Jump to navigation. If you think that hearing another part of the Christmas story as late as Jan. Their trek probably lasted even longer than the commercial Christmas season. Matthew then took their story and fashioned it as a subtle summary of the entire Gospel message.
All we have to do is decode it a little. First, while Matthew explains that Jesus came from good Jewish stock, he makes it equally clear that God isn't into racial purity.
Besides Mary, there are four women mentioned in Jesus' genealogy, each of them a foreigner; collaboration with God's plan was not limited by the bloodlines of the chosen people. In fact, Joseph's acceptance of the pregnant Mary and Herod's use of Scripture to further his plan to harm the infant Jesus demonstrate that scrupulous adherence to law and belief in messianic prophecies don't necessarily prove faithfulness to God. Now we see that in Matthew's Gospel the first people to give homage to Jesus were probably Arabs, "pagans" who learned from nature rather than Scripture that God was up to something in their day.
These pilgrims fit the description of "God fearers. They were also ready to go a distance to see. The Magi followed a star, a sign in their own tradition, but they didn't limit themselves to their own religious background. When "they sought diligently," Jewish wisdom together with their own tradition led them to the child. Matthew records no commentary about the family's modest setting, but only says that they saw the child and prostrated themselves in homage.
Then, adding practical content to their religious sentiment, they "opened their treasures" and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
We might say they worshiped in word and deed. We picture them as three because of the three gifts that are named. We can find that for ourselves. For the centuries of the ancient world, the Nile and its rising and falling was a mystery to all of the geographers and the topographers and the historians; to all the culture and civilization of the ancient world, it was a mystery.
And David Livingstone gave his life trying to find the source of the Nile and never found it. But I stood there, where it rushes out and pours out of the vast, inland Lake Victoria. We could discover that in time for ourselves.
So with all of the laws of motion and of the universe, the harnessing of those powers in electricity or penicillin, we can learn those things for ourselves. But the Bible addresses itself to our human souls and the need of our hearts. It does not reveal these things of horticulture, or of chemistry, or of biology, or of trigonometry, or of all of the other sciences that so engross our modern day.
We can learn those for ourselves. But we cannot learn God, not unless He discloses Himself, reveals Himself. And that is the purpose of the Holy Scriptures, that we might know Him. You have a poignant illustration of that in the life of our Lord. There He is on the other side of the Sea of Galilee in a desert, and there are five thousand men, beside women and children, around Him. And they have stayed with Him, listening to His word, all day long.
And the evening comes. And they need to be fed. And the Lord takes the loaves, the little biscuits of the lad with his lunch, and He breaks it, and He breaks it, and He breaks it until He feeds the five thousand [John ]. Now, I can imagine a cynic, a critic, standing on the side as he watches the Lord feed the five thousand, breaking the bread.
They would be much more lavish and more ornamental and more lasting. Why does not He give them jewels instead of bread? It was bread. I one time heard of a man who had an insatiable longing for diamonds. And he had heard on the other side of the desert were diamonds. So he prepared for the journey, and in the midst of the vast illimitable sands he lost his way.
And stumbling from dune to sand dune, he finally collapsed in the desert. Gaining enough strength to walk just a few more paces, he saw half-buried in the sand a canteen of water. With a shout of rejoicing and anticipation for life itself, he made his way; he dragged himself to the canteen of water, half-buried in the sand. With trembling hand, he lifted it up, he took off the enclosure and he raised the canteen to his mouth to drink of its life-giving water, and as he raised the canteen to drink, instead of water there poured out a beautiful, sparkling, stream of brilliant diamonds, a canteen full of diamonds.
In despair and agony, he took it and threw it away; and those gems, falling unheeded in the burning sand. What we think we need is many times so actually different from what we actually need.
What we need is for our souls, our hearts, our lives, our salvation; we need God! And the only way I can ever know God is in His self-disclosure. He must reveal Himself, and God does that answering human needs. There are hundreds and hundreds of pages here until finally we come to the full revelation in Christ.
Why that progressive, gradual revelation of God? The answer lies in us, not in God. We are so fallen, and so sinful, and so stubborn, and so ignorant, and so slow to obey that God has, little by little, to lead us along like children.
The revelation is gradual, and it is progressive, and it is fuller because of our stubborn will. Look at this which will teach us that in the Word of God. Just write it out, hand it to her, and turn her out. Send her away to starve, send her away to make her own way; just write it out and give it to her, and put her out of the house. Why did Moses do that? God made one man for one woman [Genesis ]. Or look again, the gradual revelation of God. So the Bible increasingly opens like a flower, and we come to the bud and finally to the full bloom through all of the pages of the Holy Writ.
The Lord will speak to an individual as He spoke to Noah, how Noah is to do. The Lord will speak to Israel through Moses, how Israel is to do.
The Lord will speak to the nations through an Isaiah, how they are to do. The Lord will speak through the apostle Paul, how all of us are to do. What God spoke to Isaiah and Jeremiah was sufficient for the days of the nations.
And what God speaks through Jesus and through Paul is sufficient for our day and for all the days unto the consummation of the age. So the Lord is speaking to these apostles and to these prophets. He has them write out His commandments and write out His self-revelation. Now let me take those two pivotal words there and look at them.
It is not his. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness. No customer reviews. Unlimited One-Day Delivery and more. There's a problem loading this menu at the moment. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Back to top. Get to Know Us. Listen Now with Amazon Music. Amazon Music Unlimited. Conspiracy theories can be great fun. They may make for engaging fiction reading, but are no more than that.
Until you start assessing evidence, every conspiracy theory is as valid as any other. Why engage in them at all? Conspiracy theories can empower people who otherwise feel relegated to spectator status, deprived of the power that they feel they deserve. Why does the Bible contain stories that show biblical heroes such as David and St. Peter in an unfavorable light? The Bible needs to be read as a whole. There is great variety within the Bible, a variety that conspiracy theorists tend to ignore.