Summary: Hope as it is used in the Word of God has a much different meaning than the word hope used in this world.
Title: Christmas Hope
Theme: The Hope of the Wise Men
Series: The Cast of Christmas
Listen as I read Matthew 2:1-11, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’ When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:’ ‘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.’ Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 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.’ After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 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.” (Matthew 2:1-11) Pray!!!!
Introduction: Hope as it is used in the Word of God has a much different meaning than the word hope used in this world. Children hope they will get a certain type of Christmas gift.
Some people hope they will graduate from high school and go on to college or hope they can find that certain job or career that will make them the amount of money they want to earn or that fame they hope to gain. Others hope that they can do whatever will bring satisfaction for themselves and to others. Others hope that they can beat their cancer this year, be with loved ones just one more year, one more Christmas.
The word hope as the world sees it is a tool to keep you going when you lose your health or job and even when you lose someone you love. Hope is a word that can spark life inside your heart and tell you tomorrow, next week, next month or next year you will reach your goals. It is an anchor word that points to the future.
The problem with the world’s view on hope is it is all based on uncertainty. Hope in all the things I have just mentioned is good, but there is no guarantee you will graduate from high school, go to college, or get that job or career that will bring fame and riches or fulfillment. Hope from this world’s perspective gives no guarantee that you are going to enjoy good health tomorrow, no guarantee you will be with family next week, next year or next Christmas. In fact all the hopes I have mentioned so far are, in reality, only wishes.
Proposition: I would propose to you that hope promised in the Word of God is a unique hope that is far beyond a wish, it is an absolute certainty. It is the kind of hope found in the life of the Magi.
Interrogative Sentence: Just what is this hope and how do we express a life that says, “My hope is in Christ?”
Transitional Sentence: There is much that the Holy Spirit of Christ wants you to grasp this Christmas season as we take time to look at the Biblical accounts of the lives of those who were physically involved in the life of Christ that first Christmas. Our text says, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea… Magi from the east came to Jerusalem…” (Matthew 2:1)
Who were these “Magi?” Some translations say, “wise men.” Although the Bible does not say much about these worshipers of Christ, extra-Biblical evidence found through Christian historians offers us clues that shed some light about these men who were around about the time of Christ. These men were “Magi” (magos) who could very likely have been Persian priests. By the time of Christ’s birth these Persian priests became almost exactly what the Levites were in Israel. They became teachers and instructors of the Persian kings and at this time period they were good men, who sought truth and great wisdom. These wise men were skilled in philosophy, medicine, and natural science. They were able to combine secular and religious aspects of knowledge and understanding. (William Barclay; The Complete Word Study Dictionary; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament; Dictionary of Biblical Languages; Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains: Tyndale reference library)