Luke 2:34-35 - 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 — 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul — to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." NASU
Jesus' teachings would cause some Israelites to fall and yet His same teachings would cause others to rise. How is this possible? It was the same teacher, teaching the same lessons and yet some would benefit from His teaching and others would fall according to Simeon's prophecy.
My answer says it depends on the "heart" of the hearer. Take a candle or even a crayon and some moist clay soil and lay them all on a plate in the hot sun of the Arizona desert in the middle of August. The candle or crayon will be melted while the clay will simple become hard and brittle. So what is the difference? It is the material of which the item is made. Some hearts are open to the gospel message while others become hard.
Some Israelites hearts were hardened with prejudice and pride. While at the same time some hearts were humble and open to Jesus' teachings.
What is your heart made of today? Are you open to Jesus' teaching or do you know it all?
Mary was hearing a mixed message. On one hand, Jesus was going to cause people to fall or stumble and on the other hand at the same time He was going to help people rise.
Every parent wants to believe their children are going to be used by God to help others and I am sure Mary was no different.
Simeon says, "…and a sword will pierce even your own soul…" What I believe this prophecy means is when Mary watches Jesus die on the cross many years from now it will feel like a sword has pierced her soul.
Any parent who has lost a child probably knows to some degree of the pain that Mary is going to experience. How could she not feel like a sword pierced her soul? She watched Jesus, her Son, be tortured right before her very eyes.
As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ, please don't forget the reason He was born. He was born so He could die for us. He was the Light of the world. He came into this dark world and some didn't want to hear His message of light, life and hope. They wanted Him to go away.
He went away for three days and then He came back for all to see. I hope that you will be one of the ones that "rise" on account of Him. After all it will be better to "rise" than "fall" because of Him.
Today's preparation determines tomorrow's achievement.
Gary A. Serago
Minister of God's Word
Gary A Serago.