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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: Mary and the Child Jesus. Part 2—Luke 2:21-52

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"Blessed are the meek."-Matthew 5:5.

Jesus "was a minister of the circumcision for the faith of God." He was circumcised when He was eight days old, just like any other Jewish child; and, as a Jewish mother, Mary had to pass through the ordinary purification (Exd 13:12; 22:29; Num 8:17). Thus even for Jesus, pure and without sin as He was, a sacrifice had to be offered because he took on Him "the likeness of sinful flesh." (Rom 8:3.)

Mary's faith had much to exercise it. It would have been so natural to think that such a Son as Jesus would be an exception, would need no circumcision, and that in her case God would waive the purification, which was to remind His people that they were born in sin. But Jesus must bear the Cross from His birth; He came to take the place of fallen man, and He must show that it is not in external differences that God manifests His glory; it is in "the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible." (1Pe 3:4.) When Jesus taught His disciples, He did not say, "Take My yoke upon you, for I am the King of kings and the Lord of lords," but, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart. "(Mat 11:29.) It is the meek who shall inherit the earth. (Mat 5:5.)

Yet from time to time God gave Mary


to strengthen her faith and keep her looking, "not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen." (2Cr 4:18.) When Jesus was brought into the temple, the Spirit of God led there at the same moment the aged Simeon, who had long "looked for the consolation of Israel," a man on whom the Holy Ghost was, and to whom it was revealed by the Spirit "that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ." The same spiritual intelligence which had made the shepherds see their Saviour in the little Babe, and which had made the wise men see in Him their King, led Simeon also to recognise in Him the Lord's Anointed. He took the Babe, poorly clad as He was, from the arms of His humbly‐clad mother, and he blessed God, and said:

"Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel."

Perhaps this was the first ray of light that fell upon Mary's soul, to make known to her that the Gentiles also should be blessed through her Divine Son.

She and Joseph "marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him," and Simeon had a special message for her:

"Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

How little Mary understood what that sword should be, and how in the future she would be a witness of the crucifixion of Him on whom her hopes, and the hopes of those who looked for redemption in Israel were built!

How far Mary attempted anything like the education of Jesus we know not, but probably she would exercise the same control as any other mother, and Jesus "learned obedience." (Heb 5:8; Luk 2:51.)

The time came when Jesus should attain His majority, at the age of twelve years, and His parents, who were wont to go up to Jerusalem "after the custom of the feast," took Him with them, as they may have done in previous years; but this time, Mary, who was ordinarily a silent woman, was occupied with her relations, belonging to the same caravan, when they were return‐from the feast back to Galilee. We never lose sight of Jesus without suffering loss. For one day, her kinsfolk were first with Mary. Jesus had tarried in Jerusalem; a whole day had passed by, and Mary and Joseph had not discovered their loss! It was a clear evidence that something else or somebody else had pre‐occupied them. Mary, who had received many communications from heaven, now acted on earthly lines, and "sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance." Why did she not go at once to God, acknowledge her inattention, and inquire where Jesus was? It was not likely that He would be found where they sought Him; family gossip would have no attraction for Him who was the Son of God.

They had to return to the place whence they started. We never can miss Jesus without having to


we must always go over the ground again until we find the exact point where we last recollect having spoken with or listened to Him. Three days had passed when they recollected that it was in the temple they last saw Him, and returning thither, they found Him "in the midst of the doctors," not assuming superiority, not seeking to instruct them, but, with all the humility of an educated child, He was "hearing them and asking them questions." This led them in their turn to ask questions of Him, and, without losing His position as the younger, He could answer so that "they were astonished at His understanding and answers."

Mary was the first to speak to Him:

"Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing." O what a reproach was conveyed in the words of Jesus:

"How is it that ye sought Me?" Was it on human lines or Divine? Was it as being one with relations and acquaintances, or was it as being One with God? It may be that the subject matter which occupied Him with the doctors was the reality of the Passover, the blood, without shedding of which is no remission, the flesh which was eaten, and all in the type which brought out the truth of the great Antitype, "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." (Jhn 1:29) And He added to His mother:

"Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" And that business was the written Word-nothing had such an attraction for Him. The things of His Father were all found there. There he read all that was prophesied of Him. Yet He was the pattern Son. He must learn obedience. So "He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but His mother kept all these sayings in her heart." The temporary distraction which had made Mary lose sight of Jesus had given way to her habitual recollectedness, and she was again the patient listener, the quiet, meditative woman, who laid to heart all her God said and did. Such women are a power in their very stillness.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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