Overlooked Scripture No. 5: “Who is my mother?”

“One said to Him, ‘Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with you.’  But He answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are my brothers?’ And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother'” (Matthew 12:47-50).

I’m so sorry, Catholic friends. But Scripture will not allow you to worship Mary.

There is no place for Mariolatry, as it is known, in the life of Jesus’ disciples.

We will give her the honor Scripture gives her. We have no trouble calling her blessed, for who would not be blessed by being chosen to bear God’s Son into the world. But no, she is not “the mother of God.”  Any way you slice it, the only way you can make Scripture justify worship of Mary is to ignore everything but a few selected verses.

A woman called out of the crowd to Jesus, “Blessed is the womb that bore you! And blessed are the breasts that nursed you!”  Jesus’ answer is significant.  “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:27-28).

Jesus would not allow people to make of Mary more than she was.

And if I may say, I’m convinced Mary herself would be horrified to see the way people have taken honor from the Savior and handed it to her.

What about all the “appearances of the Virgin” that have been recorded through the ages?  I have no answer.  Whether these were genuine appearances (I’m completely willing to say the Lord can do anything He wishes, in accordance with Psalm 115:3, even if it does not fit my theology!) or something less, I will leave to others.  But my personal feeling is that they detract from the significance of the Lord Jesus, they encourage visions and mystical experiences, and they foster a kind of superstition. Anyone building his/her religious faith around appearances of angels or anyone else may want to read and heed Scripture’s admonition in Galatians 1:8. “Even if we, or an angel from heaven, bring any other gospel unto you than what I have preached to you, let him be accursed.”

The worship of Mary is “another gospel.”

In the “forgotten text” of Matthew 12:47-50 above, our Lord not only lessens the significance of blood kinship with His family but elevates the connection with Him of “those who do His will.”

Jesus’ blood family did not sign on from the beginning….

“Neither did His own brothers believe in Him,” says John 7:5.

And there is Mark 3:21. “When His own people heard about this (how the crowds were flocking to hear Him), they went out to lay hold of Him.  For they said, ‘He is out of His mind.'”

The reaction of His family to the beginnings of our Lord’s ministry tells us a number of things. It says how normal was the Lord’s youth growing up in Nazareth.  He was not Superboy of Smallville, performing miracles and wonders for the neighbors, as at least one Gnostic gospel has it.  Had He been that, no one would have been surprised when He moved to a larger stage.  Instead, the miracle at Cana of Galilee is said to be His first “sign” (John 2:1-10).  The Lord’s baptism was when He stepped out and the Father identified Him to John the Baptizer and to the people. Until then, even Satan had not known who the Messiah was.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Jesus’ family and His hometown neighbors (see Luke 4) were as shocked as anyone else when the Carpenter began healing and teaching and preaching the Kingdom of God.

Clearly, the family of Jesus got on board at some point during His ministry. The way we know this is that a) Mary was at the cross and b) James, the Lord’s brother, became a church leader.

To the Lord Jesus, obedience is everything.

There is no way to overemphasize that: Obedience is the beginning and end of discipleship.  Consider these scriptures:

–“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things which I command you?” (Luke 6:46)

–“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).

–“He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me” (John 14:21).  Variations of this statement from our Lord are found in John 14:23,24 and 15:10,14.

–“For this purpose I wrote to you, that I might know the proof of you, whether you are obedient in all things” (2 Corinthians 2:9).

Scripture calls Jesus our elder brother. “That He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).  We must not over-emphasize this, only make the point that Jesus elevates the obedient and honors the faithful.

What He will not allow, however, is “adoration” of those who do the tasks the Father has given them to do.  “We are unworthy servants, just doing our job” is the proper attitude of each of us (Luke 17:10).

We recall that twice in John’s Revelation, the elderly apostle drops to his knees before an angel to worship. And in both cases, he is promptly rebuked (19:10 and 22:8).  The angel says, “Do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!”  And, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

Let us do here and now what we shall be doing forever and ever in Heaven, and that is praising the Savior.  “They sang a new song. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Amen forever.


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