Hi, I’m Matthew Cailes and I live in Southampton, England.
Just over a month ago, God directed me to start a blog (matthewcailesonline.wordpress.com)and He has given me enough to post every Monday, Wednesday & Friday since then.
Mary: Revered by Catholics and often overlooked by Protestants
Both are mistakes. Whether or not Mary was without sin (as Catholicism claims), she was certainly an impressive woman. The Bible doesn’t give us a great deal of information about Mary, but we can certainly learn a lot from the little we do know.
Our Introduction to Mary
Luke introduces us to Mary as “a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph” and it is believed that she was a young girl in her teens at this time. The first time we hear Mary speak is after the angel has told her that she is going to have a Son. Her response is perhaps what you might expect from any young virgin girl in Mary’s situation, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” Luke 1:34. But, unlike Zacharias, the husband of Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, who spouted so much unbelief that the angel Gabriel had to silence him (“Behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words” Luke 1:20), Mary was soon filled with faith and said to Gabriel in Luke 1:38, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”
This is how we need to be when God tells us something that seems to be impossible. If we have doubt initially, as Mary did, it will not matter as long as we quickly replace it with faith. Rather than saying, “But God…”, we should follow Mary’s example and say, “Be it unto me according to thy word”. Then, we should expect whatever God has said to come to pass. Let’s face it, if Mary could believe that she would have a child, without a man being involved, then we can believe whatever God tells us.
Mary and the Birth of a Savior
Let’s move now to the time of Jesus’ birth. The shepherds have just left, having told Mary & Joseph everything the angel said to them. Luke 2:19 says, “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” In other words, she meditated on everything that had happened. The Common English Bible translates this verse as, “Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully.”
What a wonderful example Mary set for us, to not just let the things of God go in one ear and out the other, but to commit them to memory and consider them carefully. When Jesus was twelve and His parents had to return to the temple to look for Him, Mary did not understand what He meant when He said, “I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:48). However according to Luke 2:51, “His mother kept on thinking about all that had happened.” Once again Mary meditated on what she had seen and heard.
After this occurrence when Jesus was twelve, we are not given any information about Jesus’ family for approximately another eighteen years, by which time Jesus is about thirty years old. Joseph is no longer mentioned and the general consensus of opinion is that he must have died.
Do What He Says!
The next account concerning Mary that I want us to look at is found in John chapter 2, at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. It is here that Mary gives one of best pieces of advice in the entire Bible, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it”. Following this simple advice from Mary, will transform your entire life. No more ifs, no more buts, no more maybes – just obey!
Finally, I want us to move to the upper room, where Jesus’ disciples had gathered following His death & resurrection.
“When they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” Acts 1:13-14
Mary was one of those who was present in the upper room and, therefore, she was there when:
“Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:2-4
This may come as a revelation to many, but Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.
There are many ideas about Mary that are taught as truth by Catholics, but most of these, such as Mary being without sin or Mary being forever a virgin, are completely rejected by Protestants. But whatever you believe about Mary does not take away from the indisputable truth that Mary was an amazing woman whom we can learn a lot from.
Also published on Medium.