Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preparing for His Death - Part 3 (Jn. 12:1-8)

This is my personal summary of Rev Dr Stephen Tong's sermon on 6 November 2011 in STEMI Expository Preaching at True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 12:1-8

In the Bible, top 3 women whose words were recorded most in the Bible are:
1. Rahab
2. Queen of Sheba
3. Mary the mother of Jesus

A major utterance of Mary the mother of Jesus is the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), where Mary said something that even the Roman Catholics could not deny - that she needed a saviour (Lk 1:47). Note that since long time ago the Roman Catholics believed that Mary was divine and had been debating whether she ascended into heaven and did not die, just like Enoch. This debate ended when in 1953, the pope at that time dogmatized that she ascended into heaven and did not die. The dogma next developed into a concept that stated that Mary is the co-redeemer besides Jesus: Jesus is a redeemer and Mary too is a redeemer (the Co-Redemptrix doctrine).

This is completely against the Bible. Firstly, in performing the miracles our Lord Jesus Christ did not need her at all. In John 2 at the wedding in Cana, when Mary asked Jesus to help with the wine shortage, Jesus replied, 'Woman, what does this have to do with me? ...' (or translated 'Woman, what have you got to do with me?') This is because just before performing miracles, Jesus exercised his divinity. Miracles can only be performed by God and man/woman has no part in them. Secondly, while Jesus was preaching and his mother and brothers were looking for him, Jesus answer was based on his divinity, 'Who is my mother? ...' Here Jesus clearly expressed his divine nature as above his mother who was just human. Thirdly, when Jesus was 12 and stayed behind at the temple, his answer reflected that his father was God the Father, even as he obeyed his earthly parents. Lastly, when Mary the mother of Jesus was last mentioned in the Bible (i.e. in Acts 1:14), she joined the disciples in praying before the Pantecost. This implied that she was just a human.

Feet are a man's dirtiest body part and hair is a woman's most glorious body part. But Mary from Bethany offered her hair (highest glory of man) for Jesus' feet (the lowliest part of man) in being used by God to anoint Jesus.

Another Mary used by God is Mary Magdalene. She was used by God to be the first person to tell the world that Jesus Christ had risen after his death.


At 5:13 AM, Anonymous vivator said...

The Catholic Church does not teach and never taught that Mary is divine - this is one of the Protestant's myths. The Church also acknowledges she does need a Saviour, i.e. God Himself.

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Mejlina Tjoa said...

Hi Vivator,

Thanks for dropping by and sorry for delayed reply. Following your post I went reading Catholic Church's official stand on Mary. Firstly, I apologise for Protestant's misquote on Mary's status.

Whilst Catholic Church does not teach that Mary is divine and asserts that Mary is human and also needs salvation (although she is "saved" in a different sense from the rest of the sinful humanity in that Mary is believed by Catholic faith to be without personal sin by God's special grace), it is also true that Catholic doctrines have a lot of emphasis on the person of Mary. She is sinless, the Queen of heaven and co-redeemer with Christ, and Advocate, an object of devotion and prayer -- all these which are usually attributed to the Divine, though now I realise that Catholic church does not actually teach Mary is divine, thus not surprising the misunderstanding on the divine status.

I understand that Catholic Church has an explanation to each of those points I mention, likewise Protestant faith has official response to each of those... which is too long to be discussed in this blog. At this point it suffices to note that the fundamental difference between Catholic and Protestant faith regarding the person of Mary is the level of emphasis on her.

The Protestant tradition strongly emphasises that no glory be given to human which belongs to God alone.


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