34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
As we began, so we end this Christmas Eve day, with the words of Simeon.
When he was done prophesying, he turned his attention to Mary and spoke those words. There was a great foreshadowing here, and later, throughout the Lord’s earthly ministry, did He not reveal the thoughts and hearts of men?
Did he not admonish those He called to follow?
The World’s Hatred
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Did He not give us the reason?
7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.
Did He not tell is we would share in His suffering, as well as His glory?
20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
And yet, though it says she pondered these things in her heart, she forgot. On the day they went looking for Him, he was an embarrassment, and they thought He was out of His mind. This was especially striking, because every day, Mary was in His presence. Every day, was she not reminded of the miracle of His birth? Reminded of the angel’s visit? Reminded of her song? Reminded of the visit to her cousin?
She watched Him grow in favor and wisdom with G-d and man, so why would she think He was out of His mind all those years later, even after the enigmatic words He spoke in the temple as a child?
A House Divided Cannot Stand
20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”
It is because we also forget, Brothers and Sisters, that the divine love of the Father afforded us the means to reconcile with Him through Jesus, and only through Jesus can we do so, and we do not understand divine love even as we fear divine judgment.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Only abiding in Him do we have the ability.
John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
His teachings were hard for some to understand and follow. They turned away.
For others, their worldly wealth got in the way of their mission. They chose their wealth.
What is it for us, today? The commercialism, the career, the emphasis on things and saving money, going about our everyday lives, and making of His sacrifice, as the writer of Hebrews says, ‘a common thing.’
29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
We are repeatedly told we cannot fathom mind of G-d. Why redeem us in this way, when He has the power to cleanse all and start over, as He did with the flood? He didn’t create a new man, he preserved a remnant of a righteous one, and He did it all through the Word, searching for them, and putting His hedge of protection around them even as He delivered them in their fallen states into enemy hands.
We fail to understand our worthiness of grace, and therefore are keenly aware of when we’ve received it for our own sins. That is the piercing of our souls: and with it comes sorrowful repentance, purification, and the chance to return, and like the prodigal go from: “Father, give me–” to “Father, make me…”
We ever reduce the things of Heaven to the things of man. “The Big Man in the Sky.” Really? “The Energy of the Universe.” It just exists with no source?
No, let’s not be sidetracked by the foolishness of celebrating solstices. Let’s not have our own questions cause us to doubt. If we say we believe in the promise of salvation, in our humanity and day to day struggles, there are times we will forget, but it isn’t Jesus out of His mind. It’s us out of fellowship, no longer abiding, because the pasture in the valley looks greener, though it’s shrouded in shadows and death and fire.
But when we do, let us be still, and remember that He yet still rejoices over our coming to Him, as He came to us.
Let us remember to take up our crosses, and count the cost.
Let us remember that we share in His suffering, to be mocked and persecuted.
Let us remember we will be tempted, and that there are times we will fail.
But most importantly, this Christmas, let us remember that He loved us first, and came down to be with us, to speak the heart of the Father to us, and His will for us, and left us a reminder in His Word that we can access whenever we want, no veil, no sacrifice, no law.
Let us ponder these things in our hearts, and remember.
Let them pierce our own souls when we forget.
May it be to us as He has said.