Summary: Focuses on the gold that the wise men brought to see what was kingly about Jesus.
WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM, PART 1
GOLD FOR A KING
NOVEMBER 27, 2016
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C
FARM HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, HARRISBURG, AR
INTRO. There is so much I love about Christmas. I guess it would be easier to talk about what I don’t like about Christmas. Uhhh, I really can’t think of too much at the moment! “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” is sort of dumb, and I can’t stand fruitcake. That's really about it. So this is a great time of year for me. We got all our decorations up at the house on Friday and Saturday, and several Christmas get-togethers are on the horizon. All we need now is about a foot of snow!
One Christmas thing that has intrigued for a long time are the wise men. Now, there isn’t very much that we know about them from the Bible. There is some more from church tradition, which may or may not be accurate. But just the whole idea of this group of three or more men, wise intellectuals, wealthy, perhaps even royalty, with all their servants and so on, making this journey to a cow town in some lowly Third World country to worship the one who would be the King of all kings.
And so we start with Melchior from Persia and his gift of gold. Gold, of course, is a precious metal and no doubt came in handy for the family of Jesus as they would soon be traveling to Egypt for an extended stay far away from home. Gold is a universal currency and you can spend it pretty much anywhere for anything, even today. But there is more to gold than there appears. Gold is a symbol of divinity throughout the Bible. Pagan religions often made their idols out of gold. When God gave the instructions for the building of the Ark of the Covenant, which would hold the tablets of stone that the Ten Commandments were written on, and the rod of Aaron that miraculously budded, God said that the Ark was to be overlaid with gold inside and out. He also said there was to be molding of gold all around it, with four rings of gold, one at each corner. Then, the mercy seat that was to stand over the Ark of the covenant, which was about 45 inches long and 27 inches wide, was to made of pure gold (Exodus 20:10-17). You might say that God has a history with gold! So as Melchior placed the gold at the foot of the manger, he was making a statement about who this baby was. And who was he?
I. JESUS WAS THE KING FOR THAT TIME. Once the wise men made their way to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, they start to turn the town upside down, looking for the new King. When King Herod hears about this search for a King, he is scared out of his wits. He consults with the religious experts and they tell him where the King is to be born. Herod sends the wise men on their way, but his plan is to follow behind them and permanently remove this threat to his throne. But let me ask a question. How many people pray to Herod these days? How many churches are named after him? How many people are willing to die for Herod? The point is, the reign of King Herod died with him. But the reign of King Jesus has never ended! And it began in that time. We see that in a couple of ways.
A. Jesus was a king in how he taught. Many times in the Gospels, crowds are amazed at the teaching of Jesus. Once in the Gospel of John, the chief priests and the Pharisees are very concerned about Jesus. The temple guards are sent to arrest Jesus, but report back to the Jewish leaders empty-handed. When asked why, they answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” (John 7:46), and it was like that all throughout his ministry. People were shocked, they were challenged, they were infuriated, they were comforted by what he had to say. But one could never be indifferent to Jesus. The wise men were not, and King Herod was not indifferent either.
B. Jesus was a king in how he lived. While Jesus lived on this earth, he never had the trappings of royalty. He never wore the kingly robes, he never had a court of servants to attend to his every want, and the only crown he wore was a crown of thorns. But he lived and died as a King! He moved through his human life with the attitude and standing of a king. Mark Driscoll, formerly the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, stated: “The only thing that gets me out of bed on Monday morning is the picture in the Book of Revelation of King Jesus on His throne ruling over all of creation” (Robert Leroe on sermoncentral.com). As his followers got to know Jesus more and more, they realized what kind of person they were following. The King of the Universe was the King for that time.