Do You Sumballousa?

Luke 2:17-20 and 51

When they had seen him they spread the word concerning what had been told them about the child 18. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20. The Shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told. 51. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.

The word used here in Luke for ponder is the Greek word “sumballousa”. It’s comprised of two words, sum, which means to join close together (ie: math sums are joined together) and the ballo which means to cast or place. So when combined it means to cast or join things close together. This particular word is more than just thinking in your mind, it’s gathering together these “thoughts” in your heart and pondering on them. In Luke, the two instances mentioned above, Mary not only is pondering and holding these things close together, she’s treasuring them in heart.

Mary, at the age of 14 was told by the angel Gabriel she was highly favored and blessed among women and went on to tell her that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to a son called Jesus. Gabriel said he would be great and would be called the Son of the Most High. He would be given the throne of his father David and he would reign over Jacob’s descendants forever (Luke 1).

Can you imagine Mary, now possibly 15 years old, after being announced as an outcast in her village, not able to stay alone while Joseph leaves for Bethlehem for danger that she would be stoned, having to travel for 3 days on a donkey? 15 years old, and most likely in labor, for three days since this was her first child. They travel to the town of Bethlehem as required for the census. Mary is in labor, has been for days now and just as they reach Bethlehem, her water breaks. Where do we go? Joseph doesn’t want Mary to have to deliver in the street, he must get her inside somewhere, anywhere! He heads to the first inn he see’s as they enter town. There are people everywhere! He yells through the door, “My wife is in labor, please, do you have a room for us so she can deliver!?” The inn keeper comes running. “No sir, there is no room in here but it appears she’s in dire need of a place to get down off of that donkey. Take her outback to the stable, it will at least be void of people and she’ll have more privacy than she would here in the street.” All along, young, frightened Mary is doubled over in labor pains. As she works through the contractions she tries to remember what the angel her told her about this child. Something to take her mind off the fact that she is about to deliver her firstborn, the next king of Israel in the street. Here comes another contraction and she yells out. Hastily Joseph gets her into the stable out back. There’s one clean stall left in between the camels and the cows. Mary has been in labor for a while now and Joseph knows it’s time for her delivery. Just in time, in the midst of the chaos of the cows mooing and camels grunting and chickens cackling, Jesus is born. Mary in between contractions all along trying to remember everything Gabriel had told her and thinking about how she wished her family was with her. How she missed her mom and aunts right now and of course Elizabeth. Sweet Elizabeth lived right up the road from where she was but she had a new baby of her own. What had she and Zechariah named him? Oh, that’s right, John. What a miracle he was for them, they had tried for so long to have children.  Oh how exhausted she was and how she needed to rest, how she wanted those who loved her the most here with her. But because of her “situation” they had to be so careful. Joseph believed her, why could everyone else not believe her. As she dozes off to sleep she wonders really if what she had heard was from the Lord. What was it the angel told me?

And then, out of nowhere, the door flies open, the chickens start cackling and the cows mooing and the camels grunting. Why so much commotion? And in walks the dirtiest, stinkiest person she had ever seen. It was a shepherd. But he’s so excited and exclaiming something! What is that? Angels? Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests! He too had an encounter with angels who told him to come see our child, Jesus, the next king of Israel. He even knew he would be wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger! (Luke 2) How could this be? And then Mary remembered. Mary remembered everything that had happened. Mary could remember every word the angel spoke to her. Then Mary pondered these things and treasured them. Mary didn’t know what would become of the things that had been spoken over her or her future child but she knew it was from God and of God. She knew that she had carried a very special person and that his future was set aside by her heavenly Father. But Mary didn’t know the whole story, and for good reason. Had Mary known the whole story, it would have been difficult for her to understand. So Mary had to sumballousa. Mary wanted to keep the words that the Lord had spoken over her and to her very close to her heart. Mary wanted to hold on to every event in her heart to see what God was doing.

As is with every marriage and family, Mary and Joseph went on to have more children and live a normal Jewish family life. Every year they would gather all the children and necessary items and make the trip to Jerusalem for the festival. They would always travel with their extended family, of course, they were one big happy family. After three days on the road on the way home, it had been an exhausting week, thankfully they only had to do this once a year, Mary and Joseph become aware Jesus is missing. After many hours looking for him, they leave their other kids with the rest of the family and hurry back to Jerusalem as fast as they can. Mary is so worried! All she can think is, what have I done? God gives me this beautiful child, he’s my firstborn, my love and I lose him in Jerusalem! As with any mother and father, they are worried. Finally, they find him! He tells them he’s been about his Father’s business. Oh how Mary sumballousa’ed now. He has become older and it will not be long before Yahweh will raise him up and use him to lead others against this oppressive government. It will be a hard task for him, but he will be on the throne like David was. Mary was preparing herself for the future, for Jesus’ future. For an unknown future. And then time ticked on.

