Summary: Lessons we can learn from men known for their wisdom.
I want you to think about something this morning. If you had to describe yourself in one word this morning, what would that one word be? If other people had to describe you using one word, what would that one word be? Think about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Does Happy or Grumpy describe you? Maybe you are more like Sleepy or Sneezy. Or, maybe you already have a nickname that people use that describes you in some way. I had a friend in high school that I could never remember his real name. Everyone always called him Screwy. I asked him why everyone called him that, and he didn’t really know why; but it didn’t take long until you figured out that this was an appropriate word that you could use to describe him.
Now, in the Christmas story, there are a group of people in the account in Matthew that were not known by their names. Instead, they were known simply as the wise men. That sounds like a nickname I could live with, but did you ever wonder how things would have been if the three wise men would have been women?
1. First of all, they would have stopped to ask for directions before they arrived in Jerusalem and alerted King Herod.
2. They would have arrived on time to help deliver the baby.
3. They would have cleaned and decorated the stable to make it a more soothing environment.
4. Finally, they would have brought more practical gifts such as a casserole, diapers and baby wipes.
But seriously, despite the short fallings of these men that visited the baby Jesus, they were still seen as wise in the eyes of everyone around. They were so wise that their wisdom was more evident than their names. And, if they were so wise, I figure that there are things that we can learn from them. Turn with me to Matthew 2:1-12 so that we can read about their wisdom from Scripture, or you can follow along in your sermon notes.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod he king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, Land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshipped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.
As we open up the words of this verse, I want us to find out how we can have a wise Christmas. What set these men apart as wise in God’s eyes? Let’s discover that as we open in prayer.
We must seek Him
One of my favorite movies of all time is “The Goonies”. How many of you have seen that movie? This movie features a family who are going to lose their house, but one of them comes up with a plan. There is an old story about a Pirate ship full of gold that is hidden somewhere in their town. They find a map in the attic and they begin to think that if they join together with heir friends and find the treasure on this ship, then they will be saved from having to move. Now, their journey is not an easy one. They have to find clues, navigate through a bunch of underground tunnels, solve a few mysteries, escape the booby-traps, and stay ahead of the bad guys. They search after this treasure with all of their heart in order to be saved from the upcoming foreclosure of their home. It’s a great story in the end when they find what they were looking for and get the money to save the house.