Why didn't Jesus venerate Mary when given the chance?


#1

I recently read a commentary on Mary by a baptist minister named John Piper.

“This is probably the place for a warning against an undue exaltation of Mary as morally unique. She is unique. No one else bore the Son of God. But the Roman Catholic doctrines of her sinless life, her perpetual virginity, her bodily assumption into heaven have no warrant in the New Testament. In fact, there is an implicit warning against excessive veneration of Mary in Luke 11:27–28. Luke tells us that once after Jesus had spoken “a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you sucked!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.’” At another time (recorded in Luke 8:19–21), “His mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him for the crowd. And he was told, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.’ But he said to them, 'My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”’ Jesus was fairly blunt in both of these instances, and there surely is no indication that Mary should be venerated in a moral class by herself.”

I’m not quite sure how to respond to this. Any ideas?


#2

Was Jesus a good jew?

Did Jesus honor His mother?

Are we to emulate Christ in everything?

Can we not honor His mother and recognize her exalted status and call her blessed?


#3

Since Mary not only heard the Word of God and acted on it, but she also kept Him and told others to do whatever He told them, she is most definitely blessed.

In fact, Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, says to Mary "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! (Luke 1:42).

John Piper’s sensitivities to perceived “excessive veneration” are understandable, but his commentary above does not successfully interact with the Catholic position.


#4

How is Jesus not honoring His mother here? Jesus’ words “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it” and “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” apply more perfectly to Mary than to any other creature. Jesus is not failing to honor Mary here, He is simply correcting other’s misunderstandings as to why mary is worthy of great honor; not only because she shares a blood kinship with Him and nursed Him as an infant, but because she unreservedly did God’s will. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word”.

Jesus’ words here also apply to us, for while we can not immitate Mary in becoming physically pregnant with the Word Incarnate, giving birth to Him and nursing Him, we can immitate her in hearing God’s word and keeping it (“she kept all these things in her heart”) and doing it (“do whatever he tells you”).


#5

[LIST=1]
*]The “first commandment with promise” says “Honor your father and your mother”.
*]Jesus was sinless.
*]Therefore, He honored His mother.[/LIST]
Or, if you prefer:
[LIST=1]
*]If Jesus ever sinned, He was not perfect.
*]If He was not perfect, then, there was no atoning sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.
*]If there was no atoning sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, then it necessarily follows that ; we (and everybody else in the world) are all:eek: :eek: going to hell.[/LIST]I think sometimes people just throw around arguments without checking to see if they follow through, logically & all…HTH!!


#6

You came to the right place. John Piper doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Read John 2 and see how Our Lord venerated His mother at the wedding feast at Cana. Notice that she interceded for the couple and actually talked the Lord into performing His first public miracle before it was really time.

Some people will try to tell you that when He said to her “Woman…” that it is a rebuke of some kind, but the fact is that that is a term of respect in that time in Israel.

There are several very good articles in the CA library that will really help you out with this. Here’s the link. and here are a list of some of the more relevant articles.
Immaculate Conception and Assumption
Mary: Ever Virgin (Fathers*)
Mary: Full of Grace (Fathers*)
Mary: Mother of God (Fathers*)
'Brethren of the Lord’
The Rosary

also check out…
CRI’s Attack on Mary: Part I (This Rock: August 1992)
CRI’s Attack on Mary: Part II (This Rock: September 1992)
CRI’s Attack on Mary: Part III (This Rock: October 1992)
CRI’s Attack on Mary: Part IV (This Rock: November 1992)
CRI’s Attack on Mary: Part V (This Rock: December 1992)
CRI’s Attack on Mary: Part VI (This Rock: January 1993)
**CRI’s Attack on Mary: Part VII (This Rock: February 1993)

** It’s all good and by the time you get through all of this, you’ll know more about the Blessed Virgin than most Catholics, so ROCK ON!


#7

I heard someone make the argument that, if Jesus is saying that Mary is not blessed, then He is contradicting the Holy Spirit’s revelation to Elizabeth. This, as we know, cannot happen.


