There are probably a few people in the world who are so well known as Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She is revered by some and worshipped by others. One may not accept the Bible and its teachings as the final authority but would still have some respect for this person of marked individuality. In this research paper, I will argue that Mary, the Virgin Mother of Jesus makes a significant contribution to the tradition of biblical scholarship because she is a key figure in all the biblical developments.
Although Mary is well known, it would still be necessary to write a short passage about her life. Mary was born and raised in the small Jewish town of Nazareth. She was probably 14 or 15 when the Archangel Gabriel visited her and announced that she would give birth to the Messiah. It is reflected in the Bible that Mary expressed cheerful obedience to the word (The Gospel According to Luke, chapter. 1, verses 46-56). It is believed that Jesus was crucified when he was 33 and, thus, Mary must have been 47 or 48 when it happened. Before the death on the cross Jesus charged John to take care of His Mother, which the latter did. The remainder of Mary’s life was spent in Ephesus (modern Turkey) with St. John. The Christian tradition has it that she died between the age of 50 and 62 (How Old Was Mary, the Mother of Jesus, When She Died?).
Mary occupies a significant place in the biblical scholarship even though she is viewed differently by Protestants and Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholic tradition teaches that Mary was conceived without sin. That is called “the Immaculate Conception”, which means that even though that Mary’s parents were sinful, God preserved Mary from original sin through a singular act of mercy (McCarthy). That kept Mary from inclination to commit sin and made it possible for her to avoid decay. Catholics believe in Mary’s Assumption, which means that she was taken to heaven bodily after her death. Catholics regard Mary as Mediatrix, Co-Redemprtix and Advocate, which means she can give all graces to people, participates in their redemption and can influence God’s judgment (Robinson). All that shows how much influence is ascribed to Mary in Roman Catholic teaching.
Thus, Roman Catholics believe that because of Mary’s special role in salvation she deserves special adoration. On the level of common Catholic believers Mary is worshipped as someone having a position next to God Himself. Supernatural manifestations of Mary are paid much attention to and there are many sites of her apparition around the world that are revered very much.
At the same time, Protestants believe that Mary was an ordinary human with an extraordinary call on her life. She is respected as a woman of faith and spoken of as an example of a person who was obedient to God even in the face of death by stoning (Fairchild). She assumed the full effect of her possible sufferings and endured to the end, thus, showing a path to follow for future martyrs for faith.
Protestants also believe that Mary was a sinner and, as everybody else, needed redemption. She was believed to be the first proselyte to Christianity. According the Gospel of Luke (The Gospel According to Luke, chapter. 11, verses 27-28), Jesus said that people who were obedient to God are much more blessed than Mary.
Protestants describe Mary as a person who was granted an amazing privilege to give birth to the Messiah and despite her human weaknesses and fears she walked her path honorably (Ankerberg). Mary’s example serves as an inspiration to millions of Christians to be faithful to God’s call on their life, knowing that He would provide protection and provision.
Concluding this essay, it can be summarized that both Roman Catholics and Protestants believe in the virgin birth of Jesus by Mary of Nazareth, who was obedient to fulfill God’s will regarding coming of the Messiah. While Catholics ascribe supernatural and special functions to Mary as Mediatrix, Co-Redemptrix and Advocate, allowing her to play a unique role in people’s life and salvation, Protestants attribute those functions solely to Jesus Christ. However, they pay special respect to Mary as a person obedient to God and teach that she set an important example of trusting God.