting to see him, Jesus doesn’t even go out to greet them.  He asks the rhetorical question, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  Then, referring to those gathered around him, he says, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother!”  (Mark 3:34-35) It’s is a very unusual thing to say, especially in an Eastern culture with its strong emphasis on family ties.  But Jesus’ point is that now his mission is more important than his family of origin, and anyone who is with him on this mission from God is now his family.

But the sharpest point of all for Mary must have the sword that pierced her soul as she watched her son hang naked, dying an agonizing death on the cross.  Jesus’ attitude towards Mary was always one of love, even though their relationship changed over time.  And as he hung on the cross he looked at his mother and his disciple, John, and said, “Woman, behold your son! And to John he said, “Behold, your mother!” And John took Mary into his own home and cared for her from then on (cf. John 19:26-27)

Mary was a woman of faith.  And perhaps after the resurrection she understood more fully what before she only accepted and believed by faith.  Maybe now it made more sense to her why things had to be the way that they were.  We don’t know what was going on in Mary’s mind and heart.  But we do know that after Jesus ascended into heaven she was part of that small group of believers huddled together in prayer in Jerusalem waiting for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit.

There are additional teachings about Mary in the Christian church.  In the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches it is believed that Mary’s body was taken up into heaven when she died.  The Roman Catholic church also teaches that Mary was conceived without sin and lived a sinless life.  And it is also taught in Roman Catholic churches that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life, not just before Jesus was born.

Because the Protestant Reformation was a movement that went back to the original sources, that is, the Scriptures, for the basics regarding what is to be believed and taught, and because there isn’t support for these teachings in the Scriptures, Protestants, generally speaking, do not support these additional teachings about Mary.  Nor do they agree with the veneration given to Mary in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

So what should our attitude be towards Mary?  We believe that Mary was a woman who was blessed by God and who found favour with God, but that she was a sinner in need of a Saviour just like all the rest of us.  But we can be thankful to God for what he has done through Mary.

And we can look at Mary and see an example of what it means to follow God in faith wherever he leads us.  There are times in our lives when we experience a faith crisis. There are moments when everything in us that longs to be “normal” strongly objects to following Jesus because we have a hint of the danger to come.  There are moments when following Jesus means taking a risk of losing our friends, losing our money, or losing a close relationship with someone we love.  And being the imperfect, broken people that we are, we tend to forget about our faith in those moments when it becomes difficult for us to follow God.  But in those moments, we can remember Mary, that poor, young girl, who said “yes!” to God when she was barely a teenager.  And she said “Yes!” to God throughout her whole life, even when it was hard, even when it was painful, even when a sword was piercing her own soul.  And all of us are blessed because of Mary.  Because Mary carried Jesus in her womb for nine months, and nursed him, and changed him and cared for him as he grew up, you and I get to have a Saviour who gives us hope and courage and forgiveness and life and peace.  And that makes all the difference for us in the world.

So imagine what it would be like if all of us could be like Mary.  Imagine what it would be like if the people in this room could say, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  (Luke 1:38)  What kind of a difference could we in our homes and in our neighbourhoods if we said “Yes!” to God in the way that Mary did.  Imagine what an impact we could have if everyone in this faith community said, “Yes!” to God like Mary did.  Imagine what it would be like if the people of Walnut Grove no longer hoarded their wealth because they knew that they have a Father in heaven who loves them and will always provide what they need for life.  Imagine what it would be like all the people of Surrey and Langley and Abbotsford were no longer burdened down by their guilt and shame and no longer worried about dying because they knew that they have a Saviour who loves them and will take away all of their sin and guilt and shame and give them a life with him that will last forever.  Imagine what it would be like if every person in the Lower Mainland was no longer afraid because they knew that the Holy Spirit loves them and lives within them and will give them all of the courage and wisdom and direction that they need to face whatever challenges they will face.  Imagine what that would be like!  That would be a far different world from the one we live in right now.  But with God’s help, things can  be different.  And it begins right now, with each of saying “Yes!” to God.God works in the small and insignificant things of this world to do great things. May he do so among us again today.

