Sunday, December 10, 2017

Why I Hail Jesus and Not Mary

Mention the phrase “Hail Mary” and football fans think of a desperation pass usually thrown by a team trailing in the final seconds of a close game. The phrase became part of the football lexicon following a 1975 NFL playoff game in which (to my disappointment) the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach revealed he “closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary” before throwing the winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Drew Pearson.

The traditional Hail Mary prayer recited by Catholics like Staubach goes like this…

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

When witnessing to Catholics, I’m sometimes asked about praying to the Virgin Mary. There are reasons why that is unscriptural…
  1. Mary did not remain a virgin after Jesus’ birth. Matthew 1:25 says Joseph “...did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.” Mark 6:3 reveals that Mary had at least six other children. 
  2. Mary acknowledged Jesus’ divinity. In John 2:5 she told the servants at the wedding feast in Cana, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
  3. Mary did not live a sinless life and therefore should not be worshipped as part of the Godhead. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
It could also be pointed out the phrase “Hail Mary” is not in the Bible. The only times the word hail is used to express acclaim was when Roman soldiers mocked the Lord (“Hail, King of the Jews!”) prior to crucifying Him.

We can be grateful for Mary being a willing vessel that brought forth our Messiah. As she told the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:38, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” However, that doesn’t mean Mary is to be deified. I’d rather hail King Jesus.

“See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!” - Revelation 19:10

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