2/21 Luke 2:34-35

34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."

Simeon was in the temple in Jerusalem, waiting to see the coming of the Messiah. When Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus there, the Spirit revealed to Simeon that this baby was the One. Simeon broke out into a prophetic utterance, describing Jesus as a light for the nations. This was a phrase from the Suffering Servant Songs of Isaiah that were written seven hundred years earlier about the coming Messiah (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6).

Simeon went on to predict that Jesus was appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel. That was certainly true, but not in the way most would have thought. Instead of political rising and falling, God was addressing spiritual elevation and casting down. Those who saw and heard Jesus and then believed were mostly the common folks. Many were even outcasts like the tax collectors and lepers. They were spiritually raised up. But those in power and religious authorities were not only cast down in the eyes of many, but shown the true condition of their heart as they opposed the goodness of Jesus.

A sword must have entered Mary's heart as she saw her Son hanging from the cross. When it looked like all was lost, the faith of all Jesus' followers was tested. Mary must have questioned the words of the angel that announced Jesus' birth (Luke 1:32). God was warning Mary through Simeon that the life of her Son was not going to be what she might expect.

Consider: Life is rarely what we expect. When life is not what we have expected and a sword pierces our hearts, will we trust in the One who knows all and has all power? Will we believe the words of God through the authors of Scripture that teach that all things are in God's hands? We will experience pain and may not understand what God is doing at times, but we can trust that He will bring us through in a way that ends in our eternal good. Trials reveal the true condition of our faith.