As we close our message time in prayer today, would you say these words of Mary together with me?  And may these words not only be our prayer to God, may they also be our song of praise to God.

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 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. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful  to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” (Luke 1:46b-55)

(This message was shared at Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC on 23 August 2009.)

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About James Paulgaard

Living in the in between, becoming, but not quite there yet, old and new mixed together, hanging on with all my might to the One who is holding onto me.
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29 Responses to Questions: What about Mary the mother of Jesus?

  1. oruaseht says:

    Regarding St. Mary the Holy Theotokos:

    St. Justin says, ” Eve, being a virgin and incorrupt, having conceived the word from the Serpent, bore disobedience and death; but Mary the Virgin, receiving faith and joy, when Gabriel the Angel evangelized her, answered, ” Be it unto me according to thy word.”

    And Tertullian says that, whereas Eve believed the Serpent, and Mary believed Gabriel, “what Eve failed in believing, Mary by believing hath blotted out.”

    St. Irenaeus speaks more explicitly: “As Eve,” he says, “was seduced by the Angel’s speech so as to flee God, having transgressed His word, so also Mary by an Angel’s speech was evangelized so as to contain God, being obedient to His Word. And as the one was seduced to flee God, so the other was persuaded to obey God, that the Virgin Mary might become the Advocate (Paraclete) of the Virgin Eve, that as mankind has been bound to death through a Virgin, through a Virgin it may be saved,—virginal disobedience by virginal obedience, the balance being made equal.”

    And elsewhere, “As Eve, becoming disobedient, became the cause of death to herself and to all mankind, so Mary too, having the predestined Man, and yet a Virgin, being obedient, became cause of salvation both to herself and to all mankind . . . The knot formed by Eve’s disobedience was untied through the obedience of Mary; for what the Virgin Eve tied through unbelief, the Virgin Mary unties through faith.”

    These are very early Saints writing just after the Apostolic era. Let us attend! Just as Christ is the Second Adam, St. Mary is the Second Eve. Mind blowing, isn’t it???

    • James Paulgaard says:

      It is mind blowing! The question I have in my mind is how far does the similiarity between Jesus and Mary go? Does it go as far as saying that Mary’s “Yes!” to God made it possible for God to use her in a major way to bring into the world the One who would save the world? Or does the similarity between Jesus and Mary go further and say that Mary’s “Yes!” to God helped to save the world? I believe that there is an important distinction there.

  2. oruaseht says:

    One other thing I was thinking about is that Jesus Christ our crucified and risen Savior probably *looks* like Mary. He has her DNA after all. How cool is that?!

  3. looseassociations says:

    AMEN. May we be bold in our Lord; low in our own self-estimation.

    I will not presume to read “oruaseht”‘s mind here; but i must express my concern with some Christian views.

    I’ve heard the idea that Jesus had a biological “mother” on the earth but not father. This is silliness. Just as Jesus could not possibly come from the sperm of Joseph, so He could not come from the egg of Mary… either way, He would be defiled by the sin of Adam.

    He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, meaning He was placed as a ZYGOTE within the womb of a virgin. Joseph and Mary were EQUALLY His earthly parents, having stewardship over His childhood growth and education. Mary was no more mother than Joseph was father. That her womb was used does not mean her egg was used. the “DNA” question is likely unprofitable to investigate, but if we’re going there, i see no reason that He would *look* like Mary any more than He would like Joseph.

    God with us.

  4. If Mary’s egg wasn’t used, what was the whole point of being from the house and lineage of David? Did God re-create humanity in this zygote, or did he redeem it?

  5. looseassociations says:

    note that joseph’s lineage is equally important in the gospels as mary’s. one gospel shows joseph’s, another shows mary’s.

