When the eight days were completed for His circumcision, He was named JESUS--the name given by the angel before He was conceived. And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male will be called holy to the Lord) and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons). – Luke 2:21-24 HCSB
Wise men rarely claim to be wise. Knowledgeable teachers often complain about their lack of understanding of their subject matter. Tzaddikim strive for, but do not profess sinlessness.
In fact, the more righteous the person, the more sensitive they are to their many small flaws. A fat person is happy that they can make it around the block. An athlete complains when they run the mile a second slower than Olympic time!
Mary never claimed to be sinless. She claimed to be God’s slave. She claimed her God-given authority over her Son as He grew up. She lay claim to his care. But she also admitted her sinfulness by making this sacrifice.
Mary and Joseph offered a sacrifice that according to the Law was made in order to acknowledge one’s sin and indebtedness to God. To claim sinlessness on her behalf is to directly contradict the scripture that says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Mary would never have claimed to be greater than her illustrious ancestor David who said, “Indeed, I was guilty [when I] was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me.” He also came to the tremendous realization that if the Lord were to keep tally of our sins, none of us would survive. After all, who can say “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?”
Am I trying to denigrate Mary? Not at all. The Scriptures are clear in that she had found favor in the Lord’s eyes. But so did Noah and David. Are we going to claim sinless perfection for them too?
The point is first, that we must understand that there is only one Good, and that is God. There is only one person who was tempted by sin without succumbing and that is the Son of God. All the rest of us have failed that crucial test and need a Savior.
Second, we must never so lionize a person that we grant them characteristics that may rightly only be ascribed to God. Doing so causes us to be guilty of idolatry.
We are to love and appreciate our spiritual leaders, but we must keep in mind their inherent sinfulness, not following them beyond the Scriptures and placing protective barriers around them to ensure they do not fall - or at least if they do that they fall alone.
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