Tuesday, December 29, 2015

'The Wise Men'

One of the reasons that The Interpreter's Bible is so good for me is because it really presses me to learn stuff other than how the AFL and NFL playoffs folded together in late 1969. Here's Volume 7 on Matthew 2:1-12 with the terms and phrases highlighted that I plan to look up and learn about, in order to figure out what the author is really saying here ...

See Exeg. for instances of just such journeys taken by astrologers. Certain items about the magi are significant for Christian truth. They saw the star when busy at their own task; daily fidelity gives men a quicker awareness of the truth. The Connecticut senators, on the famous "dark day" in New England's history, were wise to remain at the day's task rather than to leave it for frantic prayer. The magi were foreigners--a fact that the church has celebrated in the feast of the Epiphany, Christianity being a world-wide faith. The statue of Christ on the ridge of the Andean mountains between Chile and Argentina points us to the only source of world peace. The magi acted with abandon. The knowledge of Chinese, which our modern world would endorse as very necessary knowledge, began with the "folly" of Morrison's attempt to break the Great Wall. Later he was honored by scholars and philosophical societies for his original research in the Chinese language. But he did not go to China to study language or to blaze a trail for trade; he went to tell the good news. The course of life is too often this: we do at last from shabby and selfish motives what we should have done at first in a fine rapture of the soul. But the magi journeyed in a noble abandon. There is a further fact about the wise men which proves them wise: they were come to worship him. Thus John Ruskin in Fors Clavigera: "These men, for their own part, came--I beg you very earnestly again to note this--not to see, nor talk--but to do reverence. They are neither curious nor talkative, but submissive." Thus we are confronted again with the question: Why are we born? All penultimate answers yield at last to the real answer: "To glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever."

The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. VII. George Arthur Buttrick, ed. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1955) 257-259.

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