    Jesus, Son of Man, was a New Adam… re-create… not born of flesh. the First Adam was born without sin, and did not have DNA parents; neither did Christ.

    whether Jesus had genetic characteristics of His earthy parents is neither here nor there. the important matter is, He wasn’t formed of flesh. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and placed in the womb of a virgin so that He could grow as a human.

    He had to be spotless… Mary’s lineage was full of sinners; you know that as well as I.

    • James Paulgaard says:

      Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this vigorous discussion. Perhaps it would be helpful to take a look at the creedal statement that the ancient Christian Church developed as it wrestled with this same question. “For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man; God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of the substance of his mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching his Godhead and inferior to the Father as touching his manhood; Who, although he is God and man, yet he is not two but one Christ:” (from the Athanasian Creed)

  6. looseassociations says:

    hmm, “substance of His mother” as per placental blood and other fluids.

    not genes… these very genes that made her born under the condemnation of adam and requiring a Savior in the first place.

    if an egg of mary’s had been fertilized, she wouldn’t really be a virgin, would she?

    • Didn’t God (or his angel) purify Isaiah’s lips?

      I realize God could raise up stones who were sons of Abraham, which might imply that you’re right, but to say something is definite or definitely not without scriptural support seems to be putting words in God’s mouth.

      The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Thank God he did.

      • looseassociations says:

        so isaiah didn’t require salvation thru Christ because an angel purified his lips? mary found some other way?

        Jesus taught He’s the only Way… there is no other way. isaiah’s lips were purified so that He could speak the truth. but you know full well that all 40-odd authors of the Bible were sinners requiring Christ every bit as much as you and i.

        you don’t believe in original sin?

        1 Corinthians 15:22
        For as in Adam all die

        where would we be if Christ was under this curse via mary’s egg?

        Jesus was flesh, but it’s disgusting to think that He would be formed of corruptible egg. Our spotless Lamb??? no, He was as the first Adam… He could look His Father straight in the eye– no guilt, no shame, no sin, and no curse from His earthly parents’ sin.

        1 Cor 15:47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.

        Jesus wasn’t even stained by a speck of dust. Where would we be?

        And please do explain why a virgin birth was necessary; add to that explanation how it is that the seed of a woman is “clean” while the seed of Joseph is filthy and sin-stained?

  7. looseassocations:

    Wow, that was a lot of assumption from my little comment.

    “I was born an original sinner, I was born in original sin.” Seriously, though. Not everyone who says “this is my body” believes in transubstantiation.

    Scripture simply does not say whether God fully delivered a zygote, whether he took an egg from Mary and completed it, or what exactly he did when Mary became pregnant through the Word of God.

    Some mysteries should remain mysteries.

    As long as we are speculating, consider that God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin (2 Cor 5:21). Could not God do the reverse to Mary’s egg?

    For the record, I have not said the following:
    1. That I do not believe in original sin.
    2. That Isaiah was outside the curse.
    3. That Mary was outside the curse.
    4. That the seed of a virgin is clean.

    I’m inclined to go with Mary’s egg (but not ruling out the zygote hypothesis) because it makes a better Atonement angle. Christ became man, one of us (though without sin), to redeem us. He pays our debt and receives God’s justice and wrath due for us. Making a new man separate from God’s chosen people sounds like a debt is being paid with a whole new currency, like trying to pay my US-dollar mortgage in British pounds. Now God is God, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, so he can do whatever he wants, where he wants, when he wants. This detail about how the Christ child was formed, God saw fit not to tell us, and I’m happy to leave it at that.

  8. looseassociations says:

    excellent dan,
    then leave it at that.
    (wasn’t your stance in the sep 2 9:22 post).
    take care.

  9. oruaseht says:

    “That which was not assumed is not healed; but that which is united to God is saved” ~ St. Gregory Nazianzus

    If Christ did not assume complete humanity from Mary, then we have no hope, for the Incarnation would be a sham.

