Summary: This is part two in a series looking at the some of the characters in the Christmas narrative and what we can learn from them. In this message the Magi, these gentiles from the east speak to us of the expectancy we should have in our relationship with the
The Voices of Christmas
Part II – The Magi – the Voice of Expectancy
Sermon – Sunday, December 3rd 2006
The Magi are an interesting group. There is much we do not know about them, like how many of them came to worship Jesus.
The Magi were a priestly class of astronomers from ancient Babylon. There was a strong Jewish influence in that area because of the 70 year Babylonian captivity that began in 586 B.C.
The trip they took was somewhere in the area of one thousand miles and would have taken quite some time. They did not arrive in Judea until nearly two years after Jesus was born, by which time they were in a house.
It cannot be missed that the Magi are Gentiles who have come seeking the Messiah. They understood that the Son of God had come for all mankind.
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.
What a striking drama – lots of room for the imagination to wander in the narrative.
The expectancy of the Magi is shown in that they were…
1. Seek the Lord –
[The Magi] asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?
We do not know for how long but we do know that they were seeking the Lord.
They did not see the star rise and suddenly think “I’ll bet that will lead us to the King of the Jews!” They were expecting Him to come.
"I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near.
A star will come out of Jacob…
There is little doubt that they were students of the Hebrew Scriptures. When the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity they did not all return – some stayed. They had put down roots.
This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."
Jeremiah was an exilic prophet – prophesying during the time of the exile. There is every possibility that these Gentile Magi heard of this promise.
And the most important one…
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
The Messiah had come for them just as He had for the Jews. The blessing had come!