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Summary: The Christmas season is a time when people search for happiness in a variety of outlets and activities. The Wise men remind us to search for the ultimate in life fulfillment in Christ Jesus.

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MATTHEW 2:1-2

THE SEARCH FOR JESUS

K. EDWARD SKIDMORE STATES THAT HISTORICALLY, NOT EVERYONE WAS JOYFUL WHEN JESUS WAS BORN. IN FACT THERE WERE MANY PEOPLE WHO REJECTED HIM FOR VARIOUS REASONS. REASONS MUCH LIKE THOSE PEOPLE GIVE TODAY FOR REJECTING JESUS.

- MESS UP THEIR PLANS . . .

-LIMIT THEIR FREEDOM . . .

- PRIDE . . .

CONSEQUENTLY, THOSE WHO REJECT JESUS SPEND VALUABLE AND IMMEASURABLE TIME TRYING TO FIND FULFILLMENT IN BOTTLES, PILLS, AND PEOPLE, ONLY TO COME UP EMPTY. WHEREAS, THE PERSON WHO DISCOVERS CHRIST, DISCOVERS THAT LIFE AND THE FULFILLMENT OF LIFE DOES NOT EXIST WITHOUT CHRIST.

A PORTRAIT OF THESE TWO PERSONALITIES, THESE TWO IDEOLOGIES (EYE-DE-O-LO-GIES), THESE TWO SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT, THESE TWO PARADIGMS ARE PAINTED IN OUR TEXT TODAY.

IN KING HEROD WE FIND A PORTRAIT OF A MAN WHO REJECTED GOD AND THOUGHT THAT SATISFACTION AND LIFE FULFILLMENT WAS SYNOYMOUS WITH POWER. SO BENT ON POWER, SO BENT ON HAVING POWER, SO POWER HUNGRY HE MURDERED THREE OF HIS OWN SONS WHOM HE THOUGHT WOULD ONE DAY RIVAL HIM FOR HIS KINGSHIP. SO PARANOID WITH POWER HE DECREED A GENOCIDAL EDICT MURDERING ALL MALE INFANTS . . . JESUS.

IN CONTRAST TO KING HEROD WE FIND WISE MEN, NO NOT THREE WISE MEN, BUT RATHER WISE MEN (CHECK IT OUT), WHO WOULD BRING THREE GIFTS CONSISTING OF GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, AND MYRRH. THESE WISE MEN, WHO WERE REALLY FOOLISH MEN WITHOUT JESUS, SET OUT ON A QUEST TO FIND JESUS.

MATTHEW WAS GIVEN THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS OF THEIR STORY.

IN MATTHEW 2:1 – THESE WISE MEN SET OUT TO FIND JESUS BECAUSE THEY HAD HEARD ABOUT JESUS.

WHO WERE . . .

WHERE WERE THEY FROM?

WHAT HAD THEY HEARD ABOUT JESUS?

WHAT DID THEY WANT FROM OR WITH JESUS?

WHY WOULD THEY NOT REST UNTIL THEY FOUND JESUS?

WELL, THESE WISE MEN WERE FROM THE REGION EAST OF ISRAEL (IRAQ/IRAN)...

ASTROLOGY

NUMEROLOGY

SCIENTOLOGY

CHRIST-OLOGY

YET, THEY HEARD OF ISAIAH’S PROPHECY (ISA. 9:6) “FOR UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN, THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE UPON HIS SHOULDERS, AND HE WILL BE CALLED: WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE, HIS GOVERNMENT, AND ITS PEACE WILL NEVER END.”

THEY WERE LOOKING FOR JESUS BECAUSE THEY HEARD, FINDING HIM WOULD BE THE BEST THING THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN TO THEM.

SONG – LONG AGO . . .

BECAUSE THESE WISE MEN HEARD ABOUT JESUS, THEY SET OUT TO FIND JESUS.

V. 2 APPROACHED KING HEROD (READ V.2 )

THEY SOUGHT JESUS BECAUSE THEY HAD HEARD ABOUT HIM.

THEY SOUGHT JESUS BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO WORSHIP HIM.

WORSHIP - AN ACT OF EXPRESSING REVERENCE.

