Summary: God’s invitation to Jesus’ birth.
A Christmas Presence - Magi
December 16, 2007
For 2 weeks now we have sought to be attentive to the group of people our heavenly Father invited to be present at the birth of his son Jesus in Bethlehem.
During these 2 weeks, we have identified from the scriptures, the people our God intentionally invited, called pursued to be present when Jesus the very Son of God was birthed into human flesh.
At the heart of God was a desire that specific people
Come and see.
Come and adore.
Come and lay their eyes on the Christ Child.
God the Father made the birth of his son known to a group of people because God desired to be in relationship with them. This was our God. This is our God.
A God who seeks us.
A God who desires us.
Each person we have talked about received a sign, a prompting, a signal, an invitation to go and see Jesus.
John’s invitation came through God’s Holy Spirit.
Mary received her invitation through the angel Gabriel.
Next week, when we talk about the shepherds, we’ll see that they were given the birth announcement through a multitude of angels.
And in a few moments we will see that a star was put in the sky to guide the Magi, the Wisemen to the baby Jesus.
Each of these was given a sign
To John -the Holy Spirit
To Mary -Gabriel
To the shepherds-a choir of angels.
To the Magi -a star
And to you and to me?
What has God placed in your life to guide you towards Him?
Have you recognized his sign for you?
What was it that you saw
Experienced that got you going on this spiritual journey that you are currently on?
Have you identified what it was or who it was or when it was that got you in motion toward responding to our God who has been pursuing you since the day you were born?
Regardless of whether you can or cannot identify those sign posts along the way leading and guiding you toward our God - the Bible states that none of us seek God on our own. In Romans 3:11, Paul writes just that "no one seeks God." Because this is so by God’s grace he acts first, He initiates a relationship with you and me and bids us to respond to him.
Friends - if we are receptive
If our eyes are attentive
Our ears open.
Our hearts longing
The witness of Scripture tells us we will be led to our God - in fact God himself will lead you there -
Through your heart
Situations our God intertwines himself - leading us to him. The Christian faith isn’t so much us seeking God and us trying to figure God out - (for who could ever do that) instead it is a response to the promptings, signs, and truth from our God that enter our lives.
So often we tend to be inactive and unresponsive in our search for God because
We think we don’t know enough.
We have too questions.
Or we are too upset with a God who would allow ________ to happen.
We become immobilized by our excuses, questions - instead what I see as I read the Bible is the invitation to respond to God in faith based upon the limited signs that God does give us. And as we follow one breadcrumb after another, as we take one step at a time - as we walk by faith and not sit on the sidelines focusing and stewing on all our questions - we will be lead to our God and then be able to look back and see that he has been with us all along.
There were essentially 4 people or groups of people mentioned in the text we just read.
There was King Herod.
The people in Jerusalem.
The Chief Priests and Teachers of the Law.
And the Magi.
Each of them were made aware, were given a sign about the one born in Bethlehem - but each of them responded in a particular way. Each of then had opportunity to go and adore the Christ child, but for different reasons only the Magi went.
The text first tells us about King Herod. In verse 3, we are told that when the Magi/the Wise Men enter his presence asking about the one been born who is King of the Jews - verse 3 tells us "he was disturbed."
Other texts say troubled
He was perplexed.
Why? Because he was King Herod.
He was ruler over the Jews.
He was the one in power
And he, Herod took it seriously, expecting, demanding and manipulating people into obedience.