Summary: The events of Jesus' conception, birth, presentation at the temple, the shepherds and the Wisemen are all swirling around in Mary's head. What could they mean? Some seem contradictory. What does it mean that she treasured and pondered them in her heart?
What do these two accounts have in common?
Luke 2:19, 51b (LEB)
“But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering them in her heart.”
“And [Jesus’] mother treasured all these things in her heart.”
To ponder: to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply
To treasure: to hold or keep as precious
“In her heart …”
In our culture the heart is the center of emotions
Heart bursting with pride
Hating with all your heart
Loving with all your heart
To be troubled in the heart
We think of Mary the mother of Jesus mostly at Christmas time, at the wedding in Cana of Galilee and at the crucifixion of Jesus, but, what about the rest of her life?
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have biographies of some of the main characters of the Bible?
I mean, look at Noah. The Lord says, “Build an ark” and the next thing God is saying, “OK. Noah, you’ve got seven days.”
What happened in the 100-120 years between those events?
Did the Lord come down for progress reports?
Did Noah need to ask the Lord for solutions to certain problems?
What happened during those years? Enquiring minds want to know!
The same thing applies as we follow Mary through her life. What happened?
Perhaps the Lord did not give us that information because He knows that we as humans seem to get distracted from the main focus easily.
For example: why did the Lord take Moses away from the Israelite camp when he died? Was it because the Israelites would have somehow tried to preserve his body and make it an object of worship? This is the only time in the Bible that you read of an angel and the devil fighting over a human corpse! (Jude) If the devil had dragged Moses’ body back to the Israelite camp would they have made an idol out of it?
Is that why there's no detailed biography of Mary's life?
Anyway, let’s try to walk through what we know about Mary’s life with the idea of what she might have been pondering in her heart.
Mary was indeed a righteous woman, chosen by God to bring His One and Only Son into the world.
So, what were some of the things Mary was treasuring and pondering in her heart?
Luke 1:32 LEB
“This One will be great, and He will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.”
Luke 1:33 LEB
“He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Luke 1:35b LEB
“The one to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”
The shepherds and their story of the angelic announcement …
Simeon’s prophecy Luke 2:30-32 LEB
“My eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory to Your people Israel.”
His father and mother were astonished at what was said about Him.
Luke 2:34b-35 LEB
“Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed - and a sword will pierce your own soul also, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed!”
Wow! What a mixture of exaltation and calamity! How could anyone make any sense of it?
What exaltation! Son of the most High - throne of David - Kingdom with no end - the Son of God - angels announce to shepherds - shepherds worship - He is salvation - glory of Israel
How on earth does all of that mix with Simeon’s second pronouncement?
Luke 2:34b-35 AMP
“Listen carefully: this Child is appointed and destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that is to be opposed - and a sword [of deep sorrow] will pierce through your own soul - so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
So, it seems as if Joseph, Mary and Jesus stay in Bethlehem for up to two years.
During that time Joseph is working. Jesus is eating, sleeping, spitting up, learning to roll over and to walk and to talk and doing what infants and toddlers do.
Mary is tending to the home and raising Jesus and still these prophecies and events are rolling around in her head. What does this mean? How can this be? Can they both be true? Treasuring the good things in her heart. Pondering the warnings in Simeon’s prophecy.
Treasuring and pondering in her heart. Are the memories starting to seem like a distant dream?
Then, something totally unexpected happens.