Sermons

Summary: How do you respond to Christ the King Who is the fulfillment of the ages? Like Herod, and all Jerusalem with him, do you hate Him and fear Him? Or, like the shepherds and magi’s, do you bow down before Him and worship Him?

Opening illustration: A young boy desperately wanted a bicycle for Christmas, so he asked his parents for the bike; His parents wanted to teach him the importance of prayer, so they suggested the young boy should write a letter to Jesus and pray for one instead." Not pleased with the response of his parents, he immediately threw a temper tantrum and his parents sent him to his room.

Once he was in his room he decided to take his parents advice and write a letter to Jesus.

Dear Jesus, I’ve been a good boy this year and would love a new bicycle. Can you see if I can have a new Bicycle? Your Friend, Johnny. This went on for a while … all in vain.

Then Johnny looked deep down in his heart, which by the way was what his parents really wanted. He knew he had been bad boy and hoped he would receive something simply because Jesus loved him. He then crumpled up the letter, threw it in the trash can and went downstairs, where his mother had a Nativity set on the fire place mantle. He then took the statue of Mary wrapped it in a blanket and hid it under his bed. Then he wrote this letter.

Dear Jesus, If you ever want to see your mother again – give me a bicycle. We have to admit some people will try anything to get what they want for Christmas! This was so real for Herod and also for many today.

Introduction: Today I must tell you an awful story and one that we should never forget. It is the story of how a lot of babies were killed by a very jealous king. It is also a story about Jesus and God's plan to save him from death as a baby. Many Christians (adults and children) have been beheaded or killed during this past year for their faith in Christ. Those whose image of God is Superman have little patience with the God, who does not make life perfect for everyone. By their admirable zeal that the world be made right, they are, however, kept from seeing the goodness and beauty of God-made-human. This Jesus, born in the midst of Herod’s brutality, knows our suffering, comes to the frightened and the sick and the hungry, feeds and heals, and teaches the presence of God’s power wherever there are tears.

Christians do not worship a God who simply fixes problems. We worship a God who comforts those who suffer and who visits us with dreams and visions and insights as with Joseph.

What did the flight to Egypt fulfill?

1. The EXODUS (vs. 13-14)

We know that Herod's intention was not to worship the Child but to kill Him. That's why Herod wanted to know when the star first appeared. And that's why Herod wanted the Magi to report back to him. When the Magi found the Christ child, they worshiped Him and gave Him gifts. But did they report back to Herod as requested? In His providence, God prevented that from happening.

The distance from Bethlehem to Egypt is about 200 miles. The trip probably took them at least 10 days to complete on foot. I am sure they must have faced threat of thieves and muggers along the way. If the trip was so difficult, why did God command them to go to Egypt?

First of all, Herod's power did not reach to Egypt so the Christ-Child would be safe there. Second, historically Egypt has been the land of refuge for those fleeing from Palestine for one reason or another.

• It was in Egypt that Jacob, and his family found refuge during the years of famine in Canaan (Genesis 42f).

• When King Solomon sought to put Jeroboam to death, "Jeroboam fled to Egypt" (1 Kings 11:40).

• When the citizens of Judah killed the governor who Nebuchadnezzar had placed over them, they forced the prophet Jeremiah to flee with them to Egypt (Jeremiah 41:17).

• In light of all this, it was only natural that Egypt was the place that Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus went to for safety.

While they are in Egypt the horrific slaughtering of all children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under took place. I don’t think this can be brushed over, and I think it might be a place to spend some time this week, as hard as that is in the Christmas season. We are not unfamiliar with the slaughtering of children in world news. The school children killed in Pakistan just before Christmas, the teenage girls kidnapped in Nigeria earlier in 2014 - these are world news stories that will possibly be brought to mind with this text. Could it speak to our pain and grief and confusion about these modern-day situations? Possibly! What happens when absolute power goes unchecked? What happens when fear of the unknown drives decision-making?

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