Monday, October 09, 2006

Mother of God

I went to my parents' church last night. They spoke about David, the Ark of the Covenant and God's holiness. This brought up many things to write about but for now I'm going to stick to something that was brought to my mind.

God is holy... SO holy, in fact, that there are no words to adequately describe Him. This is evident in the fact that if anyone touched the Ark of the Covenant, he would perish... Isn't it interesting to think that the dust that touched the Ark, because of God's holiness, would not be defiled? Protestants and Catholics both agree on the fact that God is the utmost and holiest of all.

So, imagine, God himself, coming down to us: fully God and fully man – fully divine and fully human... It's astounding. God himself lived among us, walked where we walk, breathed the air we breathe, saw the things we see.

Then there's Mary. She carried God within her. Holy God... sinless, perfect, sovereign. Is it not fitting that God would be born not only of a virgin but of one who is sinless? Would it have been fitting for the most Holy God to be born of a woman who had sinned at any moment in her life? Even after Jesus was born, would it have been fitting for him to be cared for by a sinful woman?

Luke 1:39-45
Mary Visits Elizabeth
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

Luke 1:46-49
And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name..."

So, while Catholics call her blessed, and rightfully so, Protestants seem to take the opposite extreme by completely ignoring her. You can listen to them talk about many other women in the Bible but when it comes to Mary, they undermine exactly who she is and what she's done.

Jesus did not ignore Mary in such a way. Why, then, should His followers?

I used to think that Catholics worshipped Mary... that they put her above or equal to Jesus. This is completely untrue. The Catholic Church does not teach that Mary was divine in her own right but that she acted in purely obedient faith. By saying "yes", Mary allowed God to accomplish his perfect will, which played a role in all of our salvation.

Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. This is something I'd never heard before a few months ago but last night's service about the Ark of the Old Covenant made me take a deeper look.

When Davis approached the Ark, he leapt and danced.
When Mary approached Elizabeth, John the Baptist leapt in his mother's womb.

The Ark of the Old Covenant stayed in the house of Obed-edom for three months.
Mary stayed in the house of Elizabeth for three months.

The place that housed the ark for three months was blessed.
Elizabeth uses the word blessed three times in Luke (and surely she would be because GOD was in her home!)

When the OT ark arrived, they were greeted with shouts of joy.
When Mary arrived, she was greeted with shouts of joy.

The OT ark returns to its home and ends up in Jerusalem, where God's glory is revealed in the temple.
Mary returns home and ends up in Jerusalem, where she presents Jesus in the temple.

In the OT ark, the law of God was in stone.
Mary carried the Word of God in flesh.

In the OT ark was an urn of manna, the bread from heaven that kept God's people alive in the wilderness.
Mary carried the Bread of Life from heaven that brings us eternal life.

In the OT ark was the rod of Aaron, the proof of true priesthood.
Mary carried the true priest.

This passage also makes the connection:
Revelation 11:19-12:2
Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

The parallel is undeniable. God did not ignore her... but chose her and blessed her because of her obedience.

John 19:26-27
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Revelation 12:17
Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring-those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

We should not ignore Mary. She is our mother... given to us by our Most Holy God.

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