Luke 2:1-20 19“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”
There are some events in life that cannot be absorbed or processed in a moment or a hour or a day or a week! There are some things that happen to us that take a life time to grasp; to understand fully the significance of what happened.
Luke tells us Mary was pondering these things that happened to her in her heart! She was mulling them over in her heart; thinking about them over and over again!
Have you thought deeply and at length about this great mystery of the incarnation; the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!
As we approach the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus, I would like to stimulate your thinking; first to think backward and then to think forward!
There is of course the present; that is the time at which Mary experienced the birth of our Lord Jesus! I am sure that her mind was full of all kinds of possibilities. How would these things work out? How would her child grow? What would happen to him? But when we think about these things our minds must move back in time; back to these events that took place some 2,000 years ago, and even further back as well.
Our minds push back before Mary and Joseph and the birth of our Lord; back to the prophets who spoke to Israel of his coming Messiah. These events in Mary’s life were taking place as fulfillment of the prophecies of old: Isaiah 7, 9, 53, Jeremiah, Daniel 7, Micah 2, and many more; think about it.
But then our minds must drift back beyond even the prophets, before the prophets, back to the promises that were given to Abraham and Sarah: In you Abraham, all the families of the earth shall be blessed; you shall have descendants too many to number, more than the dust of the earth, the stars of the sky, and sands of the sea. Jesus is that promised seed of Abraham who has brought the blessings of His Gospel to all the families of the earth; to every tongue, tribe, and nation on the earth. (Genesis 12, 13, 15, 17)
But then our minds must drift back even beyond Abraham and Sarah; they must drift back to another couple which preceded them; to Adam and Eve; for God spoke to them after they had sinned and had been sentenced to death; and He promised that one (a seed, a descendant) would come from Eve who would crush the serpent’s head and gain victory over evil: sin, death, and hell. (Gen. 3:15)
All of this, the promises to Adam and Eve, the promises to Abraham and Sarah, the predictions of all of the prophets, all of this comes to fulfillment on this night and Mary had the front-row seat watching it all unfold before her very eyes!
But then as we ponder these things we can let our minds drift back even a little farther. Back before the world was created; back to a time when there was only the perfect and blessed unending and never diminished joyous fellowing of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; when in the eternal counsel of the Godhead, the Father chose to save a people for Himself out of the whole of deservedly perishing humanity. It was when it was determined before the foundation of the world that the Son would be the One to come into this world and suffer the unparalleled humiliation of being wrapped up in our human nature, to be born of a woman and that in a low condition, even though He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, to be made under the law, even though He is the law maker, and to be subject to the miseries of this life and to death itself, even though He is the way, the Truth, and the life!
As we ponder these things our minds cannot grasp it! The glory of it, the magnitude of it, is too big, too grand, inexplicably magnificent!
But then our minds start to drift forward, not to the next year, or the next decade, but on to a time when Jesus shall come again, not as a baby in a manger but as a great king, a mighty victor; and how glorious shall that be!
The incarnation is not one isolated event to be focused upon in isolation from the broader picture of the work of redemption, what the writer of Hebrews calls this SO GREAT SALVATION! It is one event in the unfolding of this great work of redemption which begins before the foundation of the World and continues into the World to come!