Ever wondered what it might have been like to be the mom of Jesus? There is much to Mary’s story; it is an interesting read from the Gospels in the New Testament. Rather than give a broad view of Mary’s story, I would like to focus on one part, the dedication of Baby Jesus.
When our babies were a few months old, we had them each dedicated as part of the church service. It is a special time when parents can’t help but beam with pride. A flower, such as a fragrant rose, is handed to the mother. A card tucked inside a child’s Bible is handed to the parent whose hands are empty. Then the pastor reaches for the baby. He takes it in his arms while he prays over this precious bundle from heaven, asking God to bless the child as it grows.
Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem for his dedication. Perhaps it was similar in purpose to mine or yours, but there was a distinct difference in the words spoken over this baby.
It so happened that Simeon was the officiating priest that day. God had promised him that before he died, he would see with his own eyes, the prayed-for Messiah of his people. Perhaps every time parents brought their new baby for dedication, he wondered, is this the special Child?
When Simeon saw the Baby, he knew this was the Messiah. He gently took the Child from Mary’s arms, held Him up and praised God, saying, “O Lord, you have kept your word to me. You have let me see the Instrument of your salvation which you are sending to us to save all people. He will be a saving light to the world and an honor to Israel.” Luke 2:28-32 CW
We felt humble pride when our babies were prayed over. We also realized the awesome responsibility that was ours to rear our children to know how much God loved them. No doubt Jesus’s parents felt the same awesome responsibility; however, there was one huge difference ~ they were rearing the Son of God!
Unlike us, Jesus’s parents heard a stinging pronouncement as part of their dedication. I wonder what crossed their minds when Simeon added these words:
“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” Luke 2:34b-35 NLT
My baby? What do you mean, “pierce my soul?” If you were Mary, can you imagine what would go thru your mind, wondering what Simeon meant by such harsh words? Wouldn’t such a happy event be overshadowed with feelings of impending doom? The parents may have wondered, how long will we have our precious child before something dreadful happens to him?
Those of us who have buried a child know a bit of Mary’s sorrow, do we not? We can read ahead in the gospels about her Son’s death. Joseph had long since died, leaving Mary to suffer alone. She, along with Jesus’s disciples, had to watch Him be brutally beaten before His flesh was pierced to a rough-timbered cross, bringing the long-ago prophetic words to life.
If I had been Mary, I don’t know if I could have watch such horror, and yet, how could she not? He was her child. She struggled thru pain to give Him birth. She loved this child with all her heart. He grew up to became a Man among men, and at His death her soul was pierced.
I feel a likeness to Mary as I, too, struggled to bring my firstborn into the world. He was tiny, a bit immature, and his cry reminded me of the meow of a newborn kitten. I held my breath. Was he healthy? His cry sounded so weak. He was little, but he grew to be strong. No parents could have loved him more, but then he did the unthinkable . . . and ended his pain. When my firstborn died by suicide . . . my very soul was pierced.
No one is ever prepared to lose a child from any cause, but when one is blindsided with death by choice, without a doubt, it pierces the soul. Every Mom who feels her soul was pierced by the death of her precious child, has something in common with Mary.
There will come a day when there is no more sorrow or suffering or pain. No death. No suicide. No disease. At long last families will be reunited permanently! Nothing but joy and gladness forevermore!
Once I become familiar with my new heavenly surroundings, I may look for Jesus’s mother and engage her in conversation. We might compare notes about how our kids grew up in different parts of the globe and thousands of years apart, and then, how their lives ended, forcing us to outlive them. I would imagine that I might come away from such a conversation grateful that Mary’s story was not my story . . . mine was bad enough. I think it would naturally follow that both of us are very grateful to have our sons with us for eternity . . . because hers saved the world!
He was pierced for our sins; He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment and pain that made us whole was placed on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 CW
Scripture from The Clear Word Paraphrase (CW) and the New Living Translation (NLT)