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Mary, the Mother of Jesus
In the Holy Scriptures, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one of the most prominent people. Indeed, the Holy Book teaches many things concerning the life of this woman, and many studies have been conducted by various Biblical scholars to help recognize the nature of Mary. In line with this, the underlying goal shared by these studies is to contribute to the contexts within which Marys's personality can be comprehended. The resulting ideas serve to enhance the level of understanding of Mary as one of the best-known Biblical characters. There is hope that the complete appreciation of Mary as an individual involved in the spread of human redemption will provide a bigger picture of her actual role in the salvation process, among others (Tuckett 61). Accordingly, the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is worth some considerations from the perspective of different teachings that address her contribution in the context of Christianity.
Mary as a Descendant of David
The first context within which Mary can be examined is from the perspective of her relationship with David. At the beginning of the first mention of Mary in the New Testament, there is the appearance of angel Gabriel. Incidentally, it is recorded that God has sent angel Gabriel in the sixth month of Marys's pregnancy in Galilee. According to Luke 1:26-27, Mary promised to get married to one of Davids's descendants, Joseph. In chapter three of the same book, Joseph is shown as the Davids's descendant, along with the revelation that Mary, too, was an offspring in the lineage of David however, she came from the house of Nathan, one of Davids sons (Cox 1). On the other hand, Joseph seems to come from Solomons lineage, and this again links him to David.
Ideally, Marys's family tree relates her to the Old Testament prophecy of a Messiah, foretelling that He would come from David's lineage. It is essential to consider this fact because Mary is from this family. Indeed, the situation was even more complicated due to Joseph's relationship with David, a pivotal point that makes the fulfillment of the prophecy an even more distinctive event (Bynum 118). The lack of commonality in Davids's lineage in both cases could have raised some concerns about the fulfillment of the prophecy due to the duos mixed lineages. In this line of understanding, it can be argued that Mary's ancestry is compelling evidence that she was specifically chosen by God to fulfill his promised salvation of humanity. Hence, Mary can be regarded as Davids's descendant who gave more credibility to the realization of the ancient prophecy of a Savior being born from Davids's ancestry.
Mary as Gods Mother
At the early stages of the Church, the Roman Catholics did not worship Mary as is the case today, and there were either minimal or no mentions of her at that time (Church Society for Bible, Church and Nation 2). According to some observers, this trend might be explained by the fact that there is relatively little information about her in the New Testament (Schweizer 47). However, in the gradual veneration of many martyrs in the denomination, Mary has been accorded exclusive honor due to giving birth to Christ. As a depiction of this, the Roman Catholics have given Mary a distinctive rectitude by referring to her with the use of the title hyperdulia or great service, an expression of the highest order of veneration (Church Society for Bible, Church and Nation 3). Indeed, it differs from the title dulia, which refers to saints and angels in general terms. Usually, Christians take the label Mother of God to mean that Mary shares Jesus' divinity and that she was in existence before Christ. The present provisions in the Catholic Church seem to endorse the adoration of Mary due to her believed close relationship with God.
Mary as the Eternal Virgin
The other area in which Mary can be examined is her depiction as a perpetual virgin. In this regard, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that Mary lived her entire life without having her virginity broken. Regarding this context, the church's Catechism in paragraph 499 celebrates Mary as Aeirthenos', which means ever-virgin', after giving birth to Christ only (Church Society for Bible, Church and Nation 4). Nevertheless, this reference has been highly criticized by many Christians. For instance, the same Catechism in paragraph 500 mentions Mary's other sons and daughters. Also, the Holy Scriptures assert that Mary was only a virgin before Jesus' birth as depicted in the book of Mather, which shows that Joseph did sleep with her until she gave birth to their first son (Tuckett 69). There are also other cases where Christ's brothers get a mention, as it happens in the book of Luke 8, verse 19.
