Summary: There is quite a bit of confusion among some as to the Mother of Jesus. Who she was and who she was not. Some church traditions erroneously lend into that confusion. Today we look briefly at Mary in a manner of separating biblical fact from unscriptural tradition

Grace Community Church

Winchester, VA

Rev. Bradford Reaves, Sr. Pastor

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As we come to this portion of the Birth Narrative in Luke, I think it is important to point out a couple of things. First, this portion of Scripture deserved much more attention than just during Christmas. We need time to also view things critically and apart from all the nostalgia and traditions around Christmas. Secondly, I felt it necessary to address an area of doctrinal confusion in the church, especially those who come from Catholicism. May I also insert here it is dangerous to paint a broad stroke of the people in the Catholic Church versus the unbiblical traditions formed in the Catholic Church over many centuries?

It seems whenever there is a discrepancy in doctrinal issues within the Church, we do one of two things:

First, we run from it and never get close to addressing the issue as if we are afraid to wrestle with the truth. The Bereans in Acts 17 were commended for being courageous enough to pause and Scripturally examine as Paul shared the gospel with them.

To the other extreme, we attack unorthodoxy with zeal and passion. Decisive correction and rebuke of heresy are warranted, but we must be careful not to leave a wake of destruction in our path. People who unwittingly embrace false doctrine can become causalities of our zeal for the truth. We must always remember to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). So false teachings and their teachers like that they come from the prosperity gospel, Catholicism, and others should be corrected with precision. As Jesus would tell his disciples:

But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:29–30 ESV

So today we are going to take a look at Mary the Mother of Jesus. It is important for me to take a moment and clarify the difference between church tradition and biblical doctrine. Tradition is something that a church believes or practices based on sources or beliefs outside of the Bible. For instance, there are traditions among some regarding clothing or food. We have traditions here, don’t we? The type of music we play or the manner in which we celebrate holidays like Christmas and Easter. These arose outside of the Bible. They are not necessarily wrong, but they are extra-biblical. They can become a problem if their value becomes equal or even supersedes the authority of the Bible. Such is the case with Mary, who was an extraordinary young girl, but who’s honor is taken too far in some cases.

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26–38 ESV

1. Who Mary Was

We should make no mistake, nor minimize the significance of Mary. Of all the women in Scripture and of all the women that ever lived, Mary was above all other women as being one who was highly favored by God. There is a great reason to regard Mary this was as she was chosen by God to be the mother of God’s Son, Jesus. She and she alone was the sole vessel that would at last bring to Israel - and the whole world - their redemption, the Messiah.

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