Sermons

Summary: A call to self-examination

The Questions of Christmas (4)

The Question of the Magi

Where Is He?

Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-12

They had traveled over miles and miles of desert,

leading a caravan of camels

loaded with servants and supplies

in their wake.

They were wealthy noblemen,

astrologers, sages and

advisors in the court of an Eastern king.

Their journey had begun weeks ago,

when one of them,

charting the stars in the sky

and reading the omens and portents

in their movements,

had identified a heavenly body,

a star of unusual brilliance,

of the kind that they believed signified the birth of a great prophet or king or warrior. . .

So they left their regal homes

and journeyed for weeks,

following the star,

until they finally arrived in Jerusalem,

the heart of Israel,

the capital of the tiny but once-powerful nation,

and sought an audience with the king,

Herod.

The formalities of such an occasion were adhered to,

protocol was strictly observed,

and an audience was arranged.

King Herod and his ministers

came to the receiving chambers

and were properly seated

in the great palace he had built

to the glory of himself and his reign.

The court of the king arranged their formal robes

and engaged in excited conversation

as they waited to hear what business

these envoys from the East had come to discuss.

Perhaps a new trade agreement was in the wind...

Possibly a new trade route was being considered and Jerusalem’s economy would be greatly enhanced if the details could be worked out. . .

Maybe it was a new product,

perhaps a political alliance,

or news of a coup d’etat.

Whatever it was, they would soon find out.

Good morning. I’m Bob Hostetler,

and that scene is the setting

of the passage from the Bible, God’s Word,

that we’re going to consider this morning as we conclude our four-week series of messages from the Bible, entitled “The Questions of Christmas,” a series that has prompted us to encounter some of the most basic,

most searching,

and most revealing

questions any human being has ever asked.

So, if you would, please turn in your Bible to the Gospel of Matthew, the 1st book of the New Testament, where we’re going to consider the question of the Magi, a question that I believe has historical,

philosophical, and

personal implications for us today.

Now, as you’re turning to the book of Matthew, let me just encourage you,

if you worship regularly here

at Cobblestone Community Church,

to get in the habit of bringing your Bible with you so you can read for yourself

with your own eyes

from your own Bible

what’s being taught up here at the front.

BUT, don’t be embarrassed if you’re here without a Bible of your own, because we’re happy to provide Bibles for your use in the center of each table.

AND if you don’t own a Bible of your own, we would love for you to take one of ours home with you as our gift.

So, once again, we’re looking at

Matthew, chapter two,

page ___ if you’re reading from one of the

table Bibles today . . .

And our study of God’s Word this morning will extend from the first verse of that chapter through the 12th. So I invite you to follow along with me in your Bible as I read aloud from mine, beginning at Matthew 2:1:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 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."

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 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.

"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:

"`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.’"

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 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."

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. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 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. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

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