Summary: Let's find our new beginnings through faith, worship and changed lives.
Jan. 16, 2011 Matthew 2:1-12 C & Z “Let’s Go to the Dump”
Well here we are again starting out a new year. It seems to me that I just got used to writing 2010 and now I have to start writing 2011. This is a time of year when we look back at all the blessings that we had this past year. I realize that there are some of you who have had a rather hard time this past year. Try to remember that we can find something good in most any situation. Sometimes it takes us awhile, but I’m sure that we can find something. But we not only look back but we also look forward. Experts tell us that we shouldn’t make New Year’s resolutions because we might fail. I disagree. I think everyone should make resolutions. Then look at them during the year and see how you are doing. You can always make adjustments. The one thing that will almost always happen is that you will fail to achieve at least one of your resolutions and sometimes you will fail them all. This is ok. We are not perfect beings. We will fail. I have been making resolutions for years and I fail every year on many of them. One that always comes to mind is that I will lose 10 lbs. this year. Look at me. Does it look like I have lost 10 lbs? I fail but I will put that back on my list again for this year. Who knows? This just might be the year that it becomes important enough for me to actually do it. Anyway, this is the time of year of new beginnings. In our Scripture this morning we also have a new beginning. The Magi come to find the new born King of the World. Let’s see if they can help us to find our own new beginnings.
As we begin, I want us to remember that in those early days it was a man’s world. I have heard this story many times, in different variations and it asks the question, “What would have happened if the wise men were actually women?” Well, first of all, if they had been women, they wouldn’t have arrived many months after Jesus was born because they would have stopped to ask for directions. They would have been there on time and they would have cleaned up the place so Jesus wouldn’t have to be born in a barn. And finally, they would have brought more practical gifts which would have included a casserole so the family would have something to eat. Seriously, we really don’t know very much about these wise men.
We don’t even know if there were three or not. We only assume that there were three because they brought three gifts. I have done a little reading on this and we basically only know what was written in our text. We don’t know how far they traveled. We don’t know where they came from. We don’t know exactly when they arrived. We don’t even know if they were kings or sages or scientists, or race car drivers. We don’t know a thing about them.
About all we do know about them is that they brought some pretty fancy gifts. They brought gifts that were fit for a king. First of all they brought gold. I really don’t need to say much about this because we all know about gold. It is fitting for a king. They also brought him frankincense which was an expensive incense used in worship services. So they brought Him a gift worthy of a priest, a high priest. They also brought Him myrrh which was a nice, strong, expensive fragrance used in the burial process. It would be like an embalming fluid of sorts. What a strange gift to bring for a little baby!
Whoever these people were and wherever they came from, they came in faith. They were some of the most faithful people we read about in the Bible. No one knows anything about them although there is a lot of speculation. They came and brought expensive gifts. Then they left without a trace. They vanished and no one hears from them again. God had to be in charge of these guys, because they had the faith that Abraham had. Do you remember that story? God told Abraham to leave his home and travel far away to a land that he knew nothing about. This is exactly what he did and God blessed him richly for obeying Him.
Even a better example of faith is the story of Noah. I mean, here was a guy who was just a regular type of guy and God comes to him and tells him to build this boat that is the size of a football field. You can talk of people of faith all you want but Noah ranks right up there with the most faithful.