#8

Regarding Luke 11:27-28, the word for rather in Greek is “menounge” (v.28) which means “yes, but in addition to” or “further.” Thus, Jesus is saying “Yes, my mother is blessed indeed, but further blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” Paul uses the same Greek word in Phil 3:7-8: “Indeed” I count everything as loss…In verse 8, menounge means “yes, in addition to the losses” Paul describes in verse 7. So this verse does nothing to diminish Mary.

I can’t figure out why some people try to diminish the Mother of God. They obviously don’t love Mary like Jesus loves Mary.

Peace,

Ryan :slight_smile:


#9

I would have to think that Jesus venerated and honored and perfectly obeyed Mary for 30 of his 33 years in private. He prepared for His public ministry in His life with her. Of course the honoring and obeying and venerating continued until His death and since Our Lady is His mother through all eternity and He made the commandment to honor thy father and mother, Jesus continues in His perfect honoring of His Mother through all eternity.

Blessed is she among women!

Ave Maria!


#10

Its not just Roman Catholics. Its Eastern and Oriental Orthodox and Catholics. Its the truly apostolic Churches that teach these things about Mary.

Does he think the folks who put together the bible missed its correct interpretation until he came along?


#11

This will take a few posts to get all my thoughts down, and will be a long read, but it should hopefully answer all your questions and concerns regarding the Marian doctrines.

In evangelical protestant circles, Mary is often described along the lines of, “Just some vessel that God used to bare the Savior.” Such a description not only is an insult to Mary, but it degrades all women, particularly mothers. There is a slippery slope of faulty premises that must be first agreed to, in order to arrive at what seems to be the typical evangelical Protestant view of Mary.

Catholics believe that of all women who have ever lived, are living, or ever will live, Mary was the one who was chosen, by God, before the foundation of the Earth, to be the blessed mother of the Savior. Protestants, by claiming she was, “just some vessel,” could not arrive at that conclusion without first thinking that God just randomly chose her, and that there was nothing about her that was special in God’s Eyes, merely that someone had to do it, so she won a random chance lottery, essentially. Doesn’t common sense and even a basic knowledge of God indicate that God would not leave such a crucial vocation to just any random woman?

Catholics believe that Mary was blessed among women, a belief that can be supported by Luke 1:28, and Luke 1:42. In Luke 1:48, Mary even says, “all ages to come shall call me blessed.” Luke 1:48 was a Biblical prophesy. In 2 Peter 1:20-21, St. Peter writes, “First you must understand this: there is no prophesy contained in Scripture which is a personal interpretation. Prophesy has never been put forward by man’s willing it. It is rather that men impelled by the Holy Spirit have spoken under God’s influence.” The masculine way in which St. Peter phrased this does not in any way detract from the spirit of what he was saying, in that it would apply to women as well. Nor does the New Testament status of Luke’s Gospel, and lack of official canonization of the New Testament at the time 2 Peter was written mean that 2 Peter can only be applied to the Old Testament. 2 Peter 3:16 refers to St. Paul’s letters as “Scripture,” thus indicating that St. Peter’s use of the term, “Scripture,” as used in 2 Peter also refers to the then developing canon of what would become New Testament Scriptures. So, Mary made a divinely inspired prophesy, which has remained true, due to the Catholic Church. If evangelical Protestantism had its way, however, the Scripture would read, “all ages to come shall call me just some vessel that God used to bare the Savior.” Without the Catholic Church, this Biblical prophesy quite possibly would be unfulfilled, and thus the ENTIRE BIBLE would be invalidated.

