My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
My Soul Proclaims the Greatness of the Lord
God has shown great favour to the virgin of Nazareth. Through
her the eternal Son of God became human and came to the world for our salvation.
The church rightly calls her the “Mother of God according to the manhood”. It is
no wonder that wherever the gospel is proclaimed, God’s people call her blessed.
To keep her from vainglory and pride, the Lord adorned Mary
with a wise and humble character. To the greetings of Elizabeth, Mary answered,
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” As for herself, she was amazed
that God would look favourably upon “his handmaid’s lowliness”. Her only desire
was to glorify and praise the Lord God Almighty, and certainly not herself.
Sadly, throughout church history specious titles were
attributed to Mary, totally ignoring her own desire. Some call her ‘the gate of
heaven’ and even ‘our life’ and ‘our hope’. But the Bible calls Jesus alone our
door, our life and our hope.
In 1858 and 1950 the Roman Catholic Church proclaimed the
dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption even though the Bible is
silent about these doctrines. The Bible explicitly teaches that Jesus was
conceived without sin (Hebrews 7:26); and being perfectly holy, just and
undefiled, he was qualified to die for us, the unjust, to bring us to God (1
Moreover, after the shame of the cross, God the Father raised
up Jesus and received him into the glory of heaven. God demands that every knee
should bend at the name of Jesus. At this very moment, along with all the saints
and angels, Mary is praising and worshipping the Lord Jesus. We too ought to
join with the mother of our Lord and the heavenly hosts to give Christ the Lord
our undivided devotion, for he is worthy to receive thanks, honour and praise
His Mercy is from Age to Age
In my childhood days, my religion teachers presented a
distorted image of God. They told us that the Lord is a stern Judge and we
should not dare approach him directly. We were advised to pray to Mary, the
kind-hearted mother, so that she will intercede for us before her Son. Surely
Jesus would not refuse anything his mother asks him, we were told.
Mary refutes such foolish arguments. Mary gloried in the
goodness of the Lord, insisting that “his mercy is from age to age to those who
fear him.” After all who made mothers sweet and kind? Should we then doubt the
kindness of the Creator, the font of all blessings?
Mary herself experienced the kindness of the Lord. When Jesus
was hanging on the cross, even a short time before his death, he was concerned
about her well-being after his departure. He commanded his close friend and
disciple John to take care of her. “Woman, behold, your son,” he told her, and
to John he said, “Behold, your mother,” implying that it was his responsibility
to care for her as a son cares for an aging widow. We are told that from that
hour the disciple took her into his home (John 19:26, 27).
Mary wants us to appeal to him in our needs. At the wedding
in Cana, when Mary noticed the problem, she prayed to Jesus for help, and told
the servants to do whatever he tells them. We ought to do the same. We ought to
pray to the Lord for our needs and intercede for others too.
After the Lord returned to heaven, Mary prayed with the
disciples to the Lord. Nowhere in Scripture do we find an example, permission or
commandment to pray to Mary or the departed saints after their death. If you
truly respect Mary, follow her example and always seek the Lord in your prayers.
The Lord Jesus himself invites us to go directly to him. He
promised, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you
rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus never turned back anyone who came to him. His
disciples tried to keep away the young ones, but he said, “Let the little
children come to me.” The people tried to silence the blind man, but Jesus heard
his cry and restored his eyesight. Jesus reached out to the lepers, the outcasts
of society, touched and healed them. With stones in their hands, the mob was
about to stone the adulterer, but Jesus -- the only one who could have condemned
her -- forgave her. Even at his very last hour, he promised a place in heaven to
the repentant thief.
Friend, do you suppose that the Lord will not keep his
promise, or that his heart has become hard? Do you think he will not receive you
if you sincerely turn to him? Come then, come to Jesus today.
Come to Jesus for he alone is the bridge that spans the
infinite gap between the holy God and sinful man. “For there is one God. There
is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself
human, who gave himself as ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5, 6). Mary gained
heaven by his power and merit, and so will you if you believe Mary's testimony
about the mercy of God, and by faith rely on him for forgiveness.
My Spirit Rejoices in God my Saviour
In my childhood I used to call on the name of Mary every
night and commit my soul to her care, as I had been taught by religion teachers.
I also remember praying, “Jesus, Mary, I love you, save souls.” I was sincere,
but I was mistaken. Today I am concerned for the millions of Catholics who
continue to call on the name of Mary for salvation.
A popular Catholic devotional gives this advice, “Let us
then, 0 devout reader, beg God to grant us, that at death the name of Mary may
be the last word on our lips.” It concludes with a prayer to Mary, “I ask thee,
0 Mary, for the glory of thy name, to come and meet my soul when it is departing
from this world, and to take it in thine arms.” [Link]
In Scripture, Mary never invited sinners to come to her for
salvation. On the contrary, Mary recognized God as her own saviour. “My spirit
rejoices in God my Savior,” she said. Should we then dishonour the blessed
Mother of our Lord by calling on her name to save us? Or should we rather follow
her godly example and turn to the Lord for our salvation?
No one can save except Jesus. The apostle Peter declared that
“salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven
given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
There is one name, and that name is not the name of Mary. The
only name by which we can escape the fire of Hell is the precious Name of Jesus.
For he alone is God and man. He alone is the Christ, appointed by God the Father
to rescue his people. He alone shed his immaculate blood to free his people from
their sin and the wrath to come. Mary did not die in our place. Mary cannot
save; she herself needed to be saved. Nonetheless if you trust yourself in the
hands of the Lord, just as Mary did, you too can share Mary’s joy, and sing with
all the redeemed, “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”
The Name of the Lord
God promises salvation to all who call on the name of the
Lord Jesus. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans
10:13). Many people simply ignore the promise of the gospel because they would
rather continue to indulge in sin. Others reject God’s promise because they
don’t really believe him or his Word - that we are saved by his mercy and not on
account of our righteous deeds (Titus 3:5). They expect to merit heaven by their
righteousness and religion. God will have nothing to do with them.
I beg you, come to God. Come, even though you are helpless
and burdened with sins and guilt. Come with full confidence in his goodness and
kindness - the cross of Jesus is the ultimate proof of God’s love for
undeserving sinners. Don’t attempt to approach God on account of your personal
merit or through Mary or anybody else. Come to God by faith, through the one and
only mediator, Jesus Christ. “He is able to save completely those who come to
God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
The Catholic devotional tells you to call on the name of Mary
even with your last breath. But that is not what the Bible tells us. When the
first Christian martyr, Stephen, was about to die, he called on the name of
Jesus. “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my
spirit” (Acts 7:59).
What, then, is your decision? Would you follow the Catholic
teaching or the Bible?
I trust in the Name of Jesus and the name of Mary for my
salvation, even though the Bible warns us that “salvation is found in no one
else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must
be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Like Mary and all Christians, I trust in the Name of the
Lord Jesus alone, for it is written in the Scripture that “everyone who
calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Along with Mary
and all the redeemed, I rejoice in God my Saviour.