Summary: What was God's real goal for Christmas? Philippians 2:9-11 makes clear that Jesus came so that all knees would bow and all tongues would confess in worship of the God of grace!!
Intro: How many know how many more shopping days till Christmas? Today there are 13 shopping days until Christmas. The goal for many for Christmas has become finding the perfect gift at the perfect price. But what was God’s goal for Christmas? What was the real purpose for Christmas?
Philippians 2:9-11 “For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth— 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
Jesus received a name above every name so that;
“every knee will bow,” this is worship.
“every tongue confess,” this is witness or testimony.
This was also God’s goal for the star in the east.
I believe there are only three type of people that respond to God’s call and revelation to worship.
1) Those that Jesus sneaks up on and surprises – instant worshippers – shepherds
2) Those that Jesus takes on a spiritual journey – Gradual worshippers -- Wise men
3) Those that don’t respond to Jesus at all – Non-worshippers – Herod, Scribes & Priest -- Religious
I. Herod responded to news of Jesus with instability (deeply disturbed)
A) Herod was clever
He was known for being a good speaker and diplomat
He was a shrewd politician:
1) When the economy was struggling in Judea he returned tax money to the people.
2) During a severe famine in 25 BC he melted down gold plates in the palace and gave the money to the poor.
He was someone that would have been looked up to today. He was well organized and in control of his house, country and kingdom.
He was known for great public works and construction projects. He built miles of aqueducts, theatres, a race track, tow mountain top fortresses, Herodian and Masada. He built the beautiful port city of Cesarea, rebuilt Samaria, and rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem.
B) Herod was cruel
Despite all these positive qualities he was completely suspicious and self-protective.
This led to him murdering anyone who he thought threatened his power.
This makes his response to the announcement of a king much more believable. He was troubled, agitated. The wise men came and made announcement that shook Herod to his core. Matthew 2:2-3 (read) The word in the Hebrew means to shake.
1) Herod’s world was shaken when he heard about a king
2) Herod was willing to do anything to protect his lifestyle
(most peoples problem with the gospel.)
The gospel about Jesus isn’t good advice to make your life easier. The gospel of Jesus is the announcement of a King that you are invited to bow you knee!
Herod said, “come back and tell me where he is so I can worship Him.”
Herod had a desire and a drive to know His enemy not worship His king.
Herod had a desire to deal decisively with His enemy.
The Christmas seasons is a time where we should honestly examine the desires of our heart.
II. Priests and scribes responded to news of Jesus with indifference.
A far worse response to the announcement of Jesus birth comes from the priests. Thy do not get excited, agitated or angry they simply couldn’t care less. The ones that were supposed to long for and look for the coming of messiah were not moved an inch.
A) They had the advantage of Scripture
When Herod asked where is the king of the Jews to be born they knew. They quoted Micah and Jeremiah. They knew where he was supposed to be born but ignored that he had been born.
B) They had the advantage of Nearness
The priests and scribes would only have to travel 5 to 6 miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
They were supposed to be the people seeking and sharing the Messiah with the world.
Since the people of Israel wouldn’t take the light to the nations, God designed a light to bring the nations to Him!
The priests and scribes had knowledge in the heads but no hunger in their hearts. God would much rather us be infants in learning as long as we are hungry for Him in our hearts.
Their knowledge didn’t humble them and cause them to worship
Their knowledge didn’t break their pride and cause them to seek Jesus
Don’t ever let your knowledge be a roadblock to a relationship to Jesus.
The Christmas season is a time to ask ourselves, “Am I simply growing in knowledge or am I growing in personal knowledge of Jesus.”
III. Wise men responded to the news of Jesus with curiosity then worship (wise cracks)
A) Biblical information about the Magi