Tuesday, December 28, 2021
One of the most enjoyable experiences of my life is to purchase a car. It’s been a long time since I bought a brand new one (1976 to be exact), but getting a nice used car is still a thrill. I used to do it fairly often, and got quite a reputation as a negotiator. If I were to go looking for a different vehicle right now I would go to a couple of places that I trust and start to check over their used car selection. I would find the one that I wanted in the price range I could afford, and after bargaining for the best possible price I would sign the papers and drive it home. One thing I would not expect from the car dealer is to have the salesman pull me aside as I head for my “new” vehicle and tell me that I can expect it to cause me all kinds of problems and cost me a lot of money to maintain. Why would he wait until after the sale to tell me this, and why would he sell a car like that in the first place?
I wonder if Mary felt a little bit like that when Simeon told her that Jesus would cause a lot of heartache for her?
Luke 2:34-35 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
I know how I felt when the doctor told me that my daughter would need heart surgery when she was 2 years old. I’m sure you have experienced similar emotions in response to difficult and sometimes tragic news in your family. Here was Mary, just eight days after the birth of the Son of God, being told that there was a time coming when the tide of public opinion would be against Him and her heart would be broken by that. The very people that Jesus had come to save would reject Him and she would not be able to do anything about it.
She got her first taste of that rejection when Jesus was about 2 years old. The reigning king of Israel tried to have Jesus killed, and the family had to flee to Egypt. Imagine what it must have been like for Mary to know and understand the truth about her Son and yet have everyone else reject that truth. Imagine the nights of loneliness and hopelessness that must have come upon her. Maybe you don’t have to imagine them because you are experiencing them. You find yourself asking the question, “What can be done?”
It is our human nature to want to fix what’s wrong and fulfill what’s right. Jump ahead in the life of Christ to a wedding Jesus was attending when He was 30 years old. The host of the wedding did not plan for enough wine and has run out. Mary seizes this opportunity to introduce the truth about her Son to the world and suggests to Him that He can fix the problem. It was not the responsibility of Jesus to get more wine, but mom was looking for a way to show off her Son. For 30 years she has remained faithful to the truth about who He was and His purpose in coming to the earth. Whether she was right or wrong to suggest His involvement in this wine problem is not the issue: the real issue is that the things she treasured in her heart about Jesus had not only sustained her for all of those years but had equipped her to take a step that would result in the piercing of her soul and the breaking of her heart. She told the servants to do whatever Jesus said, not what she wanted. She had learned the wisdom of living by an eternal perspective and not an earthly one.
My friends, the world will reject us when we live holy lives in gratitude to a redeeming God. Our hearts will be broken by the rejection of our spouses and children and those we love. But remember the words of Simeon – there will be those who will rise because of Jesus just as there will be those who will fall. That was obviously Mary’s focus. That is to be our focus as well. Our defense against the sword of the world piercing our hearts with rejection and tragedy is the Sword of the Word of Truth that gives us an eternal perspective. Then we can say with Mary, “Do whatever He tells you.”