What was the role of Mary the mother of Jesus in the early church?

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The last mention of Mary the mother of Jesus in the Bible is found in the book of Acts after the Lord’s resurrection: “And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.  All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:13,14).

No undue pre-eminence for Mary

Mary was counted as one of the 120 people that “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. She is not given any undue pre-eminence. The traditions concerning her later life, exalted position and mediation after her death are not Bible based.

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.

God wrote the Ten Commandments with His own hand on stone twice. The first commandment states: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Being the only true God, the Lord requires that He alone be worshiped. God appeals to us to put Him before all else. And to place Him first in our affections and devotions also goes along with our Lord’s injunction in the sermon on the mount (Matt. 6:33).

Faith in God alone

People usually find it hard to trust in God whom they don’t see and try to put their faith in humans or things of this world (Matt. 6:19–34; 1 John 2:15–17). But we need to trust in God alone. We owe wholehearted allegiance and devotion to Him. Dependence upon humans is unbelief and doesn’t help (Psalm 146:3; Jeremiah 17:5).

We violate the spirit of the first commandment, when we give our devotion to a mere human being like Mary, and forget the One who created all things (2 Cor. 4:18) and suffered and died on the cross to redeem us (John 3:16). By giving our devotion to other than God, we betray His infinite love (John 15;13).

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).

No man can serve two masters

Ultimately, God refuses the worship and service of a divided heart (Ex. 34:12–15; Deut. 4:23, 24; 6:14, 15; Joshua 24:15, 19, 20). Jesus Himself said, “No man can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). He who truly “knows” God will keep His commandments because the “love” of God is “perfected” in him (1 John 2:4–6; Matt. 5:48). For to love God with all the heart is a fulfillment of His law (Rom. 13:10 also Rom. 8:3,4). And this kind of love in our hearts is made possible by the grace of Christ (John 14:15; 15:9, 10).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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