What was the sword the pierced Mary’s heart?

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When Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple, they met Simon who was a just and devote man. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Simon took Jesus up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation” (Luke 2:28-30). But he added a specific message to Mary saying, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:35).

In the above verse, the word “sword” is given symbolically to describe the sorrow that would pierce Mary’s heart in the future for she was to witness the sufferings of Christ as He hang on the cross to gave His life for the redemption of the world (John 19:25). This was the first NT prophesy of the passion of Christ which were spoken by the prophet Isaiah in chapters 52:14; 53:12. These mysterious words of Simon were kept in Mary’s heart as an omen of sad future events. The fact that Simon addressed only Mary not Joseph implies that Joseph would not see these events.

Mary needed to know what awaited Jesus because like all the Jewish people, she expected the Messiah to rule over the house of Israel and conquer their enemies – the Romans. This was the prevalent concept of the Messiah at the time. Even the disciples, and in spite of Jesus’ repeated declarations (Matthew 17:23; Mark 9:31; Luke 9:22) that He would suffer and die and be resurrected in the third day, they still could not abandon their cherished hopes of a glorious earthly kingdom (Mark 10:37; John 18:36).

However, all these worldly expectations of the Messiah were shattered at the cross and the Lord in His mercy wanted to prepare Mary’s heart to what was going to happen that she may not lose hope and be swept away by grief and disappointment. The comforts His children with tender pity. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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