Over the years, I have had several people ask me why I call Mary mother of God. In my experience, this question stems from a misunderstanding that the title is intended to elevate Mary’s status instead of on the recognition of Jesus as God.
When we look at Church history, we see that this issue came to a head in the fifth century. There were those who were pushing for Mary to be called Mother of the Messiah, but at the same time, there was a great dispute about Jesus’ divinity.
The Bible itself does not prophecy a divine Messiah. The Messiah was just a person anointed by God. Thus, one could say that David was a Messiah, as were all of Israel’s kings and some priests and prophets. Based on this understanding, Jesus could have been simply a very special man, like Moses, like David.
The problem with this is that our salvation had to be accomplished by Jesus, who was both divine and human. One who is simply man, could not offer the proper sacrifice. The perfect sacrifice was by one who was both.
By claiming Mary to be the mother of God, we cement the understanding that Jesus was divine. We wash away any doubt that Jesus was just a special person, a special man chosen by God. We conclusively state our belief in the divine nature of Jesus.
So, today many celebrate the woman who gave birth to a divine human who came to save us. However, this focus on Jesus is not intended to diminish Mary’s special place in the heart of the church. Only Mary was specifically created for the task of being the mother of God. She is the ark of the new covenant. One need only look at the language in the book of Exodus which laid out the design specifications for the ark of the original covenant to understand just how special is the womb of Mary. Her example of humbly accepting this task from God deserves recognition and respect.
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit pondering Mary as a mother of God. Does this title cause you discomfort? The Holy Spirit is the source of Truth, so ask him to enlighten you on the truth of Mary’s role in the church, and how she was not a human like other humans. By this I simply mean that she was specifically created for a specific purpose. Ask him to help you have a proper respect for the one to whom Jesus was obedient, for Jesus perfectly lived the original covenant, which required him to be obedient to his parents. We see this obedience in the story of the wedding of Cana where Jesus did as his mother requested, even though he hesitated at first. Feel encouraged to sit with any tension between what you have been taught and where the Holy Spirit might be leading. Ask him to clear away any untruth in your previous teaching, and even in regards to anything I might be saying. Ask him to open you to any Truth you have yet to fully see.