Summary: God wants to give you: 1. The hope of His protection (vs. 13). 2. The hope of His purpose (vs. 13-14). 3. The hope of His prophecy (vs. 14-23). 4. The hope that overcomes our pain (vs. 16-18).
God's Hope Will Get You through the Hardest Times
The Gospel of Matthew
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - December 26, 2012
(Revised September 22, 2020)
*Please open your Bibles to Matthew 2, as we take another look at the story of the Wise Men. And though we sing about three Wise Men who went to see the baby King Jesus, the Bible doesn't tell us how many there were.
*We also put the Wise Men in our Manger scenes, even though they don't really belong there. By the time they got to Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary had already moved into a house. And based on what the Wise Men told King Herod, Jesus may have been two years old when they finally saw Him.
*But the Wise Men are an important part of the Christmas story, and their story begins in vs. 1-12:
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 have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
3. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5. So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6. 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
7. Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared.
8. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."
9. When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.
10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
11. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
*Before we see what happened next, it's important for us to understand more about King Herod. He was an evil monster. John Phillips explained that Herod’s reign was one of bitter hatred, suspicion, and terrible atrocities. No man or woman was safe while Herod reigned. One by one, he murdered every rival to the throne. He murdered his wife’s 17-year-old brother, because he was popular with the Jews. He murdered the beautiful Maccabean princess he had married, because he was suspicious of her, and he murdered both of her sons. Five days before Herod's death he also murdered his own son and heir.
*Herod hacked and hewed his way through life, slaughtering thousands of people. A typical afternoon’s entertainment for this man was to watch seven or eight hundred of his subjects being crucified on a public platform set up in the middle of the city. He would get drunk while he and his concubines enjoyed the gruesome sight. (1)
*King Herod was a human monster, and tonight's Scripture tells about one of his cruelest atrocities. But this part of the Wise Men's story can give us hope that overcomes the most horrible things in life. Let's begin by reading Matthew 2:13-23.
*King Herod was a human monster, and there are many monstrous people in the world today, evil people filled with murderous hatred and cruelty. They rule with an iron grip in countries like Communist China. And some people in our own country would love to rule us with that kind of power. Our nation has only survived by the grace of God, the prayers of God's people, and the willingness of good people to take a stand.
*But terrible things can happen anytime, anywhere in our fallen world. In 2020, Covid 19, the summer riots, the wildfires out west, and destructive hurricanes are just a few examples that come to mind.
*Then there are the personal tragedies we all go through. About two weeks ago, one of the outstanding young men in our community passed away. His name was Corban Gulde, and He was 18. Corbin's obituary said that "he worked in the Monroe DA's Office and planned to pursue a career in criminal law. He loved music and was an avid guitar player and singer.