Treasured

I’ve often wondered about Mary’s motherly relationship with Jesus. I think her heart as a mother was one that could never be replicated. Tonight I was reading in Luke, and came across a couple of things I’d never noticed before.
When the shepherds came after Jesus was born, they ran off and told everyone. The Bible says all who heard it were amazed.
But not Mary. Luke 2:19 says something I picked up on tonight that really struck me.
When my kids do something adorable, cool or whatever- I want to tell someone about it. I call my husband, call my mom, post it on Facebook, message a dear friend or two… I just want to be like the shepherds and share that with someone.
But not Mary.
She had just given birth to a literal God-given gift. This child was announced by the angels themselves and her “baby shower” (or what she was afforded) was attended by the heavens. I would think, and I’m no scholar, that the families of those closest to them were probably somewhere close by with the census happening. She could have shouted from the inn rooftops that she was the mother of the coming Messiah… but she didn’t.
Luke 2:19 says Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Quietly, inwardly and with only internal dialogue… she stored all these moments like treasured jewels and internalized them in her heart.
Later, Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel and was no stranger to the Holy Spirit. In fact, he had been told he wouldn’t die until laid eyes on the actual Messiah. So he gets the spiritual prodding to go to the temple courts.
Mary and Joseph, obedient to the custom of the Law, were there to do the required purification rites. He was to be presented to the Lord as the firstborn male, and they had to offer a sacrifice.
There was Simeon, who knew the minute he saw them what he was witnessing. He took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory of your people Israel.”
Joseph and Mary had already been told who their child was, but they still marveled at what was said about him.  Then Simeon blessed them and said something to Mary that kinda makes me think I’d have been looking around wide-eyed and a little freaked out, if we’re honest. He said, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. AND A SWORD WILL PIERCE YOUR OWN SOUL TOO.”
Like… K… thanks, guy.
Anna the prophet was there, too, since she never left the temple. Literally. Day and night she was there. She’d been married a whole 7 years before her husband died, and then stayed a widow for 84 years. She worshiped all day, every day. She stopped what she was doing and came to speak to Mary and Joseph about Jesus, as well as everyone else.
Mary didn’t walk in and announce it, nor did Joseph. They were just following the Law and custom. It was those who were close to God and had a relationship already with the Holy Spirit (pre-Pentecost), who stopped in their tracks and made the motion to recognize him.
So Jesus turns 12, and they go to the festival of Passover, again as was dictated by custom. It seems they were in a rather large group of family and friends, because they suddenly realize after traveling for a day that he’s not there. I can’t imagine the panic. Not only have you lost your son, but also the son of God for whom you’ve been made responsible. I’m sure it was one of those “I thought he was with you!” moments. So they backtrack, and looked for THREE DAYS (!!) before they finally found him in the temple courts, hanging out with the teachers, asking questions and impressing them with his understanding of this grown up talk.
Mary finally gets a little less introverted and wants to know why he has treated them as such. She says “Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” The Bible ends this with a “.” but I know I would have needed about 8 dozen exclamation points there.
Jesus says, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Which of course made zero sense to them. It notes he then went with them and was obedient to them. I think that, in itself, is an interesting note, too. He didn’t have to be obedient, but he was. He regarded them as his parents and did what they said.
But Luke 2:51 notes again, that Mary treasured all these things in her heart.
If only we could read a memoir of the things she stored away. I love this. I feel like she was sentimental and a loving mama. I have no doubt they raised him with love and with the best of intentions. They probably made some mistakes. It doesn’t say. It just says Jesus was obedient to them. It then says Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. He was a well-liked guy.
From here, the Bible fast-forwards to when Jesus is 30 and begins his ministry.
But I love that the Bible takes time to note these things about his childhood and his relationship with Mary. To be honest, sometimes the phrasing in later stories of dialogue had me wondering about this relationship. She obviously adored him, and there was a tenderness there I’d never seen before today.
I need to focus more on storing these tiny details and stories in my heart, too.
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Found

One of my favorite songs right now is “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury.

The chorus is as follows:
“And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah”

Someone who means a lot to me said, “I don’t get that song you like. That line about the ninety-nine.”

That line comes from Matthew 18:12-14, where Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep. He said, “‘What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.'”

As I typed this out, I wondered how to word it so that folks wouldn’t immediately get offended with a “What about me?” reaction. I can’t paraphrase it, though, to be more palatable. I mean, I’m not here to reword the Word, right?

As I thought about this, the parable of the Prodigal Son also was laid on my heart. The older son in that story had a similar reaction. He was with his father the whole time, kept his orders (commandments) and, yet, felt cheated because his father celebrated the return of the younger son with all his best he had to offer. The son confronted the father about it. What gives?

Luke 15:31 says, “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

We aren’t losing out by not wandering away and coming back. The brother who stayed had his reward coming for him in due time, as do those who stay the course. At the same time, those who do and return are a big deal to God. I, myself, was a lost sheep who came home. While I was saved when I was 6, there was a period where I simply lost sight of my identity in Christ. I regret the time I lost in companionship with God, but I am so grateful for what I’ve regained. I am thankful that Christ doesn’t see his sheep as expendable. Rather, we are worth searching for; worth dying for.

Alive again. Found. Redeemed.

It’s never too late to come home. He waits with open arms to celebrate with you, too, and has already laid out the best there was to offer.

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