Treasure and Sword - Part 2

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart: Gabriel’s words, the visit with Elizabeth, Jesus’ birth, the shepherds’ visit.

But there was more to the story. Simeon tells Mary that her child Jesus will divide the nation. Some will believe in him and rise. Some will reject him and fall. Jesus will be opposed by many, because he will expose men’s hearts. Watching what happens to Jesus will pierce Mary like a sword.

For 30 years Mary pondered these words, and they tested her during Jesus’ ministry.

• Her other children didn’t believe in Jesus. Surely she’d told them about the miraculous conception and birth. They didn’t buy it.

• The Jewish leaders that Mary grew up revering viciously opposed Jesus.

• Things went terribly wrong when John the Baptist, son of her beloved Elizabeth, was beheaded.

• Things got worse. Jesus was accused of blasphemy for claiming to be God’s Son. But he is God’s Son.

• Mary watched Jesus die the death of a criminal—Roman crucifixion reserved for the vilest offenders.

• The sign nailed to the cross mocked her, “King of the Jews.” That’s what she’d been told by Gabriel. The words were crystal clear in her mind. So where’s the throne? Where’s the kingdom? How can an angel be so wrong?

A sword was piercing her soul. Confusion and misunderstanding crushed her dreams and smothered her hopes.

Where’s the justice? How can an innocent one be put to death instead of the guilty ones? Did she understand? Could she?

What about us? Are we so different from Mary? Our lives are also a mixture of treasured events and a piercing sword.

We’ve all had joyous moments, abundant blessings and happy times too numerous to count— memories of family, friends, laughter, announcements, celebrations.

And we’ve all had hopes that died, dreams that faded, hardships and loss that can never be healed in this lifetime. We too have misunderstood God’s mysterious plan. We’ve had promises that now seem to make no sense. So here is a question for you to ponder:

when you hear the Christmas story, is the beauty of it marred by the sword?

No, because we know what Mary didn’t. We know the end of the story.

The sword that pierced Mary saved us. Mary’s sword became our treasure.

What can we learn from Mary? When your world is rocked, when a sword has pierced your soul, don’t let the sword mar the beauty of the treasure.

Hold on to God’s Word even when it seems to make no sense.
Trust God that there is more to the story than you’ve been told.
Press on faithfully, so that one day your sword will be someone else’s treasure.

God’s plan for each of us includes both the treasure and the sword. In humility and submission, may we respond as Mary did, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

4 comments to Treasure and Sword – Part 2

  • Paulette

    You have a great way of retelling the most beautiful story of all time 2 wonderful posts Thank you.

  • Richie

    Wow, I never have just made a list of all the things that pierced Mary’s soul. That list is overwhelming. And probably not what she expected when she signed up to mother the King of kings. Yet she did endure to the end even though she could not see the bigger picture. Your pointing this out, that even the mother of Jesus lived a life of testing and bewilderment, is an encouragement to me to press on and trust God in all things even when they make no sense. I have trouble relating to Mary as the mother of the messiah because I haven’t been there, but I can relate to her as someone who has been in the trenches thinking “this is not what I envisioned”. Thanks for a fresh perspective.

  • Christal

    Thank you for these lovely and comforting insights, Janet. I am enjoying reading this blog of faithful Word Warriors.

    • Hi Christal, thank you for your affirming words. It seems that every Christmas there are so many hurting people and so many tragedies. I have to work at it to keep everything in perspective. God’s Word gives us a healthy picture of the human experience. Thankfully this is not our permanent home. We’re just passing through.