The Sunday before Christmas
Twas the Sunday before Christmas and all through the town.
Church members were stirring from their beds with a frown.
"Look at the clock. We over slept!" yelled Dad.
"Now be quiet" said Mom, "On Sunday don't get mad."
Waking each child with a frantic deep,
The kids rolled over then went back to sleep.
Finally, they all stumble down stairs to the table.
Mom says, "Get your own breakfast. I know you're able."
Grumping and griping they search for the oatmeal.
Glaring at one another with looks that could kill.
"You've got to go faster. We're late.” Dad screams.
But he looks like Santa his face covered in shaving cream.
"Honey, he cries. I can’t find any clean underwear.
He hollers down the hall in a voice filled with fear.
"I can only wash what you put in the hamper"
Already the worship mood was taking a damper.
"Mom, where's my shoes, Mom where’s my clothes."
Mom wonders why no one but her knows where things go.
Finally, they pile into the car to depart.
"Wait, calls little Mary, "my Bible I forgot.
While they wait little Johnny starts to rant
"I gotta go to the potty or I'll wet my pants."
Dad slowly bangs his head on the wheel.
Mom says, "If you open a cut it will take weeks to heal."
Finally, they are flying down the road like a rocket.
Then Johnny discovers an old gummy worm in his pocket.
He quietly places it all sticky on his sister's collar.
And innocently waits for the inevitable holler.
"You little moron, did you put this in my hair?"
"Children, be quiet! We're almost there!"
Finally at the church, they safely arrived.
Another Christmas Sunday morning somehow survived.
Our message today if from Matthew 2 and it centers on the wise men, who searched for the one born King of the Jews. Here is the question I want us to consider, what made them wise? Certainly they were wise from the world's point of view but what made them wise enough to be called wise in God's word. I think the answer is because they sought and found Jesus Christ. This it the greatest wisdom of all the ages to find the one who is eternal life, true joy, forgiveness of sin, and peace with God. And as I read the story I wondered "Are we still wise enough to seeking Jesus?"
Seeing the Star - Matthew 2:1-3Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Wise men because they searched for the Savior
What did the Bible mean when it called them wise men? This is a Persian word, μάγος magos; and it refers to a Magian, i.e. Oriental scientist; by implication, a magician: — sorcerer, wise man.
They tell us why they were searching, so far away from their home? Vs. 2 Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
They had seen a star, a astrological event and they knew it meant something. It could have been a comet. The Chinese recorded what they called a broom star at this same time. The Aztecs recored what we would say was a Nova. Others saw a conflux of several planest coming together. The bible just says a star and I’m good with that.
So they say this comet, or nova or alignment and they knew this was not normal, so they went to their records and found the prophecy of one of their greatest magi in the past the Hebrew captive, Daniel. And they read the prophecy of the coming Messiah, the King of the Jews. It’s right there in Daniel 9.
Daniel 9:24-25 Seventy weeks (Seventy Sevens, that is 70x7 =490) are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: (49 years +82 years. Wall finished in 49 years, messiah comes in 483 years from the time of the decree to rebuild the wall.)
Daniel who had been a wise man from the east, from Babylon, foretold the birth of the Messiah at a specified time very probably fulfilled at the Triumphal Entry.
The Magi will always be know as wise for one reason, they searched and found Jesus Christ.
You know the wisest thing any of us can ever do?
Something that would rank you right up there with the magi? If you would search for and find Christ. You might say, "Well, if I saw a star, or had a great prophecy to track down, I would do that!
The truth is that we are surrounded with evidence, surrounded with unfailing provable prophecy, surrounded by undeniable proof and yet most will never take the time to search. These wise men road hundreds of miles because they knew the world had changed when they saw that sign. Our world will change if we just open God’s word and read the Gospel and then begin to search for the Messiah.
Silent Night in World War I
In the midst of the horrors of World War I, there occurred a unique truce when for a few hours, enemies behaved like brothers.
Christmas Eve in 1914 was all quiet on France's Western Front, from the English Channel to the Swiss Alps. Trenches came within 50 miles of Paris. The war was only five months old, and approximately 800,000 men had been wounded or killed. Every soldier wondered whether or not Christmas Day would bring another round of fighting and killing. But something happened: British soldiers raised "Merry Christmas" signs above the trenches, and soon carols were heard from German and British trenches alike. Christmas dawned with unarmed soldiers leaving their trenches, though officers of both sides tried unsuccessfully to stop their troops from meeting the enemy in the middle of no-man's land for songs and conversation. Exchanging small gifts, they passed Christmas Day peacefully along miles of the front. At one spot, the British played soccer with the Germans, who won 3-2.
In some places, the spontaneous truce continued the next day as neither side was willing to fire the first shot. Finally, the war resumed when fresh troops arrived, and the high command of both armies ordered that further "informal understanding" with the enemy would be punishable as treason.
What would have happened if the generals and the national leaders had really sought Christ that Day? What will happen if you and I, no matter the obstacles, really will search for Christ in our battles, conflicts and destruction. Jesus came and changed the world, I know He can change us.
Searching the Scriptures - Matthew 2:4-6
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Wise men because they turned to God's Word.
