What would Jesus have us think about Mary?
Different religions have different beliefs, and everybody knows that much. We have a source by which we can determine which beliefs are acceptable to the Lord and which are not. This is done simply by checking what His Word says in the Bible. So let us check about Mary, the mother of Jesus, to see what His wishes are in how we are to think about her. In other words, WWJD, what would Jesus do or have us do in relation to her? Should we pray to her, hold her up on a pedestal, or bow down to her?
If we look at Luke 1:28, 30, 38, we see, "And having come in, the angel said to her, Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women! Then the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Then Mary said, Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." So one must admit that she is special indeed; but what does that mean other than that God chose her to bear His son, Jesus, and she consented? Does this mean she can intercede for us, hear and answer prayers such as the rosary, or protect us from the evil one in any way? No, of course not. It doesn’t look that way. But maybe if we continue to check out Scriptures, we’d get further insights to what Jesus would think.
First, we’ll look at Luke 2:42 to 51, where we see, "And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem ... When they had finished the days, as they returned, the boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it...Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously. And He said to them, Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart." Notice how He said that "He must be about My Father’s business"? As a child of Mary and Joseph (though not biologically), He subjected to their leadership as parents, just as we should do, but He made His point that He was on Earth to do God the Father’s will. Nothing is said about His mother’s will.
Now we’ll go to Matthew 12:46-50, which states, "While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then 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." Jesus is telling us that His spiritual family is much more important than His human family. (Yes, Jesus had human brothers.)
Then at the wedding of Cana, we see, "And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, They have no wine. Jesus said to her, Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come. His mother said to the servants, Whatever He says to you, do it." (John 2:3-5) Again we see that, as a human, Mary made a simple request, but notice that Jesus again questioned Mary in regards to her intercession for a miracle and telling her that His hour had not come. And notice how Mary simply said, for us all to note, that we should "do as He says?"
Another spot to look at is in Luke 11:27,28, "And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You! But He said, More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" Here Jesus puts it into proper perspective. Mary, just because she was His physical mother, gave her no special power grants or privileges. Sure, she was used by God to be His mother, but that didn’t rank her as superior, for Jesus even said of John the Baptist, "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." That’s incredible since there was Abraham, Solomon, Daniel, Moses, and Elijah that we might have thought were greater.
Now, as far as Jesus making her our mother when He said to John from on the cross, "When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, Woman, behold your son! Then He said to the disciple, Behold your mother! And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home." (John 19:26, 27) John was to take care of her. Jesus never told her to "behold the rest of mankind as your children." Yes, Jesus had other brothers and sisters, but at this point they were not yet believers. This also shows the importance of Christian fellowship, as we see that Jesus would rather have His mother to be cared for by a Christian than a family member.
So what are we to do? Pray to her? No, as she said that we are to do as He says. And His word tells us that He "is a jealous God," (Deuteronomy 6:15), and that when Jesus was crucified the curtain that separated people from entering the temple’s Holy of Holies, was torn down, providing our access to Him directly. Jesus finished the priesthood and forever lives to intercede for us to the Father (Hebrews 7:23-27). We can now, "come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) As Isaiah said, "Should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?" (Isaiah 8:19)
In closing, when somebody tells you that they’ll pray the rosary or some other prayer to Mary, remind them that the Bible says we shouldn’t pray to anyone but God, not to mention that Jesus said repetitious prayers such as that do no good. (Matthew 6:7) Even the so-named Lord’s prayer was given as an outline to learn how to pray and not as a specific prayer. (Luke 11:1-4) Tell them that you have Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, (Hebrews 12:2) by whom no other name is given for Salvation (Acts 4:12). Politely decline their wishes, and ask if they’d like to get to know the Bible better. Remind them that even Mary said, "Do as He tells you." Who knows? Maybe it’s just what they need to know. Mary was Jesus’ mother, nothing more, blessed indeed, but that’s it. Let’s keep our eyes on Him alone just as He is meant to be.