“And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34,35
I can’t help reading these words of Luke and not thinking about his choice of words with her. What words? “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) And then, those words happen again a little later, “And he [the child Jesus] went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:51) And why is that significant to me? Because, Simeon, the prophet who has been waiting for God to reveal His Messiah, declares that this Jesus, this 40 day old baby is the One. But it’s not just that. It’s the way he talks about the sword piercing through Mary’s soul and that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.
Will Mary’s heart be pierced through because her son is crucified? Or is it an even worse piercing? For Mary, will it take the crucifiying of her son and his resurrection for her to fully understand that even though he was her son, He is not her son? He is more. He is God’s Son first and foremost. And she must submit to Him just as she submits to God. She needs Jesus more than He needs her. Jesus is her salvation. Is it a rude awakening when we realize our absolute need for You, Lord? That I’m not the one who holds things together, but You are? That even though I was chosen to bear You in my body, You didn’t just die for me, You died for all mankind?
What of Mary’s heart on the day that she and the family came for Jesus. And someone in the crowd announced they were there. “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” He asked. “And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, He said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’” (Matthew 12:48-50, Mark 3:33-35, Luke 8:19-21) Now tell me that hearing that was not painful!
Imagine that you have birthed this child. You’ve been told who He will be. But you don’t totally understand how it will all play out. Along the way, there are little glimpses of His glory, but most of the time, He’s just a kid, your kid. At eight days old, he is circumcised just like all the other boys, and given his name, Jesus, as the angel had declared. I bet things were uneventful up until his 40th day when they went, according to custom to dedicate Him to the Lord during the purification of Mary. All the Jewish mothers went through the purification. If they gave birth to a girl, there was a purification process, and another if they gave birth to a boy. For the first born males, there was a special dedication where they were called “holy to the Lord.” This was normal tradition. But it wasn’t just normal tradition for Jesus.
For Jesus, this was the true fulfilment of what the “traditions” were set up to point to. This was no longer symbolic. Jesus was the first born Son of God. He was truly holy to the Lord. This was fulfilment of God’s will. This was fulfilment of Scripture. This was God bringing to light the Truth, no longer just pointing to the Truth by pictures and shadowy images. This was the Daystar lighting up the Truth for us to see.
And the truth is that coming to the Truth hurts. Why? Because I have to be changed. I have to let go of things I have always believed about me, about the world, about God, and take hold of the Truth instead. I have to let go of things being mine or being my way. I have to let go of control and hand it over to God. I have to let go of my children and hand them over to God. I have to stop hiding things inside and let them out and turn them over to God. I have to stop putting things into my perspective and allow God to put them into His perspective for me. I must be willing to lose what I thought was mine to gain what God has for me, like the truth in Jesus’ words when He tells us, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)
Has this same sword ever pierced through my own soul? Have you ever shown the real thoughts of my own heart? Have I ever layed down all of who I thought I was, to let You make me all of who You created me to be in You? Has the Truth ever hurt? Or am I still to busy turning a blind eye? Am I still just pondering in my heart? Have I never let You give my heart understanding? Have I never let You take the veil off my face, or remove the scales from my eyes? I can’t change myself. It will never happen. But that’s ok, because You alone can change me. So help me to lose my self so that I can find myself in You, empowered by You and alive in You.