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Is Mary more important than Jesus? Can I pray to her?

Some church traditions say that Mary was born without sin and now serves as a mediator between man and God, and that as such she is worthy of praise and prayer. However, these claims are not supported by the Scriptures which must always be our ultimate source for what is true.

We read in the gospels of Matthew and Luke the announcement to Mary of the conception of Jesus as a baby. In Luke 1: 28, Mary is spoken highly of by the Angel Gabriel, who called her “highly favoured” and tells her “the Lord is with you”, and her obedient response is certainly to be admired (‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’ Luke 1:38). However there is no evidence here that Mary is sinless or above any other woman, or that she is to have a greater role than the birth mother of Christ (which was certainly a great task). Mary is mentioned again near the start of Jesus ministry (along with others of his family) and again at the crucifixion, but none of these accounts point to her role as anything other than a loving but still human mother (although see Mark 3:20-35, where we see Jesus’ mother and brothers thinking Jesus was out of his mind!). Other than these accounts, Mary does not appear in the rest of the Scriptures, and none of the teachings of Jesus or His apostles suggest she is to be revered or worshipped. The claim of Mary (or anyone else) as a mediator is clearly false, as shown by the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy; “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” 1 Timothy 2:5, and in Romans “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” Romans 8:34.

Furthermore, Jesus himself announces He is the only way to the Father, which completely removes the possibility of other mediators; “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”” John 14:6. As such, claiming Mary acts as another mediator between God and man, or is in some way more important than Jesus, is simply incompatible with the truths revealed in the Bible. It is Jesus who is clearly the focal point of the Gospel accounts and indeed the Bible as a whole.

It is important that we always stay true to the teachings of the Scriptures, which is God’s Word itself and cannot lie. If a particular theology or teaching is not supported by the Bible it cannot be from God, and is at best a misinterpretation of God’s word or at worst a heresy. We are commanded to be vigilant and discerning on such matters, as we are warned that false teachings and heresies represent a serious threat to God’s people (Colossians 2:8, 1 John 4:1, 2 Peter 2:1-3, Romans 16:17). If after careful study, you cannot find biblical support for a teaching or doctrine, be it concerning Mary or anything else, it is best to disregard it.