I wept at the arrival of each of our three children. Not tears of pain or heartache but of abundant joy. My heart felt no hint of trouble as I held them in my arms.
That must have been true for Mary and Joseph, as well. Even if they were surrounded by rumors of scandal and slept in a stable, the arrival of this precious gift from God would certainly have pushed all that aside.
On the night of his birth, a heavenly host filled the sky above the shepherds and praised God, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” But that peace came at a cost.
A few weeks later (40 days), however, their joy would be tempered with uncertainty. When the new parents presented their son at the temple, they met Simeon – a man who would rejoice with them and speak a prophetic word about the boy.
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32, ESV)
While his parents marveled at his prophecy, Simeon offered unexpected words, foreboding words.
“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 the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.'” (Luke 2:34-35, ESV)
In her Magnificat in Luke 1, Mary sang of God’s great mercy and the promise of salvation for His people. Now, for the next 30+ years of her son’s life, Mary would have Simeon’s words tickling the back of her mind, wondering how that promise of salvation would play out and in what way her soul would be pierced. How many times did Jesus calm his mother’s fears?
As the hour of his death approached, Jesus soothed his disciples fears. “Let not your hearts be troubled.” (John 14:1, ESV)
They were troubled that night because he talked of betrayal (John 13:21-30).
They were troubled that night because he spoke of leaving (John 13:31-35).
They were troubled that night because he spoke of denial (John 13:36-38).
In the midst of it all, Jesus was troubled, too (John 13:21). He knew what awaited him, and it didn’t slow him down. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” (John 12:27-28a)
Jesus came looking for trouble. Rather than be delivered from it, he wrapped himself in it like a garment. Peace for us meant trouble for him.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
There is no peace in the world like the peace that Jesus gives. Nothing else can soothe your spirit and calm your fears.
Are you troubled? Are you fearful? Do you experience unease, unrest?
This baby was born for your troubles.