JIM ASKED, "soo what is your expectation of Christians toward Mary?" Jim, I think the better question is this, how does the Bible honor Mary? is the expectation of us in regards to Mary.
The Bible says to call Mary blessed in all ages. In the prayer the “Hail Mary” we call Mary blessed every time we say it, “Blessed art thou among all women.” One individual told me that calling Mary blessed is idolatry. However, that is not what the Bible calls it. “And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will ALL AGES WILL CALL ME BLESSED. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Lk 1:46).
And so I asked her, how do you, in this age, in your church call Mary blessed today. She said that her church does this at Christmas time. I complimented her on her good answer and said that the only difference between her practice and mine is that she calls Mary blessed once a year and I call Mary blessed every time I say the prayer the “Hail Mary.”
Jim you asked for specifics, and so how would you answer your own question, what are your expectations of Christians towards Mary and would they be different then what it says in the Bible? Thanks.
JIM ASKED, “how should we celebrate Mary? Excellent question, but I think the better question would be; how do we honor Mary in following the Bible?
The Bible honored her, Jesus and others honored her and we honor her as well. The angel Gabriel honored Mary; “The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you" But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. (Lk 1:26-31).
Mary is to be the Mother of Jesus and has found favor with God. I think we should favor her as well. Mary spoke of the honors given her by God. “And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Lk 1:46). Look at the honors, “for God has done great things for me” and for all ages. Some are afraid that Mary might take away from Jesus. God did not share this fear; He honored her.
Elizabeth honored Mary; “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at that moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Lk 1:41-45). Elizabeth called her “most blessed” and was honored to have Mary in her presence.
Simeon honored Mary; “Simeon blessed them and said to MARY his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you [Mary] yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”(Lk 2:34-35). A sword pierces Mary’s heart so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. That doesn’t sound like Jesus alone. Mary had a role as well.
Jesus honored His mother and Joseph by obeying them; “He [Jesus] went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them and his mother kept all these things in her heart” (Lk 2:51). He did this in keeping with the fourth commandment of God, “Honor your father and mother.”We should honor Mary, Joseph and all the Saints.
Jesus honored his Mother at the wedding feast of Cana. He did so by performing His first public miracle at her request. “When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine’” (Jn 2:3). Initially Jesus resisted, “my time has not yet come;” however, in the end, He did it anyway.
JIM ASKED this excellent question, “What specifically do you want Christians to do with or for or ask of Mary”? It all depends on what the need is. At the wedding feast of Cana the need was for more wine. Mary interceded to Jesus on behalf of the wedding party. Jim what is your need? Is it salvation? Is it monetary? Is it health? Is it for the end of a war? Is it concern for a loved one? And when she intercedes for you, I am sure she will go STRAIGHT TO JESUS just as she did on behalf of the wedding party at Cana. Mary’s intercession is in the Bible. It is only HUMAN tradition that denies Mary’s intercession.
If people are to be fully Biblical Christians, Mary must be honored in some way; otherwise parts of the Bible are being rejected for human tradition.
The angel Gabriel honored Mary. Do you honor her?
God honored Mary (The canticle of Mary). Do you honor her?
Elizabeth honored Mary. Do you honor her?
Simeon honored Mary. Do you honor her?
Jesus honored and obeyed Mary and Joseph. Do you honor them?
Jesus honored her with his first public miracle. Do you honor her?
Some Christians try to explain Mary away. The moment someone tries to explain to me, everything that Mary isn’t, I know they are not coming from the Bible. The Bible explains what Mary is in relationship to Jesus, not what she isn’t. Sometimes my Evangelical friends will tell me that Mary is only a humble handmaid of the Lord who should not be honored. To them only Jesus should be honored. Mary affirms that she is the humble handmaid of the Lord; “For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness” (Lk 1:46). However, this is precisely why we honor her. Mary humbled herself and therefore God exalts her. “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you” (Jm 4:10). If God exalts Mary in her humility, then who are we not to do likewise? Those who claim that only God should be exalted are ignoring what God says in the Bible.
Mary’s message yesterday, today and forever, “Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you” (Jn 2:5). Jim, the Bible honors Mary, so how do you in your church and in your life honor Mary? Thank you.