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December 25, 2011

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 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35 ESV)

Have you ever really examined this verse closely?  I woke up from my Christmas nap to find this scripture foremost in my mind.  What was Simeon saying to Mary through the Holy Spirit?

After I meditated on it, I went to several commentaries to get other opinions.  The word “child” is not in the original texts, but it makes little difference.  I think I can safely express the thoughts I had upon awakening.

What Mary had not yet experienced was how her son would eventually be perceived by the world. He was to be a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” as Isaiah 53 tells us.  Jesus gives us a glimpse of why He would be rejected and be a “sign that is opposed”:

“…For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37 ESV)

Did you catch that?  The reason He came into the world was to “bear witness to the TRUTH.”  In fact, “truth” plays a major role in His sufferings throughout His ministry and there are 87 verses containing the word “truth” that confirms this. He walked in truth because He is the truth:

“…I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 ESV)

But as for ‘thoughts from many hearts may be revealed’, I can see why.

Even in our lives, speaking truth can make people uncomfortable, even angry, because light and truth are synonymous. When Jesus shone the light of truth on the actions of the Pharisees, they were angered because He shattered the pious façade they projected to the world and their hearts were revealed.  Have you ever been in an impossible “Pharisee” situation and had no choice but to speak the truth to someone regarding a problem you might have with them, or a situation that needed correcting?  If so, you understand the power of truth.  It can hurt, it can heal, or it can divide, but it is necessary for us as Christians to place it in high regard because the Holy Spirit guides us daily through it.

When truth shines its light in the darkness, it uncovers the secrets of the heart.  As we are commanded to walk in it, let us do so with the purest of intentions, and love.

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”  (Ephesians 4:25 ESV)

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