The First Christian

I love Mary as the mother of our Savior. As a former Catholic who was taught she was an intercessor to Christ, I had to learn to comprehend she was only chosen to be his mother. She, too, was a sinner who needed a Savior. She deserves to be admired and respected but certainly not worshiped or prayed to.

While I found “The First Christian” very interesting, I think it had two notable flaws. First, Mary Magdalene would be the first Christian. Believing in the promise of the Messiah does not make one a Christian. Trusting in the crucified and risen Messiah is what makes a Christian. Mary Magdalene was the first human to witness the resurrection; therefore she would be the first Christian. Secondly, McNutt and Peeler ignore the fact that Jesus’ mother and brothers tried to interrupt his ministry (Matt. 12:46–50; Mark 3:31–35; Luke 8:19–21)! In doing that, the authors miss the opportunity to talk about how Mary, like many of her illustrious ancestor-kings, was a good person who did something wrong. That one wrong thing didn’t make her bad, but it does remind us that Mary’s story isn’t about how good she is. Instead, Mary’s story, like every Bible story, is about God, who is in control and works with flawed vessels whom he dearly loves.

Thank you for this excellent exegesis and proclamation of Mary’s important role in Scripture, and for the illuminating information about not only Luther’s devotion to Mary, which I knew, but the witness of Zwingli (who knew?) and Calvin. Mary’s “be it unto me according to your word” has been important to me since my early 20s, and she calls to my heart repeatedly when I’ve visited Marian ...

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