TRUE ESSENCE OF WORSHIP ON DISPLAY . . .

IN FACT V. 11 – WISE MEN ENTERED THE HOUSE AND SAW JESUS THE CHILD (WHO WAS NOW SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THE AGE OF 1-2) WITH HIS MOTHER MARY, THEY WERE SP “OVERJOYED” THAT THEY BOWED DOWN” . . . FELL OVER AND BEGAN TO WORSHIP.

DON’T MISS THIS, NOT ONLY DID THEY WORSHIP WITH THEIR LIPS, THEY WORSHIPPED IN THEIR GIVING. THEY UNDERSTOOD (MATTHEW 6:21) “WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE ALSO.” SO CONSEQUENTLY, IN GIVING THEIR GIFTS TO JESUS, THEY WERE GIVING THEIR HEART TO JESUS.

V.11 THEY OPENED THEIR TREASURE CHESTS (HEART) AND GAVE HIM GIFTS. HOW PROFOUND THE GIFTS THEY GAVE:

JOHN STOTT - THE GIFTS THESE MEN GAVE TEACH US WHO JESUS WAS, WHAT HE CAME TO DO, AND WHAT IT WOULD COST HIM.”

THE GOLD THEY GAVE WAS A GIFT FIT FOR A KING . . .

THE FRANKINCENSE THEY GAVE WAS A REMINDER OF THE SWEET FRAGRANCE THAT FILLED THE TEMPLE WHEN USED BY THE PRIEST. THE PRIESTS BURNED THE INCENSE SO WORSHIP WOULD BE AN EXPERIENCE THAT AFFECTED ALL THE SENSES. THE CLOUD CREATED BY THE INCENSE REPRESENTED THE PRESENCE OF GOD THAT WAS REVEALED AS THE CLOUD THAT LED THE ISRAELITES TO THE PROMISED LAND. THE INCENSE PRODUCED AN UNIQUE ODOR PEOPLE ONLY ASSOCIATED WITH WORSHIP.

IN OTHER WORDS – CHURCH . . . I DON’T JUST WANT TO HEAR ABOUT JESUS, I DON’T JUST WANT TO SEE JESUS AT WORK, BUT I WANT TO EVEN SMELL THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD IN HIS HOLY PLACE. . .

THE MYRRH THEY GAVE WAS USED TO EMBALM THE DEAD . . .

V. 12 AFTER THEY WORSHIPPED JESUS THROUGH PRAISE AND GIFTS (READ V. 12) . . .

HERE’S THE LAST THING THIS TEXT TEACHES US. ONCE YOU’VE MET JESUS AND EXPEREINCED JESUS, JESUS WILL REROUTE YOUR LIFE. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO DINE AT THE SAVIOR’S FEET, BE TOUCHED, AND CHANGED, AND YET GO HOME THE SAME WAY YOU CAME.

TEXT – JESUS REROUTED THEIR ROUTE, LIFE, PLANS.

HISTORY TELLS THE STORY OF POET, T.S ELIOT, ONE OF THE GREATEST MINDS OF THE 20TH CENTURY WHO IN 1948 WON THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE. EARLY ON IN HIS LIFE HE WAS A CYNICAL HUMANIST WHO RIDICULED CHRISTIANITY. LATER ON IN HIS LIFE, IN A QUEST TO FIND TRUTH HE IMMERSED HIMSELF INTO VARIOUS RELIGIONS INCLUDING, BUDDHISM, ISLAM, AND JUDAISM SEARCHING FOR SPIRITUAL TRUTH. BUT AT THE AGE OF 39, ELIOT DISCOVERED CHRIST, AFTER HE CAME TO CHRIST, HIS OUTLOOK CHANGED. LIKE THE WISE MEN, HE WENT HOME A DIFFERENT WAY. ELIOT WOULD WRITE A SELF-REFLECTION ENTITLED THE JOURNEY OF THE MAGI (MAY-JI) . . .

HEADED DOWN – DEAD END STREET – REROUTED MY LIFE . . .

HEADED WRONG WAY – LOOKED UP – U-TURNS OK

. . . I WAS SINKING DEEP IN SIN . . .

. . . SINCE I MET JESUS . . .

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