Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The Star of Bethlehem by Stuart Burgess

The Star of Bethlehem: Lessons for Today,
Stuart Burgess, Day One Publications, 2015, 62pp

In this little book Professor Stuart Burgess aims at unpacking the message of the star of Bethlehem. That special sign in the heavens that led the wise men of Matthew 2 from the East to Jerusalem, seeking the King of the Jews. And then from Jerusalem to the very place in Bethlehem where Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus could be found. 

The book is simply written and is designed to help people who are seeking Jesus today to find him and experience his saving power. It also serves to remind believers of the wonder of Christ's coming into the world as man, and what that means for us.

Burgess worked on the Hubble Space Telescope that has beamed back to earth some amazing images of the universe and has an abiding interest astronomy. He sees the star of Bethlehem as a supernatural phenomenon that was specially sent by God to guide the wise men to Jesus. The writer unfolds the narrative of Matthew 2 in a simple and easy to grasp way that draws the reader in, making telling points of application along the way. 

If I had a criticism of the book it would be that Burgess somewhat confusingly chops and changes between reflecting on the star of Bethlehem and describing Jesus as a star in his chapter headings. While that is an entirely appropriate biblical designation for Jesus, it can be a little confusing when 'A guiding star' of one chapter heading, meaning the star seen by the wise men becomes, 'A star of grace' and 'A hated star', meaning Jesus in other chapters. 

But that said, this is an engaging little work that will encourage people to seek the only true Star, Jesus Christ, to whom the star of Bethlehem once pointed.

The book is dedicated to Hannah Stone, a young woman in our Providence congregation who was suffering from seemingly terminal lymphoma cancer, but in the goodness of God was recently given the all clear. 

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