But Mary had pondered and treasured everything in her heart. She had placed God’s word so deeply in her heart that in those moments when she was uncertain, such as when she was in that stable when Jesus was born, or in that fearful moment when she couldn’t find Jesus, satan could not steal those words from her. Those shepherds were a gentle reminder that her pain and suffering, though only for a short time, lead to a beautiful purpose. Jesus reminding her that he would be about his Father’s business was a gentle reminder, that he was called to so much more and would lead to a beautiful purpose…no matter how long it took. What word has the Lord spoken over you that you feel you’ve strayed quite a ways from it? Maybe it’s been so long that you don’t know if it really was the Lord. Or maybe you were given a word and then never another. If any of these are the case, it’s time to do as Mary did. She physically carried Jesus, but she also carried the Lord’s word in her heart and as she pondered it, the Lord strengthened that word deeper and deeper inside of her for her assurance, there was a higher purpose.

Here Mary stands now, at the bottom of Golgotha hill. The place where they crucify bad men. Murderers, thieves and liars. Not Jesus, he’s not a bad person. He’s absolutely the most compassionate person she’s ever known. Anyone that knows him loves him. She looks up at her firstborn. He’s mostly unrecognizable. He’s been beat, flesh ripped from his body, blood dripping from his head where they mocked him and crammed that crown of thorns into his head. It won’t be long, she’s seen this torture before at the hands of the romans, he will be gone soon. What highly favored woman has to see her son tortured and hung on a cross? How is he going to take the throne when he dies on that cross? And who does he speak about in his few last words? His mother. He wants to make sure I’m taken care of. What a precious boy and there’s nothing I can do or they will kill me too.

As Mary watched her child die, she pondered the words in her heart. Satan had been trying to get her to forget those words all day, just like he did everyone who had Jesus crucified, but not Mary. She would remember the words of Yahweh. Mary went home that night and silently cried in her sleep. Through her heartache she remembered the words of Mark while he was discussing what Jesus had told them a while back. He had said, “The son of man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him and after three days he will rise.” And then Mary thought about Isaiah 53, she had been taught Isaiah her whole life in synagogue.

2He grew up before him like a tender shoot and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3He was despised and rejected by mankind,

a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.

Like one from whom people hide their faces

he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4Surely he took up our pain

and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God,

stricken by him, and afflicted.

5But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

and by his wounds we are healed.

6We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to our own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

7He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

8By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

Yet who of his generation protested?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people he was punished.

9He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,

he will see his offspring and prolong his days,

and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

11After he has suffered,

he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

and he will bear their iniquities.

12Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,

and he will divide the spoils with the strong,

because he poured out his life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.

Then her mind went back to him in the synagogue in Nazareth, Mary was at church that day, so were his brothers and sisters. She was so proud he was chosen to read from the scroll that day. He read from Isaiah 61. (Luke 4:17-21)

And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Mary pondered all these things in her heart. Even though satan tried to convince her Friday that none of these words were real as she watched her son die, she had the words of God so deeply rooted in her heart, nothing could tear them out. Not even the death of her son. Satan could not steal the word the Lord had placed there.

And then it was Sunday.

Mary, Mary Magdaline and Joanna wanted to go very early to take care of Jesus’ body. They gathered their spices and headed toward the tomb. Mary had sadness in her heart but there was something that was abating that mourning, something she couldn’t quite put her finger on. But as she thought about the words in her heart there came a lightness in her step, as if God had sent his angel to lift her above the ground so that her foot may not dash upon a stone. She didn’t rush though because she knew what she was about to see. Her son, wrapped in cloths and this time, not in a manger but laying in a tomb. But when they arrived they realized the soldiers were not there, they were going to need them to roll the stone, it was much to heavy for them. As they turned around they saw the stone was rolled away though! Slowly they looked inside the tomb and Jesus was not there! A lump rose in Mary’s throat. It was true. He indeed had risen, but she dare not say anything. She heard a slight movement behind her. She and the other two ladies slowly turned and two of the largest men they had ever seen stood there behind them dressed in the brightest white! 

Luke 24:4-8

4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” 8Then they remembered his words.

A realization washed over her greater than anything she had ever known. He really is the Messiah. He really was the prophesied Messiah God had promised. Mary was so thankful she held onto those words spoken to her 33 years ago. So thankful she never allowed satan to steal that from her. No matter how that word looked along the way or how distant that word may have seemed, she was seeing the manifestation of her promised blessing.

Mary was the only person who was with Jesus from the moment of conception resurrection. Mary had the physical word and the spiritual word for all those years. But even though she was with him, she did not have the full revelation of the word given to her until 33 years later. Maybe the word God placed in your heart was last week. Maybe like Mary it was many years ago. Gods word will never return to Him void, it will always do it’s good work.

When you feel like you’re losing sight of his call on your life, sumballousa.

Malachi 3:16-17 (ampc)

Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another and the Lord listened and heard it, and a Book of Remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on His name. 17. And they shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be my jewels (my special possession, my peculiar treasure) And I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him”

Ponder those words, ponder that scripture God chose to highlight one day for you. Never allow satan to steal that word, those seeds God placed in your heart.


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *