1/3/2021 聖誕節已過 (After Christmas)
by 鍾卓權牧師 (Rev. Bernie Chung)
馬可福音8:22-25 節說：「…有人帶一個瞎子來、求耶穌摸他。耶穌拉著瞎子的手、領他到村外．就吐唾沫在他眼睛上、按手在他身上、問他說、你看見甚麼了。 他就抬頭一看、說、我看見人了．他們好像樹木、並且行走。 隨後又按手在他眼睛上、他定睛一看、就復了原、樣樣都看得清楚了。」
1609 年，義大利的物理學家、數學家、天文學家及哲學家, 伽利略·加利利（Galileo Galilei）, 聽到有一項特殊鏡片的發明，就開始設計用該鏡片製造望遠鏡。伽利略用他那有限的望遠鏡, 看到木星附近最大的四顆衛星，其中的三顆比我們地球的衛星月亮還要大。他還觀察到金星也經歷好像月圓月缺的週期現象，之後, 伽利略試圖向羅馬天主教會的領袖解釋，指出這些宗教領袖他們對聖經的誤解，認為地球是宇宙中心的理論與所觀察到的天文現象並不一致。可惜的是，教會的領袖們因為先入為主的觀念誤解了聖經的教導，他們並不能接受地球不是宇宙中心的觀念，因而宣佈伽利略的新發現是虛假不實的，被認為他是異端。
許多時候，當我們不願看見事物的事實時，我們也會很自然地閉上眼睛！當我們對不想接受的事實，就會很可能排除某些可靠的證據。伽利略的理論於1633 年第二次被判定為「異端邪說」，並遭到終生軟禁。直到一個多世紀之後在1758 年，教會終於將以太陽為中心理論的書籍解禁，其實透過更精密的望遠鏡，我們現代的人也明瞭太陽僅是太陽系星系的中心，而不是宇宙的中心。
今日我們耳目所能接觸到慶祝聖誕節的景象和救世主降生的福音，我們應仔細地尋求察核訊息真正的意義，馬太福音 13:16 節說：「但你們的眼睛是有福的、因為看見了、你們的耳朵也是有福的、因為聽見了。」讓我們在紀念救主耶穌降世為人的歡慶氣氛中，「應該」所接收到的信息不僅僅是歡慶，即使聖誕節假期已過，更當深省救主耶穌降世為人的深層意義。阿們！
During Thanksgiving, we see decorations in many stores and at neighbors’ houses, showing that Christmas is coming. When shopping for groceries in supermarkets, we constantly hear Christmas songs playing in the background. What kind of information passes through our eyes and ears? Better yet, let’s ask ourselves—what kind of message "should" our eyes and ears have gathered?
Mark 8:22-25 says: “They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything? He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’ Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”
This is the second time that the Lord Jesus led the person in need of healing to be isolated from the crowd first. As part of healing, the Lord Jesus "spat" on the blind man's eyes. The blind man seemed to be unable to believe or was uncertain that Jesus had restored his vision. The Lord Jesus asked the blind man what he saw and the blind man said that he saw people walking like trees. The Lord Jesus knew that the blind man lacked faith and understood his weakness. By putting his hands on the blind man’s eyes, the blind man finally realized that he has regained his sight.
In 1609, Galileo Galilei in Italy heard of this new instrument to see things afar and began to design a telescope for himself. Using his telescope of limited capability, Galileo was able to see the four largest moons of Jupiter, three of which are bigger than our moon. He also observed that Venus experiences periodic phenomena like full moon and new moon. He tried to point out to the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church what he observed may contradict their Biblical teachings at that time. Namely, the long held theory that the earth being the center of the universe was inconsistent with the astronomical observations. It is unfortunate that the leaders of the church misinterpreted the teachings of the Bible because of their preconceived notions. They could not accept that the earth is not the center of the universe. As a result, they declared that Galileo's new discoveries were false and heretical.
Often when we do not want to see the facts, we blindly close our eyes! When we do not want to accept the facts, we will exclude reliable evidence. Galileo's theory was judged as "heresy" for the second time in 1633, and he was placed under house arrest for life. It was not until 1758, more than a century later, that the church finally lifted the ban on so-called heliocentric books. In fact, with more sophisticated telescopes, we have discovered a long time ago that even the sun is not the center of the universe. Today when we observe the celebration of Christmas with our eyes and hear the Gospel our Savior’s birth with our ears, we need to carefully seek the true meaning of these messages.
Matthew 13:16 says: “For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
In festive environments, we should not focus only on the message of holiday celebration, but on the true meaning behind it. Especially now that Christmas has passed, God’s grace of giving us His only begotten son and sending him to earth lingers forever, lest we have forgotten it too soon. May God have mercy on us, Amen!