Sunday, November 28, 2010

Treasuring and Pondering Christ

I am surely not the only preacher to utilize this verse during Advent-

Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

The more I have thought about this comment in the midst of the Luke 2 Christmas story, the more I am amazed. Honestly, who cares about what Mary did regarding these events? I don't mean to sound insensitive, but the events of Advent/Christmas are so much bigger than any one person, even Mary. It seems like a superfluous, unnecessary comment, yet my doctrine of Scripture tells me every sentence in God's Word is significant.

What does it mean to "treasure up" something? Simply put, it means to see something as valuable and to put it is a special, safe place. To treasure something up is like clicking "save" on a document you don't want to lose. What does it mean to "ponder something in your heart"? It means to pull that treasured thing out and examine it closer. It means to mull something, to contemplate the meaning of something, to reflect upon it, meditate concerning it, to consider something deeply.

Mary saw all that led up to the moment of the Shepherds visit as events and promises to be treasured and mulled over carefully. Still though, is this necessary information? Why the short pause in the midst of telling such a cosmically profound story? Fine, Mary treasured and pondered, now lets get back to seeing the great plan of God's redemption unfold. Do we get to hear Joseph's personal take next? How about one of the Shepherds being pumped? Come on already.

You know, as I think about this simple statement in verse 19 it strikes me that God really cares about each of His children personally. Yes He was bringing to pass the fulfillment of a centuries old prophecy. It is true that God was working over the course of millennia to weave events and individuals to the very moment of Christ's birth. Indeed the incarnation of Christ is bigger than any of us personally. The reaction of one individual in the midst of this grand culmination of prophetic shadows really isn't that important, is it? God must think so. Why else would the reaction of Mary be noted for us?

I think this verse is for us to appreciate the very personal component of God's bigger, "macro" plan and work of redemption. We should stand back and be in awe concerning what God has orchestrated and continues to do, but we must also consider it's effect on us. Mary had to be in awe concerning the fulfillment of OT promises in the way God was doing it, but she also just gave birth after a total whirlwind of a year complete with angelic visitors, a virgin birth, and the experience of an incomparable emotional spectrum. Mary did the right thing here- she treasured these valuable events. They were valuable to all mankind, and to her. Mary also pondered them in her heart. She considered the meaning of all she had witnessed and experienced, and mulled them over in her heart, to herself.

What is the effect of this treasuring and pondering? When we're talking about God's plan of redemption and the person and work of Christ, the effect is to make these things all the more valuable to us. What effect would a more regular pondering of Christ's willingness to come as a man to bear our sins have? What effect would a very personal consideration about Christ coming to save me have?

I am left to believe this verse is placed as an example for us about being careful to treasure and ponder Christ. Luke's Holy Spirit-guided insertion of this comment is actually not superfluous at all, in fact, it contributes to why Luke 2 is so profound.

1 comment:

Woody Woodward said...

What a moving and challenging exegesis! As I converted my notes from Sunday, to deeper thoughts, preparing for this Thursday’s HFG, from Luke 2:15-20, here are 4 points that jumped out, and personally challenged my own Advent thinking.
4 major themes emerged to me:
1. A call for Worship (verse 15) “Let us go (straight way, right away, without haste) over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us!”
2. A reason for Worship (verse 16) “and they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
3. A purpose for Worship (verse 19) “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart”
4. A command for Worship (verse 20) “the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen!”

After the service I commented to Brother Galen “what a powerful message!” His comment, “You know that guy can even preach sitten down!”