Mary and Jesus


Thank you for joining us for Encounters with Jesus. Each week, we will hear a story from the Bible told from the perspective someone who encountered Jesus firsthand. If you would like to learn more about these charcters and their stories, you can read about it in the Bible. See: John 19:17–42, Luke 1:39–45, Matthew 1:18–25, Luke 2:25–35, Matthew 2:1–15, Psalm 30:5.





I think birth and death are our two biggest moments in life because they mark the beginning and ending of our earthly existence. Birth is so exciting—we finally meet that fresh little face we’ve waited so long for! And death is so… disturbing. You’re never fully prepared for it. It’s unnatural.

As a parent you expect to be there for the birth of your child, but you pray you never have to be there for their death.

For me, Jesus’s birth was a messy, painful, and overwhelming experience.

Overwhelming because, with birth, there’s this jarring realization that your life will never be the same. There are so many things you can’t foresee, can’t control, and can’t fix—all because a baby has arrived.

I even knew ahead of his birth that my life would be forever changed:
First, there was the angel who told me I would give birth to Jesus, and he would be a King with an everlasting kingdom.
Then, when I heard my cousin Elizabeth call me “the mother of my Lord,” I wondered, Why did she call my baby her Lord?
And then, when Joseph still agreed to marry me, well, I was overwhelmed because these things were so beyond my ability to comprehend. So I stored them in my heart, like little treasures.

Jesus’s actual birth really was messy, painful, and overwhelming. I’ll spare you the details! But it wasn’t just the birth that made it this way. It was Simeon’s prophecy that my baby would be hated and treated with violence… and that a sword would pierce my soul through the things Jesus would suffer.

It was the knowledge that Herod, threatened by Jesus’s birth, and enraged by the wise men’s deception, ordered the murder of all boys born in Bethlehem, ages 2 and under. My heart still grieves over that one. We had to flee to Egypt to live because Herod was so set on killing my son.

Yes, his birth was a messy, painful, and overwhelming experience. But on the other side of it, when Jesus was finally in my arms and I gazed into that perfect little face, there was hope, and wonder, and joy… so much joy! Angels sang to shepherds about my son. Wise men traveled many miles to bring him gifts and to worship him. And though Simeon’s prophecy held sobering words, he also said Jesus was a light to reveal God to the nations, and the glory of Israel. My heart rejoiced at the wonder of it all.

You must understand, though, that these are just a small few of a lifetime of my “Jesus treasures.” That’s what I call them... Jesus treasures. In fact, if I were to share them all with you, the whole world could not contain them. There is no one like Jesus. No one.

You know how I said his birth was messy, painful and overwhelming?
His death was too. And I know because I was there for every agonizing moment of it. Simeon’s prophecy was right—a sword most definitely pierced my heart as I watched Jesus suffer. I’ve never felt pain like it. It is a grief that knows no consolation. An anguish too deep for words. I don’t even know how I continue to breathe. I fear I will be crushed under the weight of my sorrow.

But do you also remember how I said the mess, pain, and overwhelm of Jesus’s birth was followed by hope, and wonder, and joy?
I wonder… Could the same be true of his death?
So I choose to wait in hope.
And as I wait, I will ponder every single Jesus treasure within my heart… and marvel at the wonder of Him.
The psalmist wrote, “Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning!”
And so I wait for the morning.

This is the final installment of Encounters with Jesus. Thank you for joining us! 
If you want to continue this devotional practice and learn more about connecting with God, we have a class on prayer coming up next month!

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