I hope to begin publishing some thoughts that may be useful to our teachers who are using the Explore the Bible series. This will be my first such post.
I believe it would be unsettling to Mary if the Lord allowed her to know how people have confused her role in God’s glorious plan of redemption. One very large segment of Christendom has elevated her to a status that would have astonished her. She is venerated, prayed to, asked to mediate between God and man, declared to have been born without sin, and also to have entered heaven uncorrupted by death. None of these claims are supported in Scripture. Many other claims of visions, sightings and miraculous healings have been also ascribed to her. Sadly, there has been an opposite reaction by many other Christians. They ignore Mary and her story and fail to be blessed by her wonderful experience of faith. Mary went to heaven by the forgiveness made possible through the death of Jesus on the cross. She, like all of us, had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) Her experience of grace and forgiveness carries the amazing story of the unique and exciting role God chose for her. Mary experienced the rare event of an angelic visitor. She was told that she would bear a son. He would be the Son of God. She clearly testified that she had not had relations with any man. The virginal conception of Jesus is God’s glorious truth. It is important that we be careful about the term “virgin birth”. For some Christians this term means that Mary was still a virgin physically even after Jesus was born. It further is contended that she remained a virgin throughout her life and into eternity. These things are not in Scripture. Mary had a normal pregancy and birth. It was from the time of conception until birth that she was a virgin. It has even been argued by some Christians that Jesus passed from her womb and through her physicality as a virgin just as He would pass through a wall after His resurrection. This is not taught in Scripture. The Scripture further states clearly that Mary had other children who were siblings of Jesus. She lived a normal married life with Joseph and together they provided a wonderful family experience for Jesus. It is important that we carefully understand what the bible reveals about Mary and Joseph. The true story reveals that God works through real people with real lives. He can use us if we will allow Him to. Notice also that Mary said, “May it be with me as you have said.” She accepted her role. It was not forced on her. She humbly called herself the Lord’s servant. Let us be His servant as well.