Mary Treasured These Things
Three times in the Christmas Story it is mentioned that Mary pondered and treasured these things in her heart.
The first time was when the shepherds came and told her everything the angels had said to them concerning her son.
The second time was when Simeon prophesied over her son at the Temple.
The third time was when Jesus was twelve years old and had been missing for three days.
Yearly, the whole family, including extended family, went up to the Temple in Jerusalem to observe a feast. After departing Jerusalem to head back home, they discovered He was missing (Luke 2:42-52). Many relatives were traveling in a caravan, and one thought He was with the other and vice versa.
They came back to Jerusalem and searched for Him. Mary and Joseph found Him at the Temple sitting with the teachers. When His parents expressed how distraught they were in searching for Him, Jesus said, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49 NKJV)
Mary has been honored for centuries for being chosen to give birth to the long-awaited Messiah and to be the mother of the Great I AM.
The prophecy spoken by Simeon at the temple about a sword piercing her soul came true when she witnessed her son being beaten, scourged with 39 stripes, a crown of thorns being placed upon his head, Jesus carrying the heavy cross to Calvary and collapsing under the weight of the heavy load, being crucified, being spit on and ridiculed, being stripped naked on a cross and finally dying.
Her sorrow was turned to joy when she saw Him alive again after His resurrection. Then she felt grief and loss again when 40 days following His resurrection He ascended into Heaven. It would be years before they would be reunited in Heaven.
Mary was among the 120 people waiting in the Upper Room for ten days following Jesus’ ascension. He told them to wait until they were endued with Power from on High (Luke 24:49). When the Day of Pentecost was fully come, the Holy Spirit was poured out. They spoke in languages they had never learned before. The early church was birthed (Acts 2).
The sword also pierced Mary’s soul as it related to the family situation. Jesus’ family was not believers prior to the resurrection. Therefore, the family was divided and Mary was caught in the middle.
While Jesus was still hanging on the Cross, He entrusted the care of His mother over to John the Beloved disciple (His cousin). John was the brother of James and son of Zebedee. Jesus said, “Mother, behold thy son … John, behold thy mother” (John 19:26-27). From that day forward, Mary lived in John’s home for the rest of her life.
Normally, the custom was that one of her other sons would take care of his mother for the rest of her life. However, Jesus chose John. He knew that His mother would be the best cared for by John.
It is recorded that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. He also had sisters, although their names, and how many sisters, are not mentioned (Matthew 13:55-56).
At the time of Jesus’ death, his siblings were not believers yet. However, they eventually became believers and even leaders in the early church. The most well-known of Jesus’ brothers is James, who was a leader in the Jerusalem church, who wrote the Epistle of James.
Jesus, who foreknew the future, knew that His brothers would become martyrs for the Gospel’s sake. John was the only one who was not martyred and lived to be a ripe old age (around 97).
It is believed that Mary died in Ephesus where she and John were living.
Mary was a woman of courage, grace and strength. She endured many years of scandal and people whispering and gossiping about her and Joseph.
Those around them believed that she and Joseph had conceived a child out of wedlock. That is what it appeared to be. Joseph married her sooner than they originally planned, and when doing the math, it was obvious that Mary gave birth to Jesus less than nine months after she and Joseph were married.
Only a few in Nazareth believed that Jesus was the Messiah. To most people in Nazareth, He was just the son of a carpenter.
To be a vessel used by the Lord, like Mary, you may have to drink a bitter cup. There may be reproach and suffering that you have to go through in order to carry Jesus to the world. You may have to put your life on the line for the Gospel’s sake. However, a blessing and reward will be yours for an eternity.