December 28

 

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  Luke 2:9-10

 

The wise men struggled to continue believing the words of the prophets when they were led to such an inappropriate setting for a royal birth.  God comforted and strengthened them with the star.  It was closer to them now than it was at the beginning.  It guided them.  When they started out, it was far away from them, and they didn’t know where they would find the king.

Christians experience something similar when they successfully endure trials.  Near the end, God feels close to them.  He becomes so clearly recognizable that they not only forget about their affliction, but also desire more of it so that they can become stronger.  They are no longer bothered by the circumstances of Christ’s life.  They know by experience that anyone who wants to find Christ must realize that it will seem as if they are only finding disgrace.  The wise men would have felt ashamed if they had slipped and said they were probably thinking in their hearts:  “Oh my, what have we here!  I can’t wait to take another journey and look for new kings!”  They felt like they were being led down a blind alley.

Our foolish nature often feels this way when trying to follow God’s words.  Since the wise men were overjoyed when they saw the star, we can infer that they faced these doubts and were deeply depressed.  Their joy indicates that their hearts had been greatly disturbed.  They struggled with their doubts, and there was certainly enough reason for doubt in this situation.  So Christ really means it when he says, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me” (Matthew 11:6).

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses

95 Theses are reproduced in their entirety, with an introduction and explanatory notes to aid readers in discerning the significance of Luther’s call to reformation.

The Ninety-Five Theses is a text that everyone knows, most refer to, but few actually read, writes Stephen Nichols. Nevertheless, it is such a crucial text that it deserves to be read widely. Toward that end, Nichols has prepared this edition with an illuminating introduction, explanatory notes, and several illustrations. Martin Luther has left a legacy that continues to enrich the church through his writings. . ., writes Nichols. All of this may be traced back to the last day in October 1517 and the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door.

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