Based on such arguments, many critics have questioned the title that some of the believers have given to God's Mother. These illustrations show that Mary should be understood as the Virgin Mary only until the birth of Jesus because, after that, she had a typical marriage in which she was able to give birth to her other children. To conclude this kind of perception of Mary, it is imperative that Christians and other people who have an interest in studying the theme of Mary as the eternal virgin look at the matter within the religious realm and then offer their perception by harmonizing the points they have gathered in their analysis. The idea of Mary being a virgin is supported by the Holy Book however, the position of contention is whether the virginity ended at some point during her lifetime or not.
Marys Immaculate Conception
Another Biblical teaching refers to Mary as flawlessly conceived and devoid of sin. According to some analysts, the dogma is a claim by the Roman Catholic Church that is supposed to be revealed in the scripture or traditions of the Early Church (Church Society for Bible, Church and Nation 5). There is also a perception among some Christians that the creed of the perfect conception refers to the divine woman who can conceive, which refers to Mary. The confusion that surrounds the teaching can be stressed further in the way in which, for example, Roman Catholics have tried to interpret it over the many years of its existence, pointing that all elements are intended to reveal and respect Marys's holiness alongside that of her son, Jesus Christ. In an actual sense, the sanctity of Jesus in his birth prepared him for the divine service of helping humankind free themselves from the ungodliness of sin in different ways. Mary, as the mother of Jesus, has this knowledge as the basis for bringing up her son reasonably well. In this respect, Christians should appreciate the need for holiness as a way of overcoming sin that may be caused by different temptations that are likely to come along their way.
Marys Faithfulness and Blessedness
Various instances in the Bible prove that Mary was both blessed and faithful to God. It is depicted most clearly through the fact that some people in the Bible have referred to her as devoted to God or blessed. The testimony given by Elizabeth in the Holy Book can be used to illustrate the point. At some point, Elizabeth recognizes Marys's faithfulness and blessedness in the book of Luke (Bynum 118). Elizabeth reiterated in her praise of Mother of Christ by saying that she was a righteous woman and was able to walk faultlessly according to the Lord's teachings (Luke Chapter 1 verse 6). She adds that Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit; hence, she had a blessed personality (verse 41). Elizabeth compliments Mary in her statement that Mary was blessed among women and had a sacred womb in Luke, Chapter 1, verse 42. Concerning her faithfulness, Elizabeth indicates that Mary has faith in God by being blessed, which means being in the category of those who are convinced of the fulfillment of all that was told by the Lord. The assertions by angel Gabriel show that God favored Mary. He said to her: Greetings, the favored by the Lord, God is with you (Luke 1:28). In this regard, the praise that Elizabeth has for Mary evidently shows that the latter was both faithful to the Lord and received blessings from him, and it was manifested when she received power from the Holy Spirit.
Mary as a Wonderful Woman
The depiction of Mary in the Holy Book can also be looked at through her representation as a magnificent character. Her reaction to the praise that Elizabeth presented her with was to give the Lord glory instead of praising herself as a worthy woman who deserved God's favor (Tuckett 58). The Book of Luke 1:46-56 contains the verses called The Magnificent' that present words spoken by Mary in which she glorified God. Equally worth noting is the point where Mary shows humility and faith to God at the Annunciation, stating, Behold, I am the Servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to the word of the Lord (Tuckett 58). Thus, Mary sang a song of praise when she heard the words from God. The incredible nature of the Mother of God is also shown in her loving and selfless character. This viewpoint is correct considering that she prays for the well-being of her people. There was a case at a time when she said in Luke 1: 46-55 that her soul was glorifying the Lord, and her spirit rejoiced in God, her Savior (Holmes 69). According to her, God has always been kind to the humble servants. The part continues with her saying that from that moment, all generations would be referring to her as blessed and that His mercy should be extended to those who fear Him from one generation to another. Furthermore, Mary appreciates the help that God has given to the Israelites.
