Summary: Jesus was born in Bethlehem and yet very few knew about His birth. How is it that the King of all eternity comes in the form of human flesh and it is not on the front page of the paper?
“The Search for the Christ Child”
December 21, 2008
Warden Assembly of God
Pastor John L. Harper
Introduction: Jesus was born in Bethlehem and yet very few knew about His birth. How is it that the King of all eternity comes in the form of human flesh and it is not on the front page of the paper? There are a few reasons. They are as follows: Jesus did not come as they expected to come. He did not come as the son of a (earthly) reigning king. His coming would upset their delicate balance of power, or finally people did not believe the report of the shepherds.
“On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first flight of an airplane at Kitty Hawk NC. On their 5th attempt, the plane under the control of Orville, embarked on a 12 second flight. Wilbur rushed to the local telegraph office and sent the following message – WE HAVE FLOWN FOR 12 SECONDS - WE WILL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS! Upon receiving the telegram their sister, Katherine went to the newspaper office, told the editor of her brother’s new flying machine, and informed him, they would be home for Christmas, if he would like to set up an interview. He told her that was nice, and he would be sure to put something in the paper regarding the boys. On December 19th, the local paper placed the following headline on the 6th page of the paper: “WRIGHT BROTHERS HOME FOR CHRISTMAS” The most important story of the year – man’s first flight – and the editor missed it! I wonder if the same could be said about us when it comes to Christmas. Look all around us… • The trees are decorated • The music is festive • The Season is Right – It is Christmas, and there are only 4 shopping days left! In all of our rushing around, in all of our gift buying, in all the things we have to do during this season – HAVE WE MISSED THE IDEA – Jesus has come to earth!” Alan Tison
Today I want to look at those who are pursuing Christ, those who have prophesied about Christ, and finally those who will present themselves in worship to Christ.
I. THE PURSUIT OF THE CHILD (vs. 1-3)
A. The Quest of the Magi
1. The wise men came from the east
a. They were from Iran, Iraq and Turkey
b. The word “magi” means they belonged to an order of priests or philosophers. (People’s New Testament)
c. They studied science, medicine, and astrology
2. They were looking for Jesus
a. The assumption is that they read Baalam’s prophecy
“Undoubtedly they had before heard Balaam’s prophecy. And probably when they saw this unusual star, it was revealed to them that this prophecy was fulfilled. In the east - That is, while we were in the east.” (John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes)
b. They had seen His star in their home land
c. They “followed” this star to Jerusalem
3. The Jesus that was born in Bethlehem
a. They knew more about the birth of Christ than those who were 6 miles away!
b. This fulfills prophecy (Micah 5:2)
“Bethlehem signifies "the house of bread", and in it was born, as an ancient writer (r) observes, the bread which comes down from heaven: and it may also signify "the house of flesh", and to it the allusion may be in 1Ti_3:16 "God manifest in the flesