Summary: How can we use the example of the "wise men" who sought to worship the Christ child as a guide to our own searching?
Matthew 2: 1 – 12 / Seeking
Intro: Have you even misplaced something in your house? You know it is there; but, you can’t find it. One day this week, I lost my car keys. Barbara and I searched all over the house for those keys. They were nowhere to be found. I borrowed Barbara’s keys, got in the car and drove to the office. I dumped the contents of a bag I was carrying onto my desk and out fell the keys for which we had been searching.
I. Vs. 1b “wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.” Recently, I say something that suggested that things would have been better if the wise men and been wise women.
A. Wise women would have arrived sooner because they would have stopped for directions. Wise women would have seen that the barn was cleaned. Wise women would have brought more practical gifts like a casserole.
B. The original manuscripts tell us these “men” were “magi” from an ancient Iranian word “magoi” which was used to describe people who acted in very strange ways, were captivated by astrology, spells and incantations and dressed in a very bizarre manner. The Latin word “magi” is the word from which we get “magician.”
C. Came 500 to 1,000 miles maybe on the back of a camel. One hump or two? One hump balancing act / two hump settle between the humps and put it on auto-camel. --- Give these guys credit; they were serious seekers.
II. Vs. 3 “When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him . . .”
A. Immensely successful king. (47 BC E– 4 BCE) Built palaces, fortifications, & the Temple. In 25 BCE melted down his own gold to buy food for the people because of a famine.
B. In all his greatness, Herod has one great flaw, he was insanely suspicious. He was insecure. Another king might mean he would lose it all. Those who have much have much to loose.
C. Earthly treasure never fully satisfies. Most always want more. Herod always wanted more power, more prestige. Even though this new king was a helpless baby, he felt threatened because he was absorbed by the things of the world.
III. Vs. 11 “On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
A. What were the wise men seeking? They didn’t come just to SEE! They came to worship. It is amazing that these pagan magicians recognized enough of God’s work that they knew they had to worship when they got there. They had to humble themselves before the child.
B. The story is told of 2 goats who meet on a narrow ledge just wide enough for one goat to pass. They faced each other wondering, “What shall we do?” They could not back up, they could not go around. It is had been humans there would have been serious head-butting until one fell over the ledge. Having more sense than humans, one goat lay down and let the other goat walk over him. Humans would argue about who was going to lie down. How hard it is for us to humble ourselves for the good of others. (Why Are the Magi Called Wise? By Don Jones, SermonCentral.com)