I have a couple of honest questions about Mary which I’m hoping someone can help me with:
It seems to me that if Mary was immaculately conceived and lived a sinless life, then for her, anyway, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross would have been unnecessary for her salvation. If God wanted to simply create a new and sinless humanity apart from Christ (as He is said to have done in Mary), then why would He choose the painful and torturous road of the cross to effect our salvation?
In the gospels, there are two accounts where it seems that people were attempting to venerate Mary. In both instances, Jesus seeks to change their understanding - it is not the physical relationship to Jesus that makes one blessed, but rather obedience to the will of the Father. Here are the two passages to which I am referring:
Luke 11:27-28 (NIV)
27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
%between%Matthew 12:47-50 (NASB95)
47 Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” 48 But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! 50 “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
I understand that in giving her assent to Jesus’ conception, Mary was a perfect illustration of obedience to the Father, however, the point the Jesus seems to me to be making is that we should not consider Mary as being above others, but rather one of many who glorify the Father by her obedience. Why does the Catholic Church venerate Mary to the point of elevating her above all of the apostles and all other saints who have ever lived?
As a seeking protestant, I would have to say that these are fairly big questions for me. Can anyone help?