When we think of people in the history of Christianity, there are some folks who stand out. Peter and Paul, Daniel and Isaiah, Abraham and Moses, Ruth and Esther. We know that these people experienced God in some great ways and served him well.
Of course, Mary, the mother of Jesus, has to be included in that list of significant Christian historical figures. She was humble. She willingly served the Lord when it cost her greatly. She was favored by God in a special way, an experience that no other person will ever receive. And we should honor her just as we honor any saints of the past who faithfully served the Lord.
But should we reverence Mary in a way that is above other human beings? Should we consider Mary something just this side of deity? Should we think of her more highly than any other character in Scripture who faithfully served the Lord? Should we treat her differently than we treat faithful saints of today?
What would you say if I told you that the Bible speaks of someone, not Jesus, who is more blessed than Mary? Who would you guess it would be? Would you think of Paul or Peter? Would it be a spiritual giant?
Look at this exchange between Jesus and a woman as he taught.
Luke 11:27-28 – 27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
As Jesus spoke with great wisdom and spiritual authority, a woman in the crowd clearly intended to declare his mother a blessed woman. one would think that, if Mary holds a special and sacred office, Jesus would say, “Yes, she surely is.” Had this woman said, Blessed be God,” I can only imagine that Jesus would have responded with, “Amen.”
But here, Jesus offered an alternative. If this lady in the crowd wants to declare somebody truly blessed of God, Jesus wants to give an alternative. There is another person who is blessed that Jesus feels is more important to mention. Who? Jesus said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Who is more blessed than Mary? Jesus says that all who hear and obey the word of God, who hear and keep it, are blessed. Jesus is not putting Mary down in any way. But Jesus is saying that, if we want to think of the blessed, we should not single her out. Instead, we should understand that the one who is truly blessed of God is the one who hears and obeys Scripture.
That means, dear friends, that you and I can be the blessed people in this account. We have been given the word of God. We have the commands of God in clear and understandable language. For the most part, we know exactly what the Lord wants of us. He wants us to turn from sin and trust in Jesus. He wants us to live to the glory of God. He wants us to put away unrighteousness and shine like a city on a hill. He wants us to be about the task of making disciples. He wants us to love one another in the church. And he says that people who do things like that are blessed more than any individual who played any other role in Christian history.