Summary: 3 lessons we can learn from the journey of the magi.
A King to be Worshipped
Woodlawn Baptist Church
December 21, 2003
One of the things I love about Christmas is that it is traditionally a time of celebration. For some reason, at Christmas time, people suddenly start thinking about family and friends and love and peace, about giving and sharing and helping those in need. I’m not really sure why we wait until December to begin being this way, but that’s the way it is. When you go to the stores and restaurants, it seems that people in general are friendlier and more cheerful. When I think of all of it I can’t help but wish that people were like that all year round. However, we have to deal with things the way they are, not the way they ought to be. I for one am glad there is much celebration in the world this month – and of all people, we ought to be celebrating the most! After all, we know the real reason for the celebrating! I am reminded of Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well. She and Jesus were talking when the woman said to Him,
“Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
Jesus replied to the woman by pointing out that her worship was all wrong. He said,
“Woman…you don’t know what you worship. We do know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.”
Listen, there are people all around us this Christmas season celebrating – and like that woman they talk about the meaning of Christmas and think they know what it’s all about, but I think we find ourselves in Jesus’ position – “Woman…you don’t know what you worship.” They really don’t have a clue what Christmas is all about – but there is coming a day when they will find out. The Father wants them to. I’ll add this too: if we really love people the way we ought to, then we’ll not condemn them for their wrong ideas about Christmas – we’ll try to reach them in love with the message of the birth of the Savior!
The passage we’re going to read this morning is a passage of celebration – a passage of worship. We’re going to follow the journey of the wise men as they seek this newborn King of the Jews. As we follow them, there are some lessons I think we can learn from their experience, and the end result should be the same as theirs. Let’s read Matthew 1:1-12 now.
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea 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. 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 Judea: 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. 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.”
God Will Lead Those Who Are Truly Seeking Christ.
Verse 1 of our text says that there were wise men who had traveled from the east. The word from which we get wise men is actually the word magi, from which we get the word magician. Most people assume there were three of them, an idea that probably came from the fact that there are only three gifts mentioned, but the fact is that we don’t know how many of these wise men there actually were. There could have been two, a dozen, or several dozen.