How did Jesus relate to his mother? What did he think of her and what did she think about him? In Roman Catholicism Mary is worshiped as the Holy Mother and people pray to her. But would Jesus have approved of this?
Luke 11:27-28 (NIV) says no:
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you."
He replied, "Blessed RATHER are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
See in those times, if a person was Holy, their mother was given credit for it. Jesus said she shouldn't be. Further more he is saying she wasn't blessed, or he would have said “Blessed ALSO”. You could even infer that the reason she wasn't blessed was because she didn't hear the word of God and obey it. That's a pretty confronting thing to say publicly about your mother. What did he have against her?
Well, Matthew 13:54-60 NIV says:
Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own HOUSE is a prophet without honor."
According to the Jewish definition of of the word, which Jesus would have used, a prophet is someone who God speaks to. This suggests Mary didn't believe her son was a prophet. In fact, there is a passage which suggests she thought he was possessed by demons!
Look at Mark 3:20-21:
Jesus and Beelzebub
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."
Now in those days, a person who was “out of his mind” was considered to be possessed by demons. For instance look at
and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
Mark 3: 22-30 shows that others also thought he was possessed:
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons."
Jesus' answer was Mark 3: 28-30:
I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."
He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit."
This passage is interesting. Fist it says his mother and brother went to get him because they thought he was crazy. In those days that meant demon possessed. It says the teachers of the law also believed this. Then Jesus tackles this by saying he wasn't demon possessed- he was possessed by the Holy Spirit, and by saying he was crazy they were slandering the Holy Spirit and calling it evil. This was a sin that would never be forgiven. Maybe he was going further and saying that his own mother and brothers could never be forgiven.
It even sounds like he disowned them for this. Mark 3:31-35 says:
Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you."
"Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
Here he snubs his mother and brother by saying that he didn't consider them his real family- his real family were the people who believed him. He was also saying his family didn't do God's will- ie they shouldn't be calling him away from his ministry.. It's clear he didn't love them or treat them with respect. In fact, maybe he even hated them.
In Luke 14:25-26 it says:
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
Sounds like he was responding to an accusation from the crowd that he hated his parents, only that got edited out.
The fact that he wasn't affectionate towards his mother is borne out by the scene where she's at the cross. Look at John 19:25-35 (NIV):
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Notice, he didn't say, as you'd expect, “dear Mother”. She was just a woman to him. Also, when he presented her to the disciple, he said “here is your mother, not “here is MY mother, now she is yours....”.
Now you'd think that his mother would be crying, but there's no account of her doing this at all. Even if she knew he was going to rise from the dead, you'd still expect her to cry at the suffering of her son. She seems to only be at the cross so Jesus could do his duty to find someone to provide for her after he's gone. There's no sign of love or affection at all on her part in this scene. Or afterward either. It was his friends who were there for him in the end.
For instance, she wasn't there at the last supper. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were there when Joseph placed Jesus in the tomb (Mark 15:46-47 (NIV), but Mary wasn't there or they would have said so. And who was it that went to the tomb after passover? it was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome who brought spices to anoint Jesus' body (Mark 16:1). Joanna and others are also mentioned (Luke 24 10) Behind them were the 11 disciples, but not the mother of Jesus. True, in Jewish custom, one got others to prepare the body for the family, so that's OK, but who does Jesus appear to after the resurrection?
He appeared to Mary Magdalene,(Mark 16:9), then to his disciples, to 500 brothers, and then to Paul on the road to Damascus, but again, not to his mother, and really, wouldn't you expect him to? If you were resurrected, wouldn't you go to your grieving parents FIRST? Just to reassure them you weren't dead? Again, if he HAD appeared to his mother, the scriptures would certainly have said so. So the estrangement continued even after he had been resurrected. True, in Acts it shows her praying with the disciples, but she was totally dependent on them for her support. She had no choice. But even if she then was convinced, there is no sign at all that the disciples revered her, or that they worshiped her.
To be fair, there is one point of affection recorded from mother to son:
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
Burt that was when he was still a child.
Now I know someone who thinks her son is Holy and a gift from God. She never stops talking about it. The normal thing would be that whatever he did, his mother would be thrilled, but as we see, this wasn't the case. You'd think with all the angels telling her about her son and the divine conception etc etc she of all people would believe him but she didn't. He knew it and in the end he was estranged from her emotionally.
So all in all, the worship of Mary is totally out of place. While Jesus was alive, and even after the resurrection, there was no love lost between the two of them. Jesus would probably be incensed that people thought there was. And how would he feel about people praying to HER rather than God? Surely if he wanted people to pray to her he would have said so. Instead he displayed contempt towards her, which shows how truly far from the truth some Christian practices really are.