Summary: The second of three sermons looking at how God used the gifts of the wise men to tell about Jesus and His life.
What do we know about the wise men? (little to nothing, just that they were from the east-Matt. 2:1)
What was the first gift? (gold)
What did the gold represent? (purity, marriage and kingship)
What came next? (frankincense)
-as mentioned last week, the Nativity Story movie present Mary with the gifts for Jesus and say, “Gold, for the King of Kings, frankincense for the Priest of Priests, and myrrh, for the sacrifice He will make.”
-and like last week, we have a little gift for everyone.
[HAND OUT FRANKINCENSE]
-so gold was representative of Jesus’ birth, frankincense is representative of Jesus’ life. But how?
1. JESUS AS HEALER
-a huge, huge part of Jesus’ ministry was healing.
-in the Bible, we have recorded 35 miracles of Jesus. Of these 35, 26 are healing, not to mention verses like the end of the book of John where he writes that all of Jesus’ miracles would probably fill all the books in all the world.
-or this one:
**Matt. 8:16-17 -> 16That evening people brought to Jesus many who had demons. Jesus spoke and the demons left them, and He healed all the sick. 17He did these things to bring about what Isaiah the prophet had said: “He took our suffering on Him and carried our diseases.” (NCV)
-did you notice it in there? All the sick. Every single one. In the entire Bible we have no instance of Jesus not healing someone. There was no one that we know of who came to Him and He said no. Often makes me wonder why we don’t have everyone healed.
-so how does this tie in with frankincense? In China, frankincense was used as a medicine to heal leprosy. Where did the wise men come from…? The east?
-leprosy was believed to be uncureable, it was a disease that you just eventually withered away and died from, until Jesus came along.
**Mark 1:40-42 -> 40A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. 41Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. (NLT)
-there was no cure for this disease. When you were diagnosed with leprosy in Biblical times, you would have to live outside the town or village until you became clean, which pretty much never happened.
-you were constantly reminded of your disease because you had to live among other people with the same disease. They would have to live in leper colonies alone and by themselves, never seeing their families or friends, only other diseased people, some further along so you knew what you could look forward to. People from town would come and deliver food, meaning drop it in a bucket and run away being nowhere near you never talking to you.
-but if that wasn’t bad enough, if you ever left your colony, you had to make sure that everyone around you knew you had leprosy so they wouldn’t come near you. You had to wear torn garments to signify your uncleanness, then you had to yell “Unclean, Unclean” every time someone came even close to them. Richer people, and this took off in the Middle Ages, they had to carry a bell and ring it wherever they went.
-they were always outcasts, they were never loved, they were never even talked to. They were permanently set apart from society, looked upon as sick walking death.
-then comes Jesus. Lepers broke the law by coming to talk to Jesus. They weren’t supposed to be close to anyone. Think about how much love they felt because someone other than another diseased dying person was talking to them. Was looking them in the eye. Was acknowledging their presence!
-but then He did something more amazing. He healed them. He got rid of this filthy, disgusting, unclean disease that was inside of them and made them new. He made them clean.
-this is why Jesus came, to make us clean!
**Matt. 15:18-20 -> 18But what people say with their mouths comes from the way they think; these are the things that make people unclean. 19Out of the mind come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, and speaking evil of others. 20These things make people unclean; eating with unwashed hands does not make them unclean.” (NCV)
-we as people are unclean spiritually, and Jesus came to heal our spiritual leprosy.
-the reason Jesus did miracles was not just some novelty act, He did it so people would understand that He had the authority to forgive sins, just as He had the authority to heal bodies.
-He explains this one day with a paralyzed man.