Summary: What we can learn from the journey and joy of the Wise Men.
Are you WISE?
January 5, 2014
Well, we made it through last week. That was fun, wasn’t it? We shoveled 5 times last Sunday, then the cold hit, and we all huddled in our homes. But that’s behind us. Now, can you believe we’re almost half way through January? It’s hard to believe Christmas is long gone. Christmas sales are over; Valentine’s Day stuff is out. I’ve even seen some St. Patrick’s Day stuff at the store; and many of us have already given up on our New Year’s Resolutions.
Speaking of New Year’s Resolutions I have the same ones every year! Honestly, I really do, even though I don’t like to make New Year’s Resolutions. I hope I can improve in all aspects of my life. It starts with the heart, moves to the soul, extends to my mind and is wrapped up in my physical being. So that means I’m trying to eat healthier, drink more water, pray and read the Bible more, be better at loving my family, stretch my mind with reading and discovery, and exercise more. That’s it. It’s the same every year. Because every year I can improve in those areas.
Now if you resolved to attend worship on a weekly basis, not letting the cold or snow; heat or rain stop you, then great work! You’ve succeeded! Week 1 didn’t count.
So, let take a little survey ~
How many of you still have your Christmas tree and decorations up?
How many of you have you thrown out your tree, and you’ve taken down your Christmas decorations until next Christmas season?
There aren’t too many of us who wait until after the passing of Epiphany to take down our Christmas décor. What word did I just say?
Epiphany! Literally it means a "manifestation," a "striking appearance, or a revelation!" Traditionally, it’s a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ.
It always occurs on January 6th. Epiphany was this past Monday.
In the western church world, Epiphany is the day the Magi finally reached Mary and Joseph and offered their extravagant gifts to Jesus. Yet, I think we find this story either too cute or irrelevant, or maybe even kind of out dated.
Maybe it’s because we've opened, used, returned, eaten and even broken our presents. We’ve packed up our nativity scenes even before the wise men had a chance to show up for the celebration.
So, let’s read the story about these wise men. The story is found in Matthew 2 ~
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,
2 saying, “Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;
4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him.”
9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the Child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
11 And going into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him.
Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Now, there’s so much we can unpack in this passage. We can get lost in lots of details. But I want to focus on two main points. When the Magi finally reached their destination, what was the first thing they did?
Matthew 2:11 tells us they fell down and worshiped Him. Isn’t that cool!
These wise men weren’t even Jews. We presume they were wealthy and respected. They were on speaking terms with the king. As astrologers they were privy to the secrets of the stars.