The Advent part 24
Mary the mother of Jesus was also among the women who had gathered with the disciples and Christ’s brothers in the upper room. It is for the last time that her name is mentioned in the New Testament, and the way in which her name is mentioned does not denote a superior status of any kind, but rather a modest one.
To call Mary the ‘queen of the apostles’, to say that on the day of Pentecost she was the first to receive the Holy Spirit then subsequently give it to the others, or that shortly after her death she rose again and was taken up to heaven are hypotheses with absolutely no Biblical foundation. Although the cult of Mary is still going strong today, there is no Biblical foundation for their claims, and as such must be rejected and disregarded.
There are many practices and traditions taking place in certain denominations today that were adopted from the Gnostics of old, which have no basis in the Bible, and nothing to do with the true and lasting faith that Christ presented as the only way into the kingdom of God.
Gnosticism, although seemingly benign, is the bridge between paganism and Christianity. When we attempt to mix the mysticism of Gnosticism with Christianity what we have is a polluted and dangerous amalgam of the sacred and the profane that leads to death rather than life, that leads to destruction rather than redemption. It is through Gnosticism that countless pagan practices entered the church, and they have remained, unhindered to this day. More could be said, both about the Gnostics of old, as well as their modern day equivalents, as well as the traditions that are still being practiced within many churches that have nothing to do with God, but since this is an exegetical discussion on the Holy Spirit, and more precisely the first two chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, we will shelve this particular discussion for a more appropriate time.
In this verse Luke was also sure to mention the brothers of Jesus, who were likewise gathered in the upper room.
In the New Testament, which in the beginning was written in Greek, the word ‘brother’ can have one of three meanings: The first, is that of blood brother, two siblings sharing the same mother and father, or having just one of the parents in common. The second meaning that the word ‘brother’ can have in the original Greek is two men of the same nationality or tribe, and the third is brothers in the faith, or two individuals sharing the same belief system. There is no fourth category.
Now when Luke speaks of the brothers of Jesus, he is speaking of His blood brothers. These were not Christ’s ‘cousins’ as some in certain denominations contend, but rather they were the offspring of Mary and Joseph, who had a family after the virgin birth of Christ.
When the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the New Testament to write concerning the Christ, and the teachings of the Christ, teachings that the church would subsequently need throughout the ages until His glorious return, He left no room for doubt, ambiguity or interpretation. The Holy Spirit was precise in the wording He used, and when the word ‘brothers’ is used in regards to those who were in the upper room, it does not mean ‘cousins’ by any means. The word cousin is used in the New Testament, in another context, so we see that it wasn’t a gaffe or a poor choice of words as certain denominations contend.
Colossians 4:10, “Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him).”
I have segued into this topic for just awhile, because there have been many disagreements and discussions in regards to ‘the brothers of Jesus’ and they are still going on today. Some believe as it is written, that these were in fact the brothers of Jesus, while others insist that they were His cousins.
During the first few centuries of Christianity, this particular topic was a nonissue for believers. They believed as it was written. It was only later, sometime during the fifth century when the cult of Mary began to grow and expand, that defending the perpetual and eternal virginity of Mary became of great import for them. The Word itself however contradicts the claims that Mary remained a perpetual virgin, or that she had no children after giving birth to Christ.
Matthew 13:54-56, “And when He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, ‘where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?’”
Mark 6:3, “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ And they were offended at Him.”
The fact that Mary had children after the birth of Jesus should not be an issue unless your intent is to worship Mary, and as such must convince yourself that she remained perpetually immaculate. We however do not worship Mary, we do not venerate Mary, we worship Jesus the Son of the Most High God, the One who came to give His life that we might have life in Him. To worship anyone, or anything other than Jesus, is to practice idolatry, it is to go against the Word of God and command of God that we ought not to have any other gods before Him. Can we admire Mary for the life she lived and the fact that she was chosen of God among all other women to bring into the world the Savior of mankind? Sure, there is nothing wrong with that. Should we worship her for it, and pray to her? Absolutely not!
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.