ESSAY
The Universality of Mary’s Wound
POSTED
January 4, 2022

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against and a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.” – Luke 2:34-35

Simeon’s words to Mary rightfully display Christ as the cause of the falling and rising of many, He being the Cornerstone and Rock of Offense. In addition, the prophet states that He will stand as a sign with a specific kind of efficacy. He is a sign that is spoken against. It is as if He elicits this from those who look upon Him or hear Him. As the Word of God, He signifies the intention of the Father. This simply follows the movement of will, from thought to word to deed. It is always from the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. The reason Christ speaks is because of the will of the Father. The reason Christ is spoken against is because of the will of man. A man speaks against God per the willful rebellion in his heart. He speaks the Word of God because of his willing submission. It is the Word of God that draws this out of him. The Apostle Paul says something similar when he says that he would have never known about coveting had not God’s Word said to not covet. The Word of God cuts in order to reveal. Healing is made possible by the cutting because it is revealing. And so we see that Mary’s sword wound is a universal laceration. It is an opening of a curtain to the interior realm, made by the Word of God, between the will of God and the will of the flesh.

This is a hard prophecy for a mother to hear about her baby. The Word of the Lord declares that her Son will be the source of massive division in the land. Simeon then follows this already stark announcement by not allowing Mary to then distance herself from the audience that would be the recipient of that cleaving. Mary would be cut as well. When Christ would later say to think not that He came to bring peace but a sword, even a sword that cuts homes and families in half, his own home would not be an exception. Charles Ellicott states that this word for sword signifies no short Roman sword. This was the large barbaric sword used by the Thracians. This baby boy would split the land and even Mary would feel the sharp steel in her own soul.

Mary, not long prior, was given a different kind of proclamation by the archangel Gabriel. When her baby was finally born, the shepherds added insight to the already glorious promises about who this boy was, who He would become, and the magnitude of His vocation.

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

Simeon now declares to her that her heart will be pierced as a result of the incarnation of the Word. No doubt, here we see the first lines being sketched of the woman who, over time, would come to be known as the mater dolorosa, mother of sorrows. Why are we not told that she treasured up these words of Simeon, pondering them in her heart? Simply put, because she understandably does not want to have a sword driven through her own soul as well. This promise does not sound like treasure to the hearer. Her sorrows are forming here and they are sorrows established in the furnace of the Lord. The flat part of the sword is putting pressure on her own desires. The cut reveals the tension. Anyone would treasure promises of glory and equally and understandably sorrow over promises of heartache. We must additionally keep in mind that Christ Himself was not exempt from this tension . . . not because He would disobey God or rebel against Him, but because He had truly taken upon Himself the narrative arc of a self-preserving, fallen race.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53:3-6   

And so, we see that this tension even creates a sorrow in the soul of our Lord. This does not happen because Christ has a sinful will but because He has the weight of sinful flesh placed on Him. We are a divided people and we are His burden. We go our own way and He carries the cataclysm of our warring opposition in Himself. We have gone our own way. He has not. We should not wonder that He is the Final Adam. He is the only Adam. Any staying power the first Adam has is a product of His union with this final Adam. The Sword of the Word of God reveals the division that occurs as old creation and the new creation that is being called into being by that Word vie for solo occupancy of the same house.

This sword is still cutting. Many in Israel continue to rise and fall on Him. He continues to either be the Cornerstone or the Rock of Offense. Many continue to be pierced by this sword in their souls and what gushes out will be the inward thoughts, previously hidden from view.

How do we know that Mary ever treasured the angelic proclamation of the shepherds in her heart? Because the Word of God reveals that to us. The Scriptures plainly teach that God’s sword is His Word, the Sword of the Spirit. The cutting of that sword reveals the hidden things. The Word of God makes a torn curtain of our own flesh in order that the hidden regions of the sacrifices might be exposed to the clear light of day. When an animal was cut, the organs were brought out. This was the interior realm made exterior. Through this revealing, one is able to confess and repent of that which the Spirit reveals as sin. The sacrifice is offered in life. Living sacrifices. The lambs are in process of becoming without blemish. The Bride is becoming spotless.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do. – Hebrews 4:12-13

Where the Word of God cuts, division is not only accomplished but revealed. Through confession, God is not the only witness of the hidden things. We peer in as well. The power of death is swallowed up in Christ’s death. Shame, therefore, no longer has legal power over the sinner. We need not think we are condemned by the presence of rot revealed by the sword wound. There are no more fig leaves for the children of the final Adam. There is no more hidden region. The veil of our own flesh is torn by the Word of God. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. He cuts in order to heal. Let the bones that He has broken rejoice.


Garrett Soucy lives in Maine with his wife and nine children where he is the pastor of Christ the King Church in Belfast. He is also a writer and musician.

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