Topic: Grace for a season of pain
Text: Luke 2:24-35(TLB)
Key Verse: Simeon blessed them but then said to Mary, “A sword shall pierce your soul, for this child shall be rejected by many in Israel, and this to their undoing. But he will be the greatest joy of many others. And the deepest thoughts of many hearts shall be revealed.” Luke 2:35(TLB)
The birth of a child is always a source of joy to family and friends, but no one ever knows what path that child’s life will take in the years to come. So was the case of Jesus, Mary’s baby.
Though the angels had prepared her for the birth of Emmanuel, the circumstances of his birth were not too pleasant, and there was no place for him to be born except in a stable. Do we always expect that God’s presence means the absence of difficulties?
Many remarkable events occurred at the birth of Jesus, like the visit of the Magi from the East bearing gifts and the arrival of shepherds after a company of angels announced his birth to them. Joseph and Mary wondered who their baby would become, but nothing was as scary as the prophetic words of Simeon in the temple on the day of the child’s presentation.
Joseph and Mary just stood there, marveling at what was being said about Jesus. Luke 2:33
Mary was happy to release her son to help people with his gifts from God; little did she know that the ministry would become so great that he would have no time for himself or his biological family. She must have rejoiced whenever she heard stories of remarkable healings and even the resurrection of dead people.
Once when his mother and brothers came to see him, they couldn’t get into the house where he was teaching because of the crowds. Luke 8:19
She believed in his teachings and ministry, but l don’t know if she knew how much pain her son would go through to fulfill all the prophecies concerning him. News of his arrest would not have come to her as a surprise, knowing how the Jewish leaders had always opposed him. But she never imagined the journey to Golgotha.
As she stood at the feet of the Cross with other women, it is hard to describe the trauma she would have experienced knowing her son only came to do good. The angel said his name was Jesus because he would save his people from their sins; she watched him live and fulfill God’s purpose for his life.
And she will have a Son, and you shall name him Jesus (meaning ‘Savior’), for he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21(TLB)
How did she find the strength and courage to hold on to her faith in such a season of pain? Even when many turned from following, she was at the prayer meeting in the upper room after his ascension.
Mary is a model of strength that comes when we embrace the will of God, no matter the cost. The grace of God was evident in her life through the different seasons of birth, parenting, and releasing Jesus to fulfill his call. God’s grace provides the believer strength to hold up in any situation.
Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.” And then the angel disappeared. Luke 1:38(TLB)
Each time he said, “No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power instead of showing off my own power and abilities. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Whatever the days ahead bring, God’s grace is all we need. We must learn how to access this grace for ourselves to triumph over the hard times and distresses of this season. Be it the loss that has come from natural disasters, the ill health of loved ones, or the distress of unemployment, God’s grace will be all you need.
“When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don’t quit. Don’t cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you’ve run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived. Matthew 10:22(MSG)
What does this text teach you about a season of pain?
How did Mary’s posture and attitude help her?
What can l learn about God’s grace?