Growing up Catholic, there were pictures of the Virgin Mary everywhere. I had bookmarks, and there were statues and pictures. We even had a fake “Pieta” — the classic Michelangelo sculpture of Mary holding the body of Jesus. Mom later made a grotto in her yard in Puerto Rico for a statue of Mary.
Before I get into everything that’s wrong with how the Catholic Church venerates or worships Mary, I want to present the biblical truth about her.
The Old Testament Prophet
Mary isn’t mentioned by name in the Old Testament at all. What we do have is the prophet Isaiah’s prediction of the savior’s birth. It’s a passage we hear a lot at Christmastime.
Isaiah was speaking to King Ahaz of Judah (this was when there was 2 kingdoms), trying to calm him down. Ahaz was worried about an invasion from Syria and Israel and he wasn’t paying attention to what Isaiah was telling him….
13 Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? 14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin [or young woman] will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).Isaiah 7:13-14 NLT
So, let’s set the stage — and you can read this in Luke 1.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. 7 They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.Luke 1:6-7 NLT
We have the Old Priest Zechariah who is told by the angel, Gabriel, that his wife, Elizabeth, will conceive a son in her old age, who will proclaim the coming of the savior. That’s John the Baptist. Here’s where Mary’s story starts because Elizabeth was her cousin…
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.”
38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise
46 Mary responded,
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! [She admits she needs a savior!]
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed. [happy]
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
52 He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
54 He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
55 For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.Luke 1:26-56 NLT
Next, Joseph’s Dream
Mary was engaged to Joseph and now she’s pregnant — and not by Joseph! He’s got a problem! Should he break the engagement?
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.Matthew 1:20-25 NLT
Look at that! Joseph did not have marital relations with his wife until after Jesus was born. Mary had other children. We see in the Gospels and some epistles reference to Jesus’ brothers and sisters.
Jesus had Blood Brothers and Sisters
3 Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.Mark 6:3 NLT
After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. 2 But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, 3 and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! 4 You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” 5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.John 7:1-5 NLT
31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him. They stood outside and sent word for him to come out and talk with them. 32 There was a crowd sitting around Jesus, and someone said, “Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you.”
33 Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 34 Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. 35 Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”Mark 3:31-35 NLT
Jesus puts His mother and brothers in the same level as His followers.
The Wedding in Cana
In John 2 is the story of Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine. His mother, Mary, was there and may very well have been the wedding planner. I go into more detail about this in this past podcast…
12 After the wedding he went to Capernaum for a few days with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples.John 2:12 NLT
At the Cross
25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.John 19:25-27 NLT
Interesting that Jesus doesn’t address her as “Mother”.
After the Resurrection
After Jesus ascended to heaven…
14 They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.Acts 1:14 NLT
There were about 120 believers until Pentecost.
Paul refers to Jesus’ brothers twice…
5 Don’t we have the right to bring a believing wife with us as the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers do, and as Peter does?1 Corinthians 9:5 NLT
19 The only other apostle I met at that time was James, the Lord’s brother.Galatians 1:19 NLT
James and Jude
This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.James 1:1 NLT
This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.Jude 1 NLT
Neither of them take advantage of the name-dropping clout as they could have.
They were all considered saints. However, the saints of the Bible were just believers…
Well, there you have it — Mary, the Mother of Jesus — her biography as it appears in the New Testament. Anything else is FALSE TEACHINGS! Venerating anyone else besides Jesus Christ is idolatry! In the next few posts I’ll be uncovering the truth about when and where the Roman Catholic Church started putting Mary above Jesus. I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to recognize the truth.
Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone!
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven and that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and my life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I surrender my whole life to you and I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…
- Start reading the Bible daily. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great daily devotionals and Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!
Jesus Christ is coming back soon! Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!