In the aforementioned example, Mary thanked the Lord for helping her people and showing mercy to them, particularly to Abrahams's followers, considering that Mary was a part of Abrahams' ancestry. Thus, by having this special prayer, she was extending mercy to both Abrahams's descendants and Abraham himself (Cox 10). Another important fact is that Mary felt that the birth of her child, Christ, would fulfill the promises that the Lord had made to Abraham (Galatians Chapter 3). Undoubtedly, there are no parts of the Bible that seem to question Mary's unusual nature in an in-depth way. The supposition here is that Mary is a magnificent character that sets an example to Christians. For Christians, this is a relevant idea that should encourage them to aspire to be like Mary hence, they live according to the way Christ's followers should conduct themselves, especially in their interactions with the Lord and fellow human beings.
Mary as an Imperfect Character
Despite being an epitome of a good Christian, there are cases where Mary comes out as a fallible character in the Holy Book. Such circumstances include her depiction as someone who was not able to understand Christ intensively. For instance, her attitude to Jesus' missions is considered to be ambiguous. The misunderstanding occurred since Mary went to look for the young Jesus in the temple, an act that earned her a sharp rebuke from Christ himself who asked her why she was searching for him (Tuckett 72). At the same time, Jesus explained that he was in the Father's house and there was no need for his mother to worry. Since Jesus presented it in the form of a question, Mary struggled to understand him, which proved her fallibility.
In the same line of understanding, various instances in the Bible portray Mary as a sinner, hence creating a need for her salvation. As an illustration of this, the Book of Romans, chapter 3:23, asserts that all people have sinned and have not met God's glory (Bynum 118). This way, it can be concluded that Marys's failures make her belong to this category of sinners. In brief, this creed must be reviewed more critically, with points of reference being drawn from the Holy Book. The personality of Mary that is shown here can be used by Christians as a moral lesson that human beings are not impeccable thus, there is a need to understand other people's transgressions and help them have a better understanding of the Gospel.
Mary as Mediator Performing Redemptory Assignments
The perception of the Biblical Mary can also take the angel role that she played as indicated in the Holy Book. The mediation and redemptory functions are duties that Mary fulfilled. For example, Christians hold the belief that once Mary ascended into heaven, she accepted the role of being an intercessor between God and humankind in addition to being at the center of men's salvation (Tuckett 72). In this respect, the creed of mediatory and deliverance roles played by Mary can be traced back to the early days of Christianity. For example, Alphonsus de Liguori who lived between the years 1696-1787 described the Kingdom of God, in which he cited that half of it was given to Mary as indicated in his book The Glories of Mary (Church Society for Bible, Church and Nation 8). The scholar also pointed out that there is the absence of the need for redemption for the Mother of Christ as she works together with Christ on the salvation of humankind.
The Roman Catholic Church also supports the role of Mary as an essential participant in the process of human salvation, as Mediatrix, a mediator, and co-redemption, a savior. For example, Pope Benedict XV made a declaration that Mary may have saved humankind together with Jesus Christ (Church Society for Bible, Church and Nation 7). Correspondingly, Pope John Paul made it clear during his Holy Thursday sermon that Catholic bishops need to depend on Mary by asking a rhetorical question on how the believers would be able to get better truth concerning Christ if not through his mother (Church Society for Bible, Church and Nation 7). Indeed, such illustrations underline the perception of Mary as an intercessor and Savior. Bearing this in mind, Christians should also consider the mediatory and redemptory roles that Mary plays in their relationships with the Lord.
