Monday, March 5, 2018

Mary the "Theotokos"

"The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).

The highest title ever bestowed on a woman by human beings is the title theotokos (pronounced in English “thee-OH-te”-kos”). It means “bearer of God.” Now when the church fathers bestowed this title on Mary they did not mean anything so crass as that Jesus derived His divine nature from Mary. Rather, what they meant was that Mary was the mother of a child who was God Incarnate.

Think for a moment, women, of the awesome responsibility you feel at the thought of bearing and rearing a child. Imagine what Mary felt at the responsibility of bearing and rearing the Son of God. What kind of a woman would God choose for this task? When I think of heroes and heroines of the Bible, surely there is none greater than Mary. I am aware of the tension between Protestants and Roman Catholics over the role of Mary. The Roman Catholic Church has exalted Mary to such a high state of veneration that Protestants have often reacted by down-playing who she was.

Notice, though, what the Bible tells us about Mary. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” These words were spoken by Mary’s cousin Elizabeth under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:42). The Spirit inspired Mary herself to say, “From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is His name” (Luke 1:48–49).

Mary’s statement is found in her prayer of adoration, which begins “My soul magnifies the Lord.” In Latin, the first word is magnificat, and her song is thus known as the Magnificat. It is sad that so few Protestant churches sing the Magnificat, because it is one of the greatest hymns of praise ever inspired by the Holy Spirit. If you want to make a radical improvement in your prayer life, memorize the Magnificat. It is the song of the bride, and all of us are members of the Bride of Christ, the church.

If you do not already know the Magnificat, copy it out (Luke 1:46–55) today. Begin to work on memorizing it. Take an opportunity to read this passage with your family on the next Lord's Day.