Luke 2:22-35 (ESV)
And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 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 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
The story seems straightforward enough at first. Simeon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declares that he’s finally seen the Christ. But then he says that Jesus is, “your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
All peoples? Gentiles? His parents knew he was the Christ, but not like this. And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.
Then Simeon really takes it up a notch and says, “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.”
Wow. Every time Mary turns around, she gets hit with another warning. And notice that Simeon blessed them, and then added this note just for Mary.
Blessings in the Bible are a lot weightier than ones we normally hear.
What does it even mean to be blessed? By our standards was Mary blessed?
Not if our standards are reflected by what we typically pray for. There is not a single indication anywhere in scripture that Mary got any of the things we normally think of as blessings.
Did any of her kids become doctors? Lawyers? Were any of them successful in any traditional way?
No, instead she walks one of the toughest roads in human history. She even has to watch her firstborn put to death by the state. It also appears that she was windowed early on.
Yet Mary is considered one of the most blessed people in history.
The Kingdom of God is different.
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