By Rune B. Hansen
One night in the fields of Bethlehem, it happened that the angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to some shepherds and said: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12). After this, the shepherds went into Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph and the promised child, lying in a manger. They then explained what had been told them about the child. We read that “all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (v. 18-19).
It is good to marvel and wonder at such things, which “all those who heard it,” did. However, out of those “all,” only one woman is told to have also “kept these things” as she “pondered them in her heart.”
So, Mary “kept and pondered” the words, rather than doubting if what she had been told was true.
This is not the first time we read that Mary “kept” God’s word. When she and her husband Joseph could not find the 12-year-old Jesus on the way back from Jerusalem, and had to return to find Him in the temple there, sitting and listening to the teachers of the law, asking questions, etc., she asked the young man: “Son, why have you done this to us? Look, your father and I have sought you anxiously” (Luke 2:48). Jesus' response was, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” (v. 49). We then read, “...but His mother kept all these things in her heart” (v. 52).
Both these instances are found in the 2nd chapter of the gospel of Luke, but notice the time gap between these two stories: 12 years. Mary likely had a habit of keeping God’s word.
She later receives the highest recognition for this attitude by her son, Jesus. One day, as He was speaking to a multitude of people, a woman says to him: “Blessed is the woman that bore you, and the breasts which nursed you” (that woman would be Mary; Luke 11:27). Jesus replies: “More than that, blessed are those that hear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28). In His response, there are several things that we come to understand. 1) “Blessed are the ones that hear the word of God and keep it.” This really alludes to Mary, who has done just that, and this befits the words of the woman. 2) Blessed are “the ones,” or rather, “anyone,” who does the same thing as she did. 3) In this, Jesus indirectly alludes to the fact that He IS the Word of God, having been carried like a promise in His mother’s womb, and finally coming to pass – “The Word became flesh” (John 1::14).
What can we learn from this?
Mary had faith. When she had been told by the angel that she was to give birth to the Messiah, she responded by saying, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). A word that she surely “kept” and “pondered” on.
Mary believed in God’s promise, and that “promise” grew in her belly, although she had never been with a man. Finally, the child was born (a miracle). Everything said about Him was true. He was the Messiah, also know as “The Word of God” (John 1:1).
As with Mary, the same goes for us. We too can receive promises from God in faith, and let them grow in us, by “keeping” and “pondering” on them, letting them take form, to finally see them fulfilled.
God's Word (The Bible) is filled with such promises to be received. And by the Holy Spirit, personalized promises can be received, too.
You might want to also read our article: "How can I get started reading the Bible?"
Or this article: "What do I need Jesus for?"
SCRIPTURES FOR REFERENCE HERE:
"For all God's promises in Him (in Christ Jesus) are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us" (2. Corinthians 1:20).
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7).
"This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart" (Daniel 7:28).
See also: Psalm 1:1-3, and Joshua 1:8.