Summary: A Christmas Sermon: philosophy, science, and religion can only take us to Jerusalem, it takes special revelation from God's word to find Jesus. Message taken from the Magi's journey.
Christmas – God’s Special Revelation
In a Peanut’s cartoon, Charlie Brown goes up to Lucy and says, “Someone said we should live each day as if it were the last day of our lives.”
Lucy then runs out screaming, “Aaugh, this is the last day, this is it. I only have 24 hours left! Help me! Help me! This is the last day. Aaugh”
Charlie Brown, now all alone, muses, “Some philosophies aren’t for all people.”
As we look at today’s message there’s a reality, which is, philosophies, science, and nature can only take a person so far. What’s needed from there is a special revelation from God.
Read Matthew 2:1-12
When looking at the Wise Men, many wonder, “Who are these wise guys?”
The actual word that is used is “Magi.” These were priests or counselors whose origins are generally Eastern and most likely from the region of Babylon who wandered from court to court, attending births, coronations, and the major events of their day, and so they were use to traveling distances.
They were the experts of their day in the sciences of astronomy, philosophy, and psychology, along with the study of astrology, interpretation of dreams, and the occultic arts. They served as royal court advisors making forecasts and predictions based upon their studies.
As these Wise Men were practicing their craft there appeared in the heavens a star, a heavenly sign that something great was happening. It was in the Western sky pointing them to the land of Judea.
As I said these men were well studied, and familiar with the prophecies from various lands. Therefore they would have been familiar with the writings of God’s prophets.
They would have been aware of the writings of Daniel who actually lived in Babylon during the time of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and Cyrus, King of the Medes and Persians.
In one of Daniel’s prophecies he wrote down God’s word that 70 weeks, or 70 groups of 7 years, which comes form the word he used, “heptad,” had been determined upon the nation of Israel for complete restoration, and this was to begin with the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:24-27)
But one week before the end, or 69 weeks, the Messiah the prince would come and then die.
So it would have been 483 years from the time when Artaxerxes Longimanus gave the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem which was around 445 B.C., and so the time for the Messiah was now at hand.
These Wise Men would have also been familiar with the prophecy of one of their own, Balaam. It was a prophecy given while he was trying to curse Israel for King Balak of Moab while Israel was wandering in the wilderness.
He said, “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” (Numbers 24:7 NKJV)
With these portents they headed west to the land of Judea to find a great king of Israel. Therefore it was little wonder when showing up on King Herod’s doorstep they asked
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2 NKJV)
They came following a star, a sign in the heavens. They came based upon their studies and observations. But while such studies may lead us in the right direction, they don’t lead us to the fullness of the truth.
Notice that the star and their studies didn’t lead them to Bethlehem and Jesus, rather it lead them to Jerusalem.
When the people look to the heavens and nature and try to find meaning, these will only lead them so far. It shows that a Creator must exist, that evolution is a farce, and it shows that there is something more to life than mere existence.
Paul in his letter to the Romans says,
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”(Romans 1:20 NKJV)
Paul is saying that God is easily discernable in nature. He’s saying the Lord, who Himself is invisible, makes Himself known through what He has created. That when someone looks at the universe the only conclusion they can come up with is that God exists.
King David said,
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2)
Yet, in and of itself, these studies and such knowledge only takes a person so far.
In 1992 a member of the American Physical Society, an organization working to advance the knowledge of physics, said,