What does it mean that Mary was highly favored by God?


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Highly Favored

The term highly favored (Luke 1:28) means “endowed with grace.” This phrase titles Mary as the receiver of divine favor, or grace, not the distributor of it. The angel Gabriel did not endow Mary with personal merit to bestow upon others. In the Bible, only Elizabeth called Mary “blessed” (v. 42).

Jesus in relation to Mary

Although Jesus Himself always treated His mother with respect (John 2:4), He never honored her above other people (Matthew 12:48, 49). At the cross He did not address her as the “Mother of God,” or even as “mother”—He addressed her as “woman,” (John 19:26). Neither Paul nor any other NT writer attributed to her any extraordinary merit, or special connection with God.

Honoring Mary – Catholic Teaching

The Catholic honoring of Mary is not Biblical. It was a tradition that was adopted through the centuries through pagan myths and legends concerning the “queen of heaven” (Jer. 7:18; 44:17, 18; etc.). The exaltation of Mary became a dogma of the Catholic church at the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431. This dogma setting Mary as the “Mother of God” was adopted from a pagan female deity-of the Magna Mater, or Great Mother, of Asia Minor.

Gabriel’s greeting has been changed by the Catholic Church into a prayer to Mary as a mediator which is contrary to the Bible that teaches Jesus is our only mediator “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the prayer to Mary is composed of the angel’s words (1), with adding (before 1184) of the opening words of Elisabeth’s greeting to Mary in v. 42 (2), and more addition (by 1493) of a request for prayer (3), and a still later addition (4), made by 1495, and placed in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, with the whole form officially accepted in the Roman Breviary of 1568. Thus, humanly created, the Ave Maria reads as follows:

  1. Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
  2. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
  3. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
  4. Now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

God’s commandment

The Catholic Church err by giving Mary the mother of Jesus undue devotion and adoration as an intercessor on behalf of humans. The Lord commanded His children, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). This is a direct quote from Deut. 6:5 (Luke 11:13). To offer our devotions to God in the sense here stated and implied is to dedicate our entire beings, affections, lives, powers, and the intellect to Him.

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is the only Mediator and Intercessor between God and man. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). For “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name [Jesus] under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Also check out, Is there any Biblical significance to praying the Rosary?

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)

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