Summary: Message about the Magi and what we can learn from them.
He¡¦s Worth Searching For!
December 21, 2003
In this last Sunday before Christmas, I wanted us to look at a part of the Christmas story that we are all familiar with, or at least in a sense. As we look at the story of the wise men, I want to ask you a trivia question: how many kings from the Orient visited Jesus at the manger?
Did you know the Bible doesn¡¦t mention kings coming to the manger? Or anywhere else for that matter. Really!
So where do we get our information about these visitors to the manger?
Well, the Bible tells us about these visitors, and we¡¦re going to look at them this morning, and hopefully, we¡¦ll walk away a little better informed.
But more than that, I want to point out some things we can take with us and apply to our own lives, okay?
So let¡¦s turn to our passage for today, Matthew 2:1-12. If you¡¦re using the Bibles in the seats, this is on page 681.
MT 2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
6 " `But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ "
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
This morning I want to explore three questions regarding the Magi and their search for the King of the Jews, Jesus Christ.
These three questions are listed in the note-taking guide in your bulletin, and I truly hope that as we go through this, you¡¦ll do more than just fill in the blanks.
My fervent hope is that by the time we leave here today you¡¦ll find a reason to worship the Savior, just as they did.
Let¡¦s get started by first looking at¡K
1. Who were these guys?
„Y Probably astrologers.
The word ¡§magi¡¨ is actually the plural of the word meaning magicians, astrologers, etc.
Dr. John MacArthur writes about the importance of the magi: ¡§Because of their combined knowledge of science, agriculture, mathematics, history, and the occult, they became the most prominent and powerful group of advisors in the Medo-Persian and subsequently the Babylonian empire. Historians tell us that no Persian was ever able to become king without mastering the scientific and religious disciplines of the magi and then being approved and crowned by them.¡¨ (The Gospel According to Matthew, p.27)
„Y From the ¡§east¡¨ ¡V probably Babylon (modern day Iraq) or Persia (modern day Iran).
This was the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, where the magi were prominent.
„Y They did not come to the manger, but to a house, some time after the birth.
Verse 11 tells us they came to a house, not a manger. And it was in Bethlehem. For the first couple years of Jesus¡¦ life, the family lived in Bethlehem.
The point here is that given the time of the star appearing, and the time it would have taken travelers to get to Israel, Jesus may very well have been a toddler rather than an infant.
We also have a clue because of the time frame Herod gave when issuing his command to destroy all boys two years and younger.
I came across this as I was researching this message, and thought you¡¦d enjoy it.