Sermons

Summary: Wisdom from the wise men for the wise men who still seek Him.

Ancient wisdom of Wise Men

Matthew 2:1-12

“1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[1] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east[2] and have come to worship him." 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ[3] was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6 "`But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’[4] " 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east[5] went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. “

Thesis:

This morning we will survey the activity of the wise men in the Christmas account and see how their wisdom was proven through their decisions. We will also see how these principles apply to the “Wise men who still seek Him”

I. Background on this scripture.

A) Who were the Magi?

(1) Some believe they were eastern kings.

There is no evidence of this anywhere

(2) Some say they were astronomers.

Those who hold this view are quick to point out the difference between the study of the stars (Astronomy) and the worship of the stars (Astronomy).

(3) Some say they were Magicians (astrologers).

·If this is the case it is not a statement of support for pagan cultic practice (such as the zodiac)

·It is a statement of the grace of God that draws sinners on a search for a King who can grant forgiveness.

(4) The most likely claim is that the magi were

Babylonians who had inherited the prophesies

of Daniel from their ancestors.

There were astrologers called Magi in the royal court of the king of Persia. They were unexpected worshipers of Jesus.

“Many sources from this period report the skill of Magi in divination, but Matthew’s audience would probably recall first the Magi of their Greek translation of the Old Testament: Daniel’s enemies, whom Daniel’s narratives portray in a negative light as selfish, incompetent and brutal pagans (Dan 2:2, 10)” IVP commentary.

·Perhaps, the wisest of the Wise Men Was Daniel who may have shared the prophecy of the Star with a group of pagan stargazers he once led as a voice for godliness.

Several hundred years before this account in Matthew, Daniel may have wisely shared the prophecy of the Star, which would mark the coming of the messiah with the Babylonians.

Numbers 24:17 “There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…”

The Babylonian magi may have recorded this fact, which would stand out to them. Generations later when the star appeared to their ancestors they may have begun their journey to the land of Daniel to crack the mystery.(complete biblical library)

“Although the Bible forbade divination (Deut 18:9-13), which includes astrology (Is 47:13; see also Deut 4:19), for one special event in history the God who rules the heavens chose to reveal himself where the pagans were looking (compare Acts 19:12, 15-20). Without condoning astrology, Matthew’s narrative challenges our prejudice against outsiders to our faith (see also 8:5-13; 15:21-28): even the most pagan of pagans may respond to Jesus if given the opportunity (compare Jon 1:13-16; 3:6-10).” IVP commentary

**It is interesting that these apparent stargazers had to go and enlist the help Harod who intern had to have the Jewish religious leaders search the scriptures for an answer.

·This is a good reminder to us that all things are subject to scripture. And That the Bible contains the answers to our spiritual search – when read by the light of the Holy Spirit.

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