You know what also made the magi wise men? They searched for the Messiah and they turned to God’s word to make that search successful. They turned to God's word for the answers only God could give them.
They came seeking Jesus but they could not find him from the star alone.
They had to turn to the OT Prophecies of the birth of the Messiah.
Micah 5:2 foretells his birthplace.
The OT was filled with prophecies that foretold the birth, life and death of the Messiah. Signs that God had given to point the way to the Savior.
His coming at a set time. Ge 49:10 Da 9:24,25
His resurrection. Ps 16:10 Isa 26:19
His being forsaken by God Ps 22:1
His being mocked Ps 22:7,8
His hands and feet being nailed to the cross Ps 22:16
The intensity of his sufferings Ps 22:14,15
His garments being parted, and lots cast for his vesture Ps 22:18
His being betrayed by a friend Ps 41:9 55:12-14
Gall and vinegar being given him to drink Ps 69:21
His being born a virgin, His being called Immanuel. Isa 7:14
His being preceded by John the Baptist. Isa 40:3 Mal 3:1
His being numbered with the transgressors, intercession for His murderers, Death Isa 53:12
His being buried with the rich. Isa 53:9
His entering publicly into Jerusalem. Zec 9:9
His being sold for thirty pieces silver Zec 11:12
His price being given for the potter's field Zec 11:13
Over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the lifetime of Jesus. When you break it down 25% of the Bible is actually prophecy. It is sure proof of God saying, “Look here and see my Son, See the Savior, See the Messiah.
God is still leading us to Jesus through the Word.
All we have to do is look and listen as His word shows us Jesus this time not coming into the world but into our hears and lives.
Read Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Read the opening chapters of Romans. In these passages and so many others we see and hear the invitation of Jesus to “Come unto me, all ye that are weak and heavy laden.”
Yet, there will be so many who try to say, "God why didn't you show me? God, will remind them, You had my word, you had my church, you had my pastor, you had my people. Why didn't you listen, why didn't you seek, why didn't you look up and see the signs I had provided? Why did you not follow the trail I left for you to find salvation in my son Jesus.
Titanic ignores warnings.
When the unsinkable Titanic sank, warning after warning had been sent to tell them they were speeding into an ice-field. But the messages were ignored. In fact, when a nearby ship sent an urgent warning, the Titanic was talking to Cape Race about the time chauffeurs were to meet arriving passengers at the dock, and what menus were to be ready.
Preoccupied with trivia, with the mundane, the Titanic radio operator responded to the warning: "Shut up. I am talking to Cape Race. You are jamming my signals."
What are the lost going to tell God on that day they stand before Him? “Shut up, you were jamming my signals!”
The final thing and most important thing the marks these men as wise was that they went…
Seeking the Savior - Matthew 2:7-12
Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Wise men because they found the Saviour
They traveled to the Savior, leaving Jerusalem they went to Bethlehem where Micah’s prophecy said, the Messiah would be born.
As they traveled the star that signaled his birth reappeared. I personally think, this was God’s direct intervention. He hung a star over the place where Jesus was. The Bible says, “When they saw the star they rejoiced greatly!” They knew this was not just a movement of the planets, it was a miracle of the King of Heaven showing them the way.
Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Now I hate to mess up your family heritage nativity scenes, but …. Are you ready for this?... The magi and the shepherds weren’t there at the same time. Nope, sorry. The scripture says they were in a house now, not a stable, and it was a young child they saw, no longer an infant. In fact, it may have been up to two years since they first star appeared, and Jesus was born because that phrase “young child” means a toddler.
Bit. none of that really matters, though. You know what matters? They searched, they found and they worshiped Jesus, the King.
And notice the way they worshiped. The word, worship, means to bow down and I’m sure they did that. He was the King and they bowed before Him. But they also presented the young king with gifts.
Three Gifts, prophetic and symbolic. We don’t know how many magi there were, we do know they gave 3 gifts, and these gifts were symbolic and prophetic.
They presented Him with gold, a proper gift for a king. They gave frankincense, which is an incense used in the Temple by the High Priest. And then they gave him myrrh, a perfume that was used in preparing the body for death.
In these three gifts they show us Jesus, our King, our High Priest and our Savior who would die for us.
This Christmas Season, Do you know where I want to be?
Sure, I want to be with family, they are one of the greatest blessing in life. And believe it our not I want to be with my church. Now don’t be surprised. I love being with God’s people in general and really love being with my church family in particular.
And one other place I want to be this Christmas, and it’s the most precious. I want to be where Jesus is. Just like the wise men I rejoice when I come into His house. I want to worship Jesus as my King. I want to pray to him as my great High Priest and I want to thank Him for dying for me, taking my sin upon Himself, on the cross and then defeating sin and becoming my Savior.
And also like the wise men, who bowed before the King, I want to worship Jesus in the gifts I bring. I don’t have gold, frankincense or myrrh to lay before him, but I can give the gifts that are worthy of the one born a King, my life, my heart and my soul.
My life given in serving him now on this earth. My heart given to love him forever. My soul given for salvation for all eternity. Three gifts, the only ones I can offer, the only ones befitting King Jesus.