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December 22, 2023

True Scholars Follow the Star

Scholarly work can seem like a waste of time when we look at all the troubles in the world around us. We see foreign wars, political unrest, inflation, and riots. Why read old books when there is so much wrong in the world? It doesn’t seem like studying Latin or Philosophy will really help with the madness around us. This time doesn’t seem to be the ideal moment to commit to four years of college. However, Christmas reminds us of the importance of education, especially in the dark seasons. 

It is important to remember that troubling times should not dictate our behavior. God is our guide, and we should follow him. Even in discordant cultures, the first great commandment still applies. That commandment includes loving God with all our minds (Matt 22:37).  

Reflecting on Jesus’ birth, it is helpful to consider the wild days when he entered the world. There was a Roman census, a foreign power controlling Israel, and an evil king on the throne. It might seem to us that God chose a less-than-ideal time for the birth of Jesus. 

It is striking that these messy times obscured the coming of the King of Heaven.

Most people missed the event. It didn't make national news. King Herod had to be told about the birth after it happened. Other historical records outside of the Bible didn’t even record it. 

The news came to some people, but that list was pretty small: the shepherds and Mary and Joseph. The birth of Christ was no viral event. The Good News snuck up on our world. God began his rescue operation while we wandered in the dark, lost in our sins. It is fitting that nobody had room for him at his coming. We all had foolishly tried to get rid of God, but He came anyway, unlooked for and unknown.

The living God does not bend to the history of men.

He is the Potentate of Time, and everything moves according to His perfect plan. In the Christmas story, God made it so His son would have an obscure birth in a small village in a manger with very little public attention. Almost nobody saw it coming. 

The only ones looking for the event were a few foreign scientists who discovered the news in a far eastern country. While all of the Roman Empire was ignorant of the event, these scholars learned the truth by studying. What was their course of study? It was a prophecy of Balaam (Numbers 24:17) and the stars. While it might seem like they were studying some dense scholarly minutiae, God rewarded their diligence. 

These scholar kings knew seeking the truth was valuable and critical, especially in dark times. And God rewarded their labors: they got to meet the Christ child. One of the most significant rewards for a scholar is finding what he seeks. It is striking that the Jewish scholars in Israel knew about the prophecy about the coming king and could even quote it for King Herod when he asked them, but they failed to pursue the truth. Only the true scholars, these foreign kings, who had studied the signs, learned and acted on the truth. 

We need more deep-thinking Christians, like these scholar kings, especially in our dark days. Studying the truth is what our troubled world needs. Like the ancient world, the darkness of lies has seeped into everything around us.

The truth is so obscured today that unless you love the truth, you will never find it.  

When times get messy, the need of the hour is people who love the truth. That is what we do at New Saint Andrews College. We are committed to the foundational truth of God’s word and the old texts that teach us how to think and reason. We know we must be like the Magi, who study the sky, looking for the truth wherever it is hiding. The Magi loved the truth so much that they went wherever it led. 

Are you willing to follow the truth? If you are waiting for an ideal time to study, you will never find it. The perfect time to study is today. Seek the truth while it may be found. Follow the star wherever it leads. Christmas reminds us that we need true scholars.