Summary: The magi looked for Jesus where He was to be found. Unfortunately, we don’t always look where He is. He has promised that if we look for Him we’ll find Him. Let’s look where He’s promised to be.

-Have you ever gone on a journey to see something cool?

-Have you ever looked forward with anticipation to seeing something new or interesting?

-Do you remember what it was like to get ready to go see Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas, when you were little?

-When I had the opportunity to travel overseas when I served in the Army, I was really excited

-Getting the opportunity when I was at West Point to go to England and see some of the sights in London was really cool

-I remember being really excited to see the crown jewels and the Beef Eaters

-Also, when we went to Germany for some training, I found out that we were going to get some opportunities to take some day trips.

-I was excited to get to see some sights and interact with some of the locals, trying out some of my German, which was much better back then

-Obviously, we couldn’t go unless all of our work was accomplished so I worked really hard and got my guys to work hard so that we could enjoy some of the sights. {PAUSE}

-That’s a little of what is going on in our Gospel lesson today

-We see the anticipation of the magi to see Jesus

-We see some of their determination of the magi to get to where the Christ would be found {PAUSE}

-We don’t know a lot about the magi from the Biblical text.

-However, we can know some from history and from the tradition of the church

-Magi is a Latinatization of the plural of the Greek word magos

-It comes from an old Persian word magus

-That is why Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:9-13 is often referred to as Simon Magus

-It refers to an occupational title of the priestly caste within Zoroastrianism

-Part of their religion, they paid particular attention to the stars and became renowned for their astronomical and astrological prowess

-It is interesting that form of the word magi were associated with the occult.

-It is from this term that we get our English word, magic

-However, that should not taint our opinion of them

-We believe that they were from Babylon, modern day Iraq

-They, more than likely, were not Jews from that region.

-However, they did have a messianic hope

-Where did that come from

-More than likely, the Jews during their captivity in Babylon did share their hope in a coming Messiah

-We do know that Daniel rose to great prominence in the Babylonian government

-In Daniel 2, Daniel by the power of God, interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and then it says, beginning in verse 46, “Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery." Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.”

-The idea that the magi were kings comes from Isaiah 60 and Psalm 72, where it declares that kings will come to worship God

-That they were three in number comes from the gifts that were given, gold, frankincense and myrrh

-The gifts were of great value of course but their significance was even greater

-I’m sure that they came in handy after Herod threatened the life of Jesus and Mary and Joseph had to escape to Egypt

-I’m sure a carpenter could make a living there but Joseph might have struggled initially, being an outsider, so the gold probably came in handy

-However, its symbolic significance is important as well

-The gold obviously demonstrates that Jesus is a king

-The frankincense (an incense) points to Jesus as a priest

-Myrrh was used for embalming, pointing to Jesus’ death {PAUSE}

-So the Magi used the stars to find Jesus

-Are we looking in the right places to find Jesus?

-Are we as eager to find Him as we should be?

-Unfortunately, we often look in the wrong places and don’t turn to Him when we need Him most {PAUSE}

-Where can we find Jesus?

-Where should we look?

-He is where He has promised to be.

-Like we mentioned last week, the Word can be found in His word

-That is where God has chosen to reveal Himself to us {PAUSE}

-I was talking to a Lutheran pastor friend of mine about a Christian song I heard where the praise leader told the people to reach out their hands to Jesus

-He smiled as He placed his hands out in front of himself as if to receive the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper

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