Summary: The truth of the matter is that none of us are good all the time. In fact, the Bible says that’s why we have Christmas, because all had sinned and come short of the glory of God. In Matthew 1:21 the Bible says you’ll call his name Jesus for he will save
The gifts of Christmas.
Matthew 2:1 -- 12. 11/15/04
I was reading the other day some children’s letters to Santa I thought you might enjoy. One of them said, "dear Santa, you didn’t bring me anything good last year. In fact, you didn’t bring me anything good the year before that either. This is your last chance. Signed Albert." Now this one you really well enjoy. "Dear Santa, there are three little boys who live at our house. There’s Jeffrey, whose two, and David, whose four, and there’s Norman whose seven. Jeffery is good some of the time, David is good most of the time, and Norman is good all of the time. I am Norman."
The truth of the matter is that none of us are good all the time. In fact, the Bible says that’s why we have Christmas, because all had sinned and come short of the glory of God. In Matthew 1:21 the Bible says you’ll call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.
We are going to see in this message that wise men still seek the Lord. The story of the wise men, the Magi, who came from the east at the birth of Jesus. Most of the time when we see the Christmas Nativity scene, the wise men are always at the manger at the stable. But you’re going to notice as we read this story that the biblical account tells us that the wise men came when Jesus was a young child. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, as the prophets said, and the shepherds came to the manger, to the stable where he was born. Now the parents of Jesus was there because it was their hometown, and they were required by the government to go back to their hometown to be censured for the purpose of taxation. Evidently after Jesus was born, they stayed there for a while. It could be in that Mary wasn’t able to travel at this time or they just wanted to stay and visit with relatives. So when the wise men come on the scene, Jesus is not called a babe as he was called when the shepherds come on the scene, they saw a babe lying in the manger. But when the wise men come on the scene, Jesus is a little bit older. The word for young child here means at least a toddler.
So the wise men come. I want you to see three things in this message. I want you to first of all notice in Matthew 2:1, Here were wise men who were MOTIVATED BY A STAR. I want you to see that first of all this star led them to a place. It led them to the city of Bethlehem. Bethlehem means bread of life or house of bread. It’s interesting that Jesus was born in the city called house of bread, and he was born to be the bread of life.
Not only did the star lead them to a place but it also led them to a person. The wise men came from the east. This really wasn’t the Eastern star; it was the Western star. They were in the east and they saw the star toward the West and they were motivated by this star. Interesting enough these wise men were from modern-day Iraq. They came from the land of Babylon which means they probably came from Baghdad. They came some 300 miles riding on camels in order to find the Lord Jesus Christ. The star brought them to the person of Jesus.
The Bible says they brought three gifts. Because they brought three gifts, we call them the three wise men. But in the likelihood this was a large caravan. The Bible says that they were Magi and the Magi were astronomers. The wise men of Babylon were considered to be the scientist of their day, to be the philosophers of their day, to be the men of education, the men of letters.
So this star brought them to a place and brought them to a person and this star gave them a purpose. They said where is he that is born king of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east and we have come to worship him. They overcame distance 300 miles to worship him. They had to pay a tremendous price just to worship the king of kings and the Lord of Lord’s.
Not only do we see that the wise men were motivated by a star but they were also AGGRAVATED BY A SCOUNDREL
Now when king Herod heard this, he was disturbed and all Jerusalem with him. Then he called together all the chief priest and teachers of the law to ask them where the Christ was to be born. King Herod’s character can be summed up in three words; clever, crafty and cruel. Here was a man who suffered from paranoia. He was half Jewish, he was never respected by the Jews because he was an Edomite. He didn’t come to the throne because he was of royal decent; he descended from slaves. He won the throne through his cleverness and through his craftiness. He killed his own mother because he thought she was a threat to the throne. He killed his son-in-law; he killed several of his sons, because he thought they were a threat to his throne. Herod was so hated and so feared because of his cruelty. When Herod came to die, and he knew he was going to die, he had his soldiers go out and kill many people in Jerusalem so that somebody with weep and shed a tear he died.