Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross
There’s a reason why we know who Galileo is. In 1610, with his telescope, the astronomer discovered four moons orbiting Jupiter. The same year, he discovered a strange oval around Saturn eventually known to be its rings. Then, in 1623, he observed an astronomical event, happening once every 20 years, known as the “Great Conjunction.” This is when the two giant planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, travel together across the sky and appear aligned. In fact, they are so close that to the naked eye they almost appear to be one giant star (known popularly as “The Christmas Star”)(Bill Keeter, Nasa.gov). Tonight, 12/21/2020, is the closest our two biggest planets have appeared together since that night 397 years ago when Galileo dubbed this phenomena with its popular name. The last time most of the earth had the view it will have tonight was March 5, 1226. A popular theory for “the star” of Matthew 2:2, which drew the Magi from the east, was the “Great Conjunction” (which happened three times in 7 B.C., in May, September, and December)(Joe Rao, space.com).
Did God, in His providence and the process of holding all things together (Col. 1:17), make the “Great Conjunction” part of His fulness of time (Gal. 4:4) that brought about the events surrounding the wise men and Herod in Matthew two? We cannot know that, but it is a powerful demonstration of the order and design of an omnipotent creator.
This God of order has made known some other “Great Conjunctions” through His eternal word:
- Belief and baptism (Mark 16:16)–Together, they bring salvation
- Faith and works (James 2:14-26)–Together, they ensure life
- Repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38)–Together, they effect remission of sins
- Faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 13:13)–Together, they are the “abiding” things
- Repentance and belief (Mark 1:15)–Together, they form the gospel of God
- Righteousness, peace, and joy (Rom. 14:17)–Together, they constitute the kingdom of heaven
- Life and peace (Rom. 8:6)–Together, they are consequences of the mind set on the Spirit
- Spirit and truth (John 4:23-24)–Together, they form the essentials of true worship
- Goodness, righteousness, and truth (Eph. 5:9)–Together, they form the fruit of the light)
- Deed and truth (1 John 3:18)–Together, they demonstrate true love
There are actually so many more of these “combinations” or conjunctions that God has brought together. As compelling and awe-inspiring as His creative power is, as shown in tonight’s incredibly rare celestial occurrence, it simply builds our faith in His ability to fulfill the many great promises that saturate His Word. I hope skies are clear where you are tonight and that you will take the time to view the southwest sky right after sunset. Why not take a moment, as you gawk, to thank and praise the God who has so thoroughly revealed to you who He is and what He wants for your life?