“While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.’ But He said, ‘On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.’” (11:27-28)
I was debating whether or not to wade into this topic today. I believe I’m mentioned in the past, or maybe just in other blog posts about the very historical tendency to gravitate to a fertility goddess, and what that did to Mary.
While Mary, and other people in the Bible who were cool enough to be dubbed righteous are great examples to us, we must refrain from taking this honor too far.
As Jesus recently mentioned,
“I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (7:28)
Maybe living in Europe has made me extra leery of patron saints. It’s a nice idea from a distance, but up close, it reeks of idolatry.
Unfortunately for Mary, both the Catholic and Orthodox churches deified her. So much so, that many Muslims believe she’s one of the members of the Christian Trinity (replacing the Holy Spirit). Many historians chalk this up to the fertility goddess worship that existed everywhere before Christianity was made state religion. Reluctant converts could carry their love for Asherah, Artemis, Isis, etc. through a woman who birthed the Messiah, although a virgin. What’s more powerful for a fertility goddess than that?
Perhaps this was the sentiment (Israel had a long history with Asherah) that prompted someone to make a blessing proclamation on his mother. What he says in response doesn’t disrespect Mary, it highlights what’s important:
Is there any greater example of faith than obedience? Mary was humble and obedient, saying, “Let it be” when confronted with the extraordinary news of her upcoming pregnancy. She was very cool.
John was also very cool, but Jesus says that anyone who in this Kingdom is similarly so.
I see a lot of friends these days taking their feminism (which I get, I’m also in full support of women being treated as equals to men and honored for the ways they’re different from men) to dangerous heights.
Instead of idolizing our role models in the faith, honor them in similar humility and obedience to Our LORD.
Also, while a woman’s ability to give birth is truly a miracle, it should not be linked to her worth, which, it very regularly was throughout history. Think of the shame the barren women in the Bible felt before the LORD opened their wombs. I know a lot of women, today, who struggle with their worth as they face infertility.
In this simple sentence, Jesus opens the doors of The Kingdom to even those who can’t have children, men and women alike.
His Kingdom is for the barren woman, the eunuch, the parents of many, the disabled, the infertile, everyone.