Daily Lent Devotionals: March 14

“Mary Treasured Up All These Things” All the Way to the Empty Tomb

Luke 2:34 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 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

"Simeon receives Jesus in the Temple" by Simon Vouet, 1640-41

"Simeon receives Jesus in the Temple" by Simon Vouet, 1640-41 (click to enlarge)

As she grieves over the suffering and imminent death of her firstborn Son, Mary’s thoughts might have drifted over to that day they took their precious infant child to the temple. That was for the purpose of her ceremonial purification and her son’s redemption, both according to the requirements of the Law of Moses (Luke 2:22-24). Simeon also looked forward to this coming Consolation until the last days of his life, as he burst into a song of praise and thanksgiving for God’s salvation for all peoples through this infant son.

Simeon did not comment on how sweet and tender this baby was, because the Holy Spirit revealed to him that Jesus would be the Savior, not only of Jews, but also of all the nations. Instead, he has a warning in Luke2:34-35, “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.”

Jesus will divide mankind into two groups: one will rise, the other will fall. Those of you who embrace Him as Messiah, and who trust in His perfect obedience alone for salvation, will rise with him to his glorious throne to partake of the blessings of the kingdom of God. But to those who reject him, as the Jews did, who give only lip service to his commands will fall into judgment. Paul says of the gospel, “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23). If this gospel is foolishness to you, you will surely stumble against the “Rock of offense” (Rom. 9:33), and “to fall into the hands of the living God” is a fearful thing on Judgment Day (Heb 10:31).

As God’s sign of salvation to mankind, Jesus will be opposed, “despised and rejected by men” (Isa 53:3). He would grieve his mother Mary greatly, because wicked men will nail his hands and feet to the cros. The Psalmist foresaw this, “For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet” (Psa 22:16).

After he died, a wicked Roman soldier pierced his side with a spear to make sure he was dead, “and at once there came out blood and water” (John 19:34). Not only was he surely dead, but the blood and water confirmed that Jesus was a true human being with a real human body. Again, this was a fulfillment of another prophecy, “They will look on him whom they have pierced” (Zech 12:10).

Seeing his Son crucified and dead on the cross must have greatly pierced Mary’s soul, as Simeon prophesied. How much sorrow can a mother endure? Ever since lowly shepherds came to worship her newborn baby in Bethlehem, “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

But not until Jesus was raised from the dead did she and the other women, and John and all the other disciples, put everything together: all that Jesus taught and all the events in his life and death. Truly, this man was “appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed!”

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