    Regarding Mary’s “yes” – it was voluntary. Otherwise it would be forced intimacy. What is forced intimacy but rape? Her yes was pure faith.

  10. paul says:

    hi oruaseht,

    so if Jesus required a woman’s egg to be human, that means Adam wasn’t human. the Holy Spirit conceived a living zygote in the womb of a virgin– a New Adam– a New Creation. this is analogous to our new, reborn Jacob nature, when our Lord says “we must be born again.”

    i didn’t understand what you said about “yes” and “rape”.

    take care,
    paul

    • oruaseht says:

      paul – what passage in the Scriptures or what Church Father comments about the living Zygote?

      • looseassociations says:

        hi oruaseht,

        matt 1:21 “[…]do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived [ greek ‘gennao’: conceived, generated, produced ] in her is by the Holy Spirit[…]”.

        after conception, the mother is already pregnant, we know this. Mary was pregnant with a child created by the Holy Spirit. no eggs or sperms involved. i used the word “zygote”… i could be wrong… the unborn Child may have been in a more advanced state than zygote, but certainly no less!

        question for you: what passage in the Scripture comments on “Church Father(s)”? i’ve not heard of it. sounds like a Roman Catholic invention to me, but do correct me if i misunderstand.

        may the Spirit guide us into all truth and wisdom, into scripture, and into all knowledge that is practical or necessary.

        take care,
        paul

        [scriptures above quoted from the Robert Mounce NT translation]

  11. oruaseht says:

    The Church Fathers are the previous Christians before us. Many of them were contemporaries of the Apostles. They have left us a wealth of Christian spirituality and theology. Rome didn’t “invent” the Church Fathers. They were real people who prayed and studied the Scriptures more than you and I could ever hope to. As such, looking to ancient Chrisitan theology and practice is a good thing and an extension of Tradition. As St. Paul says: “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter” 2Thess 2:15.

    Christ was indeed conceived by the Holy Spirit, as the Scriptures and the Creed testify. However, He assumed our completely human nature from Mary and her human egg. If He didn’t, as I mentioned before, the incarnation (enfleshment of God) would be a total sham and the Scriptures would be wrong that say “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus wouldn’t be human. If He isn’t fully human and fully Divine, He is not the Savior of the world — this is the false teaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses today.

    The Scriptures do not say “how” this mystery takes place – just that it did for the life of the world. We would be wise to submit ourselves to the Word of God.

    • looseassociations says:

      Amen. Note that i have not denied the human nature of Christ, so let’s not talk about JWs. Let’s focus. That human nature may come from an egg and would not then equally come from a sperm is silly and ridiculous from a scientific or Christian point of view. What’s the fascination with female eggs? He assumed human nature because He was created human, even as Adam was… not because of anything to do with Mary’s egg. Mary remained a virgin even until Jesus’ birth. The significance of the female parent here, over the male, is that the female body has a womb wherein an unborn child develops. Don’t assume the importance of eggs because God put wombs in female bodies. That’s a disconnected leap. To arbitrarily connect Jesus’ humanity to the female genes exclusively is strange and requires some explanation. I don’t think it is correct to defend this idea; it is potentially misleading and distracts from the main point that while Christ was fully human, He did not inherit original sin. He was the first man since Adam who could stand without shame before God… He could look God in the eye and converse with God, because there was nothing defiling Him. Adam had this privilege for some time. You and I were not born with this privilege.
      If the scripture doesn’t say “how” this mystery takes place, and you admonish me to submit to the Word of God, then I submit to you that you might consider dropping your obsessive egg theory, that can lead to nothing but a snare at best.

  12. looseassociations says:

    i wish to articulate this more precisely:

    if Jesus’ humanity is proven by His connection to a mother’s egg…

    … yet it is our own connection to sperms and eggs that prove our inheritance of original sin…

    … then how is Jesus free of original sin, while yet human?

    if you respond to the question by saying that it’s a mystery and God is well able to make Him spotless despite the egg connection, then i ask, why could He not also be connected to a sperm?

    i.e., why was a virgin birth even required?

