Sermons

Summary: This is the first message in a series looking at classic Christmas stories and relating them to the biblical account of Jesus’ birth.

“Christmas Classics”

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS

December 7, 2002

Introduction

Tonight we begin a very special holiday message series on Christmas classics. For the next three weeks, we will look at a different classic Christmas story and apply biblical principles from the story of Jesus’ birth to it. Tonight, we look at the modern day “Scrooge”: The Grinch. Our Christmas classic tonight is “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”. As we will see in the biblical account of Jesus’ birth, the ancient “Grinch” of the Bible is King Herod.

Let’s view a clip of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”. (Show video clip.)

Our message tonight comes from Matthew 2:1-18, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 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.’ When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 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. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written: ‘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.’ Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He send 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.’ 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. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 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. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’ When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.’

Herod and our friend the Grinch seem to have some similarities in personality and temperament. There is one problem that the Grinch and Herod share. Like the Grinch, Herod had a heart problem. For the Grinch, he had a heart that was two sizes too small. For Herod, his heart was hard and filled with volatile emotions.

Tonight, we are going to take a closer look at the symptoms of Herod’s heart condition.

I. HEROD’S HEART TREMBLED WITH FEAR.

Upon hearing of Jesus’ birth and that this infant was to be “king of the Jews”, we read of Herod’s response. Matthew 2:3, “When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.” The news of Jesus’ birth sent fear running through the heart of Herod.

It’s mind boggling to consider some of man’s fears. Louis Pasteur, the great scientist and inventor had a fear of dirt and germs and refused to shake hands with other people. President and Mrs. Benjamin Harrison were occupants of the White House when electricity was installed. They were so scared of electricity that they wouldn’t touch the light switches. If there were no servants around to turn off the lights when they went to bed, they slept with them on.

Five year old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made dinner. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to because it was dark in there and he was afraid of the dark. His mother asked again and he still resisted. Finally, his mother said, “It will be OK, Jesus will be in there with you.” Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and opened it. He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when he got an idea and said, “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me a can of soup.”

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