|During this Christmas season, how should we deal with Mary, the mother of Jesus? Should she be worshiped or respected? Adored or ignored? Magnified or belittled?
For a fresh, fascinating, and biblical viewpoint, I was delighted to interview on Christ in Prophecy Pastor Glenn Meredith of the Brookhaven Church located in McKinney, Texas. Glenn is one of the most anointed and gifted preachers I have ever encountered, and so I am sure you will be challenged by the answers he gave to these questions concerning the adoration of Mary.
Why has Mary been so ignored in the the Protestant world?
Glenn Meredith: Those of us who have grown up as Evangelical Protestant Christians have seen what we would perceive as the abuse and overemphasis of Mary by the Catholic Church and other denominations. But, I also think that too often times we Protestants have underemphasized her importance as well. It is to our detriment, because Mary is an incredible woman of God and is a person who should be honored. As the Bible says, we should give honor to whom honor is due. We have failed in that regard.
Dr. Reagan: In fact, Mary is one of the few people in the Word of God who is referred to as a righteous person. The Bible also refers to people like Noah and Job as being righteous. Cornelius is referred to as a righteous person, even though he was lost and needed a Savior. Mary stands out in the Bible as one of the very few referred to in that way.
Glenn Meredith: Protestants have overreacted to Catholics placing too high an emphasis on Mary and so have missed what an incredible example of faith she portrayed. She was a person who yielded to the Lord. Mary exhibited a person who walks by faith. She lived out what God can do with a person who is willing to obey the Lord. And, Mary was a young person who really knew the Word of God.
Dr. Reagan: Most people are not aware of the fact that at the time that Mary lived, the age of marriage was around 13 years old or so. As soon as a girl went through puberty in that culture, she was considered at an eligible age for marriage. She would have been a young woman at the time the Nativity story took place. Despite her youth, Mary demonstrated incredible faith.
Glenn Meredith: Yes, Mary’s obedient response to God stands out as an incredible example for us all to emulate.
Should Protestants place more of an emphasis on Mary?
Dr. Reagan: The cover of the March 2005 edition of Time magazine reads, “Hail, Mary! Catholics have long revered her, but now Protestants are finding their own reasons to celebrate the mother of Jesus.” What are some reasons why we as Protestants should be putting some emphasis on Mary?
Glenn Meredith: For one, Mary is a wonderful example of a person who makes their life available to Jesus Christ. She was willing to trust His plan for her life, as should we. Maybe someone struggles with whether or not they can trust God with their life. They may already have a plan for their life, and they’ve got their own dreams, along with their own direction they want to travel. And yet, they know God wants them to travel along another direction, and are struggling with that reality. Well, Mary is a phenomenal example of a person who entrusts themselves to the Lord and looks openly to learn what God will do through her life.
Dr. Reagan: What a tremendous trust Mary demonstrated! Here’s a girl who’s probably 13-14 years old. She is legally married under the Jewish system, being betrothed, and that was considered to be legally binding, although the marriage wouldn’t be consummated for some nine months. A waiting period had to be endured before the betrothed could actually have sexual relations with her husband.
So, here’s this young girl who is approached by an angel, and he tells her that she is going to become the mother of the Messiah. Mary learns she is going to become pregnant. She must know immediately what that would mean in her First Century society. Total disgrace! Mary could be stoned to death as an adulteress. And yet, she says basically, “Here am I. Do with me as you please.”
Glenn Meredith: During this betrothal period, Mary had been diligently preparing for that day when she finally moves in and lives with Joseph. She’s making her plans, as any young bride would do. She is excited, no doubt, about her future. She believes her life is all mapped out. She thinks she’s going to live in Nazareth, raise a family, and so forth. And then, all of a sudden, the angel shows up and everything drastically changes for her. The angel tells her she’s going to birth the Messiah. The Messiah! Young Mary suddenly is faced with a very difficult decision. To go through this would most certainly mean she was going to perhaps lose Joseph, her reputation, and her security for the future. Her family could even disown her. Joseph could legally kill her even.
And yet, as young as Mary was — 13-14 years old — her response was absolutely amazing! In Luke 1:38 she says, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.”
Wow! What a contrast between her response to how Zacharias had responded just six months or so beforehand when he responded in disbelief. This young girl responds in tremendous faith. Mary stands out as a wonderful example of trust in the Lord. She says in Luke 1:38, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
Once Mary has placed her trust in God, we then witness throughout the Gospels how beautifully God begins to work through her life. To me, Mary is such an encouragement.
How can mankind be reconciled with God?
Dr. Reagan: The Bible tells us that all of us have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). That means everyone needs to be reconciled to God our Creator.
Glenn Meredith: An angel revealed to Joseph that he would call the baby’s name Jesus, for He would save His people from their sins. A heavenly host of angels later appeared to the local shepherds and they shouted, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:8-20). This Savior will save His people from their sins.
Because of that great sacrifice of Jesus the Savior on the cross, today if you would admit that you are a sinner and that you need salvation, then you will be rescued from the penalty of your sins, which is eternal death. The Bible has declared to us that the only Savior is Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for your sins, was buried in a tomb, and three days later rose again from the dead, all so that you may be saved from your sins. The Bible tells us that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
So, if you have faith, then today cry out to Jesus Christ and pray, “Dear, Lord Jesus, please save me from my sins and be my Lord and Savior.” And Jesus will do just that.
For the full interview, watch Christ in Prophecy!