Referring to Mary as “just some vessel that God used to bare the Savior,” downplays the crucial role of motherhood, insulting all mothers. Did God create women strictly so that they can bare children? Is the role of mothers just strictly to give birth and breast feed their children? The evangelical protestant view of Mary certainly suggests that. How should we think that Jesus Christ feels whenever a Protestant speaks that way about His Mother? Throw in the fact that Jesus knows if such a statement was motivated by hatred towards His Church, and we can only praise Him for His mercy and forgiveness.

to be continued…


#12

The Catholic view, on the other hand, is that Mary not only bore Jesus, but had the astronomical task of raising Him, too. God intervened and prevented Mary from having been able to sin. Thus, in what Catholics refer to as “The Immaculate Conception,” Mary was preserved and protected from sin, by God’s power, not her own, and on the merits of the grace that would be granted as a result of her Son.

Many evangelical protestants will claim that this belief is unscriptural, but where in the Bible does it show Mary sinning? Some will claim that Romans 3:23 answers that, but when viewed in context, it appears that St. Paul was speaking out against the sin of pride, with the term “all” merely being meant to be inclusive of both Jewish converts and gentile converts. ONE VERSE LATER reads, “All men are now undeservedly justified by the Grace of God, through the redemption wrought in Christ Jesus.” Two chapters later, the word “all” comes up again. “Just as through one man’s disobedience, all became sinners, so through one man’s obedience, all shall become just.” (Romans 5:19) Now, that doesn’t mean that all people are going to Heaven, but if we take it as literally as many evangelical protestants want to take Romans 3:23, we’d be forced to conclude that. This is another danger of Sola-Scriptura, that people take isolated verses out of context to arrive at erroneous conclusions. The notion that The Immaculate Conception doctrine is pagan influenced would also be faulty. Paganism would claim that Mary was sinless on her own accord, and by her own power, and is to be worshipped as a result. The Catholic belief is that the sinlessness of Mary was not on her own accord or by her own power, but by God’s grace, and that Mary is NOT to be worshipped over that, or for any other reason. What about money? Was this doctrine “invented” so the Catholic Church could make more money, or wield more power, somehow? Well, if so, that was a horrible financial decision, since The Immaculate Conception doctrine becomes a stumbling block to Protestants coming into the Church, Protestants looking to accept the Church, and a stumbling block to keep poorly catechized Catholics in the Church, on the grounds that it is not bluntly spelled out in Scripture. Clearly, there can be no hidden agenda for the Church to “invent” such a doctrine. The only conclusion that can rationally be drawn is that this doctrine is true as the Church says and has always said it is.

Luke 11:27-28 reads, “While he was saying this, a woman from the crowd called out, “blest is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” “Rather,” he replied, “blest are they who hear the word of God and keep it.” Evangelical Protestants often use these verses to try to prove that Jesus did not want any special recognition to go to Mary. When we look at what the verse is actually saying, however, which view of Mary is being rebuked here? It is the Protestant view of Mary that has reduced her to merely one who bore and nursed the Savior. It is the Catholic view that Mary heard the word of God and kept it. In those verses, and in Matthew 12:48-50 or Mark 3:33-35, Jesus was not speaking against honoring Mary, but emphasizing the type of honor that should be given to her, that of a believer and obedient follower of God, not as, “just some vessel that God used to bare the Savior.”

The term, “Mother of God,” is often used by Catholics to describe Mary. Anyone who believes in the deity of Christ, and that Mary was the mother of Jesus, should have no problem with that phrase whatsoever.

Jesus has left us with a Blessed Mother to look over us, and pray for us, from Heaven. Now, it is imperative that this is understood in the context that the Church teaches. Protestants often mistake this for something that it is not, largely because Catholics often misunderstand this doctrine. Prayers to Mary can not be heard by Mary, outside of God. Mary is neither omniscient nor omnipresent. Also, prayers to Mary need to be understood strictly as prayers of intercession, and are to be understood in the sense that Mary can not answer them by her own power, but only can pray to God on our behalves. Mary is never to be viewed as a substitute for God, or an equal to God, but as an intercessor to Him, on behalf of God’s children, who are us.

to be continued…


#13

Mary had to watch her Son be crucified. Perhaps, only a mother could fully even begin to grasp what it would feel like to see her son go through something like that. Jesus died for the sins of the world. St. John, the beloved Apostle, is no exception to the sinners that Jesus died for. Yet, in Mary’s obedient love for God who wills for all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), Mary was still willing to show love for John, even knowing that John’s sins were what were causing her Son to have to endure such agony. She is truly the Mother of Mercy, that even though we crucified her Son, she still intercedes for us from Heaven.

