Monday, February 29, 2016

Luke 2:33-35

Luke 2:33-35
And His father and mother were marveling upon the things that are being said regarding Him.  And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold!  This one exists for the fall and rise of many and into a sign while speaking in opposition to some.  And a sword will penetrate your same soul so that the thoughts should be disclosed out of many hearts.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

I have the same thought every time I read Luke 2:33.  The thought goes like this: “Really?  Mary and Joseph marveled?  How could you possibly be surprised by anything about Jesus when the angel Gabriel comes and essentially says that He is the Son of God?”  Truthfully, I’ve often wondered if Mary and Joseph were slow learners.  However, I am becoming quicker at finding humbleness in that thought.  We are human beings living in a fallen world.  We are so accustomed to the greed and selfishness of the people around us – and even within ourselves – that God’s action will always surprise us.  These words don’t mean that Mary and Joseph didn’t understand what was going on.  These words mean that they were amazed with the fresh reminder of God’s hand at work.  When I phrase it this way, I think we see something in Mary and Joseph to admire.  They weren’t amazed in confusion; they were amazed in joy.  It was amazingly refreshing to be reminded about how God’s hand was at work in the world.

Are you ever amazed at how God’s hand works in you?  Where are you refreshed by God’s presence in the midst of this world?

Second Thought:

Simeon’s words to Mary show us the typical anticipation of God’s Messiah.  Simeon says that Jesus will be the fall of many.  Jesus will be the rise of many.  Jesus will be the one who brings the deep thoughts of our hearts into the light of God.  But we also know that God will use these words in ways that even Simeon couldn’t imagine.  It is the proud who fall.  It is those who refuse to be humbled who will fall.  Specifically with Jesus, it is the religious leaders who will fall.  It is those who embrace humbleness who will be lifted up.  It is the poor and the lost and the downtrodden who will rise in Christ.  We know this to be true, but it is a truth that is best understood from a human perspective in retrospect.

When has God been a stumbling block in your life?  When has God taken you out of humbleness and lifted you up and allowed you to rise?

Third Thought:

Simeon also has a special message for Mary.  Simeon says that this same sword will pierce her very soul as well.  Many people think that this speaks to the pain that she will go through while watching her Son die upon the cross.  This certainly may be the case.  I can’t imagine that the experience of watching your child being crucified would be able to be described as anything less than soul-piercing.  However, I’m not convinced that this is the focus of Simeon’s words.  As we read through the Gospel accounts, we know that even Mary has her struggles with Jesus’ identity.  There are a couple of times that we are told that Mary and Jesus’ brothers come to Him and try to get Him to come home because they think that He is out of His mind.  I personally think that this is Simeon’s warning to Mary that she will also have to come to grips with the message of Jesus and humble herself.  We know that she does, so the warning ends well!  But I cannot imagine that this would have been an easy process for Mary to endure.  Humbling ourselves before God is never an easy process for anyone.

Where are you successful at being humble before God?  How can that feel like a sword piercing your spirit?  Where do you struggle being humble before God?  Could you describe your lack of a desire for humbleness as an attempt to resist being pierced by God’s sword?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 2:36-38
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