And His [i.e. Jesus’] father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed–and a sword will pierce even your own soul–to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
– Luke 2:33-35 NASB
Today’s passage picks up where yesterday’s left off. That is, Joseph and Mary had brought Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem when He was still an infant in order to offer the appropriate animal sacrifice in thanksgiving for the birth of a firstborn male. While there, they encountered an old prophet named Simeon. Yesterday we read what Simeon said prophetically about Jesus, which is why today’s passage says, “His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.”
Even though Mary and Joseph both knew from angels – and from the way that Jesus was conceived – that their child was unique, they could still be “amazed” by the things Simeon said. We are looking at this infant in hindsight, but remember that they were learning everything as they went. Jesus had not yet done miracles, had not yet died on the cross, had not yet been raised from the dead. All that lay in His future. Therefore, Joseph and Mary didn’t know exactly what to expect from this child even though they knew that God was involved in unprecedented ways.
Today’s passage goes on to say that this child would be a polarizing figure in Israel. This must have “amazed” Mary and Joseph as well, for they probably hoped, if not expected, all Israelites to rally around Israel’s Messiah. Yet this would not be. Messiah would dramatically polarize the citizenry. Some would love Him enough to die for Him…and others would hate Him enough to kill Him.
No one would be able to predict in advance who would embrace Jesus and who would reject Him. The answer to that question resided deep in the hearts of people. Yet the unfolding of God’s plan would reveal the thoughts of human hearts. It’s still that way today: reaction to Jesus reveals the true state of the human heart.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, we only think we know our hearts, but You truly know them. Please reveal to us what is wrong in our hearts so we can remove it…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.