Luke 2:35
(35) A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also.--The word used for "sword" here, occurs also in the Apocalypse (Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:12, et. al.), but not elsewhere in the New Testament. It was the large barbaric sword used by the Thracians, as distinguished from the shorter weapon of Roman soldiers. The announcement of the special sorrow that was to be the Virgin Mother's portion, comes as the sequel to "the sign that is spoken against," the antagonism which her Son would meet with. We may find fulfilments of it when the men of Nazareth sought to throw Him from the brow of their hill (Luke 4:29); when she came, as in anxious fear, to check His teaching as the Pharisees charged Him with casting out devils through Beelzebub (Matthew 12:46); when she stood by the cross, and heard the blasphemies and revilings of the priests and people (John 19:26).

That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.--This was conspicuously the result of our Lord's earthly ministry. It brought out latent good, as with publicans and harlots and robbers, rich and poor disciples, and the common people, who heard Him gladly; latent evil, as with Pharisees and scribes and rulers. And what was true of His work then, has been true in greater or less measure ever since. Wherever Christ is preached, there is a manifestation of the thoughts of men's hearts, of their secret yearning after righteousness, their secret bitterness against it. It may be noted, however, that the Greek word for "thought" is almost always used in the Greek with a shade of evil implied in it.

Verse 35. - Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also. Christian art has well caught the spirit of her life who was, in spite of her untold suffering, "blessed among women," in depicting her so often and so touchingly as the mother of sorrows (Mater Dolorosa). The childhood in the Nazareth home, and the early manhood in the Nazareth carpentry, were no doubt her happiest days, though, in those quiet years, expectation, fears, dread, curiously interwoven, must have ever torn that mother's heart. The days of the public ministry for Mary must have been sad, and her heart full of anxious forebodings, as she watched the growing jealousies, the hatred, and the unbelief on the part of the leading men of her people. Then came the cross. We know she stood by it all the while. And, after the cross and the Resurrection, silence. Verily the words of Simeon were awfully fulfilled. Bleek, quoted by Godet, makes an interesting suggestion on the subject of the sword piercing Mary's heart: "Thou shalt feel in thine own heart their contradiction in regard to thy Son, when thou thyself shall be seized with doubt in regard to his mission."

2:25-35 The same Spirit that provided for the support of Simeon's hope, provided for his joy. Those who would see Christ must go to his temple. Here is a confession of his faith, that this Child in his arms was the Saviour, the salvation itself, the salvation of God's appointing. He bids farewell to this world. How poor does this world look to one that has Christ in his arms, and salvation in his view! See here, how comfortable is the death of a good man; he departs in peace with God, peace with his own conscience, in peace with death. Those that have welcomed Christ, may welcome death. Joseph and Mary marvelled at the things which were spoken of this Child. Simeon shows them likewise, what reason they had to rejoice with trembling. And Jesus, his doctrine, and people, are still spoken against; his truth and holiness are still denied and blasphemed; his preached word is still the touchstone of men's characters. The secret good affections in the minds of some, will be revealed by their embracing Christ; the secret corruptions of others will be revealed by their enmity to Christ. Men will be judged by the thoughts of their hearts concerning Christ. He shall be a suffering Jesus; his mother shall suffer with him, because of the nearness of her relation and affection.Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,.... Meaning either the sword, "or spear of scandal", as the Arabic version renders it; so the calumny, and reproach of the tongues of men, is compared to a sharp sword, Psalm 57:4 and such the virgin might meet with on account of her conception in art unmarried state, which might greatly wound her soul; or else the sorrows she met with on account of her son: as he was a man of sorrows, so was she a woman of sorrows, from his cradle to his cross; and his sorrows, like so many darts, or javelins, rebounded from him to her, and pierced her soul through; as when Herod sought his life, Matthew 2:13 when she had lost him for a whole day, Luke 2:48 and when he was frequently exposed to danger among the spiteful and malicious Jews; but never more than when she stood at his cross, and saw him, in his agonies, extended on the tree, bleeding, gasping, and dying, John 19:25. Some think this refers to martyrdom, which she was to suffer by the sword, of which the Scripture is silent, Epiphanius, an ancient writer, seems to hint at it (n),

That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed; that is, all this offence was to be taken at Christ, and he to be spoken against; and all these afflictions, reproaches, and persecutions, he and his were to endure for this end; that the secret thoughts of men might be discovered, and they be known to be what they were, whether hypocrites, or good men, foes or friends of Christ: so on the one hand, what were the Scribes and Pharisees, who talked of a Messiah, and pretended to righteousness and holiness, and yet when the Messiah came, rejected him, and so all such who followed Christ with worldly views, and expected a temporal kingdom, but left him when they found it otherwise, and Judas, one of his disciples; and, on the other hand, who were sincere and hearty? as the rest of his disciples, Joseph of Arimathea, and others, who abode by him, notwithstanding the cross; and the same use have all persecutions, errors, and heresies, the opposition and contradiction of men in every shape now, and the same end is answered; wicked men, and hypocrites, are known to be what they are; and good men are made manifest; and what each think of Christ and his Gospel, is discovered hereby; see 1 Corinthians 11:19.

(n) Contr. Haeres. 72.

Luke 2:34
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