CLAIM: Simeon said of Mary, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” (Lk. 2:34-35). Catholic interpreters argue that the mention of being pierced to the soul refers to Mary contributing to the redemption of humanity.
RESPONSE: We disagree with this interpretation for a number of reasons:
First, Mary never suffered for sin. While Mary had to suffer watching Jesus’ death (Jn. 19:25ff), so did others. In fact, John, Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the wife of Clopas were all present. Does this mean that they suffered for sin as well? Surely not.
Second, Mary never died for sin. While Jesus died for sin (Rom. 5:10; Heb. 9:15; Mk. 10:45; 1 Pet. 3:18), Mary never died for sin.
Third, Mary wasn’t qualified to pay for our sins. As we argued elsewhere, Mary had sin of her own to atone for, and this is why she called Jesus her “Savior” (Lk. 1:47). This is also why the Psalms claim that people cannot be sacrificed for one another, because each person has their own sin to pay for (Ps. 49:7-8).