    Joseph and Mary could have married and had a spotless child by the miracle of God (and He is well able).

    but God chose the virgin birth. God doesn’t do things by accident.

    God chose the virgin birth SPECIFICALLY to remove Joseph’s sperm from the formula of Jesus’ conception.

    IF Joseph’s sperm cannot be in the formula, then Mary’s egg cannot either.

    that is the root of what has been disturbing me throughout this entire conversation. you are negating the significance of the virgin birth, which God has chosen to make significant.

  13. oruaseht says:

    Every heresy that has ever surfaced with regard to the person of Christ either fuses or separates the deity and the humanity of Christ. I feel that what you are proposing denies the full Humanity of Christ because it denies that He actually assumed human flesh from His mother.

    If Christ didn’t assume a fully human nature – which He did from Mary (Joseph’s sperm is outside of the picture because she was a virgin as Scripture says) – then the Incarnation is a sham. God only then “seemed” to become enfleshed which is the ancient heresy of the Docetists. That Christ was “created human” (to quote your language) is fully Arian/JW. Christ was begotten, not made.

    Here is the last part of St. Cyril’s letter to the heretic Nestorius: “[T]he holy virgin gave birth in the flesh to God united with the flesh according to hypostasis, for that reason we call her Theotokos… If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is, in truth, God, and therefore that the holy virgin is Theotokos (for she bore in a fleshly manner the Word from God become flesh), let him be anathema.”

    Your position stands outside that of the councils of the Historic Christian Church.

    • looseassociations says:

      you’re debating against me about something that i do not defend. (braggarts call this a “straw man” argument.) of course Jesus was God, and of course He was entirely human. if an egg is required to be human, then the first adam was not human. do you deny the humanity– the human flesh of adam? no… you deny the conception of the Holy Spirit, and that the new Adam (human) was created not like the rest of us, who are under the curse. He is spiritually begotten, humanly a newly created man. His human entry into this world was more comparable to Adam’s entry than it is to our entry; this doesn’t make Him less human!

      forgive me if i’m wrong, but i have a strange feeling that you aren’t seeking to discuss nor find truth with me, you are only seeking to be an opponent for that very sake alone. i’ve been guilty of this myself, so i forgive you if that’s what’s up.

      the fundamentals are:
      – Christ is God, Son of God, begotten of God
      – He was also incarnate as human flesh
      – we humans are born guilty sinners
      – Jesus was born an innocent man with no shame
      – He was born of a virgin

      anything there that we disagree on?

      beyond that, we’re not being practical nor profitable in our discussion. it is merely my OPINION that Mary remained a virgin after Jesus was born, and the Holy Spirit did not “fertilize” her egg like some stupid man with testicles. you know jolly well that a woman’s egg contains 50% of the genes that go to the child. it was you talking about “rape” above and how Mary was willing. consented to what? she had sex with the Holy Spirit? this is nutty, unprofitable, non-edifying, and possibly mockery of the Holy Spirit, which is treading on very thin ice.

      over. and may God help us all, and may we all kneel at the feet of our Lord and God in fear, trembling, and desperation; i have no reason to believe that you do not resonate with me there, so let’s enjoy the truth.

      yours,
      paul

  14. oruaseht says:

    [Christ] was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary ~ Apostles’ Creed. He is hence both fully Human (from Mary & her egg) and fully Divine (by the mystery of the Holy Spirit). I deny neither.

    An Archangel was sent from Heaven to address the Mother of God: “Hail!” Beholding You taking human flesh, Lord, he was in fear and stood in front of her crying with bodiless voice: “Hail, the one through whom joy will radiate. Hail, the one through whom the curse will come to an end. Hail, height unapproachable with human thoughts. Hail, depth unfathomable to angelic eyes. Hail, you who are the throne of God. Hail, you who bear the Bearer of all. Hail, star proceeding from the sun. Hail, you through whom creation is renewed. ”

    Seeking to understand a fathomless reason, the virgin cried to God’s messenger: “Tell me: How can a Son be born from a chaste womb?” He answered her with awe, saying, “Hail, treasure house of an entirely world-transcending Mystery. Hail, the faith of willing and complete submission. Hail, the beginning of Christ’s stupendous miracles. Hail, the font of His all-wise commandments. Hail, the heavenly ladder by which God descends. Hail, the celestial bridge leading the earth’s dwellers heavenward. Hail, the miracle with praises drawn from Angels. Hail, conquest with wailings rent from demons. Hail, you who gave birth to Light ineffably brought to fruition. Hail, you who disclosed not how or in what way. Hail, you who exceed the wisdom of the sages. Hail, you who enlighten the understanding of the faithful.”

    Hail, ever-virgin bride!

    Having received God in her womb, the virgin hastened to Elizabeth, whose child soon recognized her greeting, rejoiced, and with leaps of joy as with songs, cried to the Mother of God: “Hail, you who are the stem of the unfading Flower. Hail, who received the Fruit of immortality. Hail, you who bear the One Who cherishes the human race. Hail, you who are to give birth to the Planter of our Life. Hail, the field that grows the fruits of an unstinted bounty. Hail, the table that bears the abundance of purification. Hail, for you blossom forth with heavenly Food in plenty. Hail, for you prepare a Haven for souls. Hail, the pleasing incense of prayer and supplication. Hail, the glorious cleansing of the sin-soiled world. Hail, our God’s benevolence to the world of mortals. Hail, because mortals may now dare to aspire to God.”

    Hail, ever-virgin bride!

    The shepherds heard Angels singing praises of Christ’s coming in the flesh. They hastened to Him as to the Shepherd and saw Him as an unspotted Lamb brought forth from Mary’s womb; and praising her they said, “Hail, Mother of the Lamb and the Shepherd. Hail, pasture of rational sheep. Hail, torture of invisible enemies. Hail, opener of heavenly gates. Hail, because the heavenly beings rejoice together with the earth-born. Hail, because the earth’s children exult with the immortals. Hail, the never silent voice of the Apostles. Hail, the unconquered courage of the blessëd Martyrs. Hail, the firm assertion of faith. Hail, the shining knowledge of Grace. Hail, you by whom Hades was stripped bare. Hail, you through whom we are clothed with glory.”

    Hail, the tree bearing sweet Fruit, by Which the faithful are nourished. Hail, the tree spreading shade by which many are sheltered. Hail, you who bear in yourself the Deliverer of the imprisoned. Hail, you who bring forth the Loadstone of wandering. Hail, the propitiation of the most-righteous Judge. Hail, the remission of sins of many a sin-stained soul. Hail, the mantle of boldness flung about the naked. Hail, the love all-powerful, vanquishing all desires. ”

    Hail ever-virgin Bride!

    Hail the most-holy chariot of the One Who rests on the Cherubim. Hail, the most glorious dwelling of the One Who sits on the Seraphim. Hail, you who united the two opposing modes of being! Hail, you who joined in yourself the maiden with the mother. Hail, you through whom the bonds of sin were loosened forever. Hail, you through whom the gates of Paradise were opened. Hail, the key of Christ’s Reign.

  15. Carol Carter says:

    Where is THAT quoted from? It’s not the bible. The angel that appeared to Mary told her to “fear not”. The angel did not fear Mary. This weird reverence to another human being the Roman Catholic Church has is definitely NOT biblical. We’re not to worship creation, but only the CREATOR. We’re not to bow down to saints or, like many religions of the world, worship our fore fathers’ spirits.

    Somewhere in dissecting the story of the virgin birth, we have been trapped in our own interpretations. You need to read the bible end-to-end and understand what God wants for us and of us. Is this discussion honouring God and the purpose for Him sending His Son as a gift to take away the sins of the world?

    LET GO! Good grief! Stand upon the rock and quit worshiping statues, images and man’s ideas of human bodies long gone from this world. Worship the One True God – the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who was and is and ever shall be. These arguments over things that don’t matter are divisive and we are warned against them in the bible.

  16. Carol Carter says:

    Note, I was just referring to that very long quote from oruaseht.

    Let’s all pray for wisdom and discernment from the Holy Spirit and make sure our thoughts, words and deeds are to glorify God, and do not lead anyone, Christian or non-Christian, new Christian or seasoned, to conclusions God never intended. Let’s look at Jesus’ words, the prophecies about Him and the very convenant made to Adam, to Abraham, and the reason He spared us by sparing the family of Noah from the destruction of all mankind. Let’s appreciate our Redeemer and not mutate His grace and love into arguments over eggs and zygotes, and another human being God was gracious and abundant to – Mary. May God be gracious and abundant to each of us and may we be willing and worthy stewards of His purposes and gifts.

    I think that was what Pastor James was after when he wrote this blog, not divisiveness.

  17. oruaseht says:

    Carol – The aforementioned citation comes from the Orthodox Church – not Roman Catholic. Think of it as a sermon. When your pastor preaches on any given bible text, he uses stories, illustrations, paraphrases, etc. to expound on theological topics. This hymn about Jesus’ Mother is presented much in this same way.

    Orthodox Christians do not “worship” Mary. They call her blessed as the Bible says all people will. (For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed – LK 1:48). Most protestants ignore this passage about Mary. Part of appreciating our Redeemer is to appreciate that God uses His creation and people (like Mary, like your Pastor, like you) to bring about the salvation of the world. Respecting this, Orthodox Christians respect Mary. Bowing in Eastern cultures, is one of respect, not worship. The Bible (in Greek) makes reference to this distinction. We miss it in most English translations.

    As an aside, Orthodoxy doesn’t have statues. They have “iconography” 2-D representations that are considered “windows of heaven.” As God is indeed everywhere present – and where He is, we may also be. His Communion of Saints (the church) goes with Him. Iconography makes us aware of the living body of Christ “since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1).

  18. Beth says:

    Where did you get the picture of Mary with Child? It is beautiful! I’d like to make up some Prayer Cards and would love to use it but I need to find out if it is Royalty Free?

    Thanks and many blessings,

    Beth

  19. frankbee says:

    Eve, being a virgin and incorrupt, having conceived the word from the Serpent, bore disobedience and death; but Mary the Virgin, receiving faith and joy, when Gabriel the Angel evangelized her, answered, ” Be it unto me according to thy word.”

    And Tertullian says that, whereas Eve believed the Serpent, and Mary believed Gabriel, “what Eve failed in believing, Mary by believing hath blotted out.”

    St. Irenaeus speaks more explicitly: “As Eve,” he says, “was seduced by the Angel’s speech so as to flee God, having transgressed His word, so also Mary by an Angel’s speech was evangelized so as to contain God, being obedient to His Word. And as the one was seduced to flee God, so the other was persuaded to obey God, that the Virgin Mary might become the Advocate (Paraclete) of the Virgin Eve, that as mankind has been bound to death through a Virgin, through a Virgin it may be saved,—virginal disobedience by virginal obedience, the balance being made equal.”

    And elsewhere, “As Eve, becoming disobedient, became the cause of death to herself and to all mankind, so Mary too, having the predestined Man, and yet a Virgin, being obedient, became cause of salvation both to herself and to all mankind . . . The knot formed by Eve’s disobedience was untied through the obedience of Mary; for what the Virgin Eve tied through unbelief, the Virgin Mary unties through faith.”

  20. Pingback: Are You Prepared For The Coming Economic Disaster And World Famine? - Page 7 - Christian Forums

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