The Catholic Church believes that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus. Many evangelical protestants will claim that such a claim is unscriptural, but the Bible never mentions Mary baring any other children, nor does it refer to anyone else as being a son of Mary, other than in the adoptive sense of the Apostle John, (John 19:26) and, arguably, where all true believers are referred to as Mary’s offspring in Revelation 12:17. Yes, brothers of Jesus are mentioned, but in Aramaic, the terms, “brother,” and “cousin” are the same. Also, the so-called, “brothers” of Jesus could have been Joseph’s children from a previous marriage, or even adopted children. Jesus even refers to the apostles as “brothers,” in John 20:17. The John 20:17 use of the term “brother,” is likely the same way that the term “brother” is to be understood in relation to James as used in Galatians 1:19, although it is possible that he may have been a cousin. If James was literally the “brother” of Jesus, then why did Jesus leave Mary with John? The argument that James was a nonbeliever at the time would be Scripturally unsupportable, as there is nothing in Scripture that indicates a later conversion of James, but rather a strong implication that James was a believer from the start, as he is even acknowledged as a “pillar” of the Church in Galatians 2:9.

Also, why in Luke 1:34 would Mary say, “I do not know man” to the angel Gabriel’s proclamation in Luke 1:31-33, if she intended to have sex after marrying Joseph? Note that Gabriel’s proclamation is in the future tense, so “I do not know man,” would not make sense in a future tense context, if she intended to “know man” in the future.

The other Catholic doctrine about Mary is the belief that she was assumed up to Heaven, by God’s Power, not her own, in a similar manner to Elijah, and as some believe, Enoch. Many evangelical protestants will say that this is also unbiblical. The Bible doesn’t record Mary dying and being buried anywhere, however, nor does history. There is nowhere in the world that claims to possess Mary’s tomb. If such a location existed, surely Catholics from around the world would make pilgrimages to it. Yet, no such place exists, because Mary was assumed into Heaven. Where does the Bible say that? Again, the false doctrine of Sola-Scriptura becomes a stumbling block to Protestants accepting the fullness of Christianity. Was the doctrine of the Glorious Assumption a money making scam? If that was the Church’s intention, then they would have invented a false tomb of Mary and charged money to view it. This doctrine actually prevents the Church from ever trying to pull off such a scandalous act. Is it pagan? Paganism would have had her ascend to Heaven by her own power, not by God’s. Does it help the Church gain power or prestige? Again, this doctrine becomes a stumbling block to Protestants accepting Catholicism (on the grounds that Scripture doesn’t mention it), and also requires reaching out in faith, so that could not be the intention. Again, like with the Immaculate Conception, we must therefore conclude that the Glorious Assumption is also true as the Church teaches and has taught it to be since it occurred.

Now, one may ask, if this doctrine is so important, why doesn’t the Bible mention it. Well, there are two reasons. The first reason is that the majority of the New Testament was written before this happened. The second, and more significant reason, however, is, that nowhere does the Bible claim to clearly spell out all the essential elements of Christianity. Such thinking is heresy.

Well, I hope that clears things up for you. If any CATHOLIC finds anything erroneous about anything I said, please correct me.


#14

To be fair to this guy, this criticism was just a small part of an article honoring Mary. Here’s the article in question:

desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1980/268_Meditation_on_the_Magnificat/

I think his arguement is that while Mary should be our role model, she is not morally unique. Men like Abraham, King David, the Apostle Paul, etc. also had great favor in the eyes of God and kept his commandments.

I do think he is right in the sense that I know many fellow Catholics who not only honor mary but put their faith in Mary to save them. I have heard the saying “When God closes a door, Mary opens a window” in several Catholic circles. The Catholic Church does not teach that Mary has the power to save us or to get us into heaven. I think this is what Piper meant when he talked about “excessive veneration.”

Piper is right in declaring that God is first and foremost for his glory and that he will not give his glory to another, not even his mother. The Bible tells us that our God is a jealous God who wants us to praise him and him only. Mary herself says that her soul “glorifies the Lord” and that she is his mere “servant.” (Luke 1: 47-48)

Do not think however, that this means I am saying that Mary is not deserving of verneration, but rather that excessive verneration of Mary can lead us to trust and hope in Mary in a way that should only be reserved for God. We, as Catholics, can say that we don’t “worship” Mary, but if we hope in her and glorify her in a way that assumes divine power and majesty, then that is exactly what we are doing.


#15

Ready for another surprise. Jesus did venerate Mary. To venerate means to hold in high esteem. He did hold his mother in high esteem, as she was chosen to give him flesh in the incarnation.
Deacon Ed B


#16

To get a sense of the effects of the Kool-Aid on the people who say Catholics honor Mary too much, all you have to do is cast about for any non-Catholic who honor her “just enough”. Can’t be done. In fact just the opposite, they act like Mary has SARS. Meanwhile Paul gets talked about so much you would think he was the fourth person of the Trinity.

Read, holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/markshea/sheavings/toomuch.asp


#17

er…He lived with her for thirty years. Is that enough veneration?

“a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you sucked!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.’”

Jesus is not saying Mary isn’t blessed. He’s saying that Mary’s holiness is not a genetic trait but due to the fact she hears the word of God and keeps it. The same applies to us. If Jesus were insulting His mother here in such a public way, He’d be breaking the fourth commandment, so the interpretation of the good baptist minister is certainly flawed.

‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.’ But he said to them, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."’ Jesus was fairly blunt in both of these instances, and there surely is no indication that Mary should be venerated in a moral class by herself."

Again - how does this diminish the holiness of Mary? Jesus is pointing out that her holiness is a possibility for all of us. She’s not blessed because she nursed Him. She’s blessed because she does His will.

The minister is also implying that Jesus contradicted infallible Scripture (the Magnificat) by his inference that Jesus was declaring His mother something other than blessed.

The upshot is that this is just lazy exegesis.


#18

It is a sad day when we see one who purports to venerate scripture completely misses the point that scripture makes. First of all, Jesus was the perfect Jew who followed all of the commandments. Since “honor thy mother and father” are among those commandments, we can be assured that He did so. The scripture cited has absolutely no bearing on whether Jesus venerated His mother. What He was saying is that Mary is not blessed merely because of her physical connection to Him, but rather because she heard the Word of God and kept it. The other scripture is telling us (again) that the those who “hear and do” are His family. He is downplaying blood relations because it is of no importance. And as chance would have it, Catholics do not venerate Mary because of her physical relationship with Jesus. It is because of her example of faith, obedience and love. So, we are right on track with scripture!:wink:


#19

I always looked at it like this:

The woman in the crowd blessed physical attributes of Our Lady- specifically physical attributes that dealt with fertility. Jesus wanted it clear that Mary was blessed, though far beyond the scope of what the woman was suggesting. Mary was blessed because of her faith, obedience, and trust in God, not because of her reproductive abilities.

As for the second instance, the people in the crowd insisted that Mary wanted to “see” Christ. He instructed the people that Mary didn’t need to see Him, she had faith enough to hear God’s word and follow it WITHOUT sight- compare this with Thomas, who needed to see Christ before he believed.

A case of people missing the point of what Jesus was trying to say. Not that we should be shocked, I guess. The 12 who knew him best didn’t get most of his teachings, why should we do so much better on our own?


#20

Is the poster implying Mary was incapable of sinning?

If so, I have to take exception to that.

  1. Being created without original sin does not render one incapable of sinning, as we see in the example of Adam and Eve.

  2. Without free will, Mary would have been incapable of freely choosing to love God.


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