Theotokos

By Shawn Tomlin

In light of recent events in the Roman Catholic Church, the pope made a statement and said something about asking “The Blessed Mother for her intercession.” As a former Roman Catholic, I thought it would be helpful if I address this and what the Bible says about Mary.

Let’s look at what scripture does say, which isn’t much. Mary was a very young virgin betrothed to Joseph of the house of David. Mary is mentioned in Genesis 3:15 and Isaiah 7:14 indirectly, without a name. We also know she was at the Wedding feast at Cana, and was present at the crucifixion of Christ. Very little is known about the mother of Jesus. 

Yes, Mary gave birth to God in flesh, but because it was the Will of God, not because she was “special.”

Our texts are Luke 1:26-38;46-55. Verses 26-38 tell the story of the angel Gabriel telling Mary she will give birth to the Son if God. I can’t imagine how she would’ve felt in that moment with such news. Later, she visited her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. During that visit Mary sings her song of praise, known as the Magnificat found in verses 46-55. I love this song of praise, it’s simply beautiful. The Magnificat closely resembles Hannah’s song of praise in 1 Samuel 2:1-10. Here, Mary seems to speak as a representative of the people of Israel. The focus of Mary in her song was not herself, but God. She speaks of God in two ways, as a mighty deliverer of His people, and a God of great mercy toward His people. 

Mary’s humility is shown in her song of praise. She knew there wasn’t anything special about herself. That’s why she felt so blessed in what God willed for her. This very young, poor girl would carry and give birth to the Messiah, The Son of God. She would care for her Savior, as any mother would care for their son. She certainly had a very intimate relationship with Jesus, no doubt about that. Mary’s humility was shown as she became obedient to the Will of the Father as to take on the responsibility of raising a son, a lifelong commitment, and not just a son but The Son, the Savior of the world. The one who would save His people from their sins. This is only my opinion, but I don’t think Mary knew what her son would have to endure in order to do that. 

The title of this article is “Theotokos” which is Greek for “God-bearer” or “Mother of God.” Yes, Mary gave birth to God in flesh, but because it was the Will of God, not because she was “special.” Mary’s role was greatly important and she was greatly blessed by God, but Mary isn’t all that some think she is. 

Mary wasn’t perfectly sinless, not perpetually a Virgin, not assumed body and soul into heaven, and we shouldn’t pray for her intercession. Jesus Christ is our only mediator. These are some beliefs that I held dear for many years, but let’s focus on what Mary was for a moment. She was humble and obedient to the Will of God. She was a sinful person like the rest of us, and this makes the development of the perfect Son if God in her womb seem that much more miraculous. We must remember that the line of Christ was filled with sin of all kinds, and by his birth, life, death and resurrection he took all that sin on himself, in fact the sin of the world and defeated it on the cross. 

Lee Jones