Mary as a Woman worth Worshiping
The presentations of Mary in the Bible have made some believers worship her. Instinctively, the practice is common within the Roman Catholic Church. Nonetheless, the practice has not been confined to this church alone. In line with this, to emphasize the point, there is an indication that the worship of the Virgin Mary is not only done by the Roman Catholics but is also carried out by other churches (Church Society for Bible, Church and Nation 8). Some authors even mention the fact that the Coptic Church of Egypt is another example of a church that subscribes to the practice. Initially, the Egyptian temple functioned by including minimal devotion to Christ's mother; however, its modern teachings tend to worship Mary tremendously. The reference also shows that the Ethiopian Church and the Syrian Church Mariolatry partake in this practice. For example, it states that the Ethiopian Church believes that Mary has been in existence since the beginning of life, and teaches that she was present in Adams's body in the form of a white pearl (Church Society for Bible, Church and Nation 8). Various arguments presented by Biblical scholars tend to agree that multiple churches worship the Virgin Mary because of her piety that needs to be emulated by Christians from all denominations. For example, Church Society for Bible, Church, and Nation (12) postulates that Roman Catholic's reverence of Mary is linked to their claim that she was faultless. Also, they believe her to be a sinless, eternal virgin who entered paradise as queen and sovereign, and that the moment she reached heaven, she started playing the roles of a mediator and performing the redemptory duties.
Mary as a Fulfillment of the Serpents Curse
There is an idea subjected to the politics of interpretation about the act of Mary conceiving the Christ being seen as a way of fulfilling the serpent's curse. The belief is that Jesus is thought to have never existed before Mary could deliver Him and that the birth was connected to the Garden of Eden's curse on humanity (Cox 7). For a deeper understanding, in Genesis 3:15, God says that he would cause enmity between the serpent and the woman's offspring and that the child would break its head and attack its heel. Although Eve is the woman being referred to in this excerpt and not Mary, all human beings are Eves's descendants, and humankind is the progenies of women. Given that this curse from the serpent was passed to humanity through a woman, it explains the reason why Jesus was born by a woman when he could have landed in the world from heaven directly. Indeed, it could be a fulfillment of the serpent's curse.
In the discussed regard, the serpent denotes sin, and the only person to help humanity free itself from this burden was Jesus Christ (Cox 7). Agreeably, the fact that the woman Mary bore Jesus is proof that this action could be aimed at fulfilling the curse. On the other hand, it can be argued that in case Jesus had come down from heaven without being born, he would not have been regarded as an offspring of a woman; thus, he could not have accepted the punishment (Cox 8). The points, in this case, should help Christians appreciate further the heavenly role that Mary was supposed to play when she gave birth to the Messiah who was to accomplish God's promise to destroy satanic forces represented by the serpent in the book of Genesis.
To conclude, it is true that many things have been said about Mary, who is one of the most prominent characters in the New Testament. With this background, the paper has explored the life of this woman, identifying different ways in which she can be perceived. To begin with, Mary is described as a descendant of David through Nathan; hence, she helps to fulfill the promise of the Messiah coming from David's lineage. Secondly, Mary is represented as the Mother of God because she is a part of the divinity of Christ. Thirdly, Mary is portrayed in the Holy Scriptures as the Perpetual Virgin, which is the reason why some believers, such as Roman Catholics, believe that she was a virgin during her entire life. The fourth point is that Marys's conception of Jesus was an immaculate one because it was done by the Holy Spirit and announced by angel Gabriel as a fulfillment of an old Biblical prophecy. Marys faithfulness and blessedness are also points of consideration in understanding who she was. Furthermore, Mary is depicted as a wonderful woman, as shown in verses entitled The Magnificent' in the book of Luke. However, Mary is also painted as an imperfect person due to her lack of understanding of Jesus and His mission. Additionally, she is illustrated as a mediator and as executing redemptory duties. The perception of Mary as being worth worshiping is equally important because she is being worshipped by different churches, including the Roman Catholic Church. Lastly, Mary was presented as a fulfiller of the serpent's curse when she gave birth to Messiah who would crush the sin that is symbolized by the serpent's head being crushed. Therefore, how Mary is shown in the New Testament help people get a better understanding of not only her role in the spread of the Gospel but also in comprehending the duties of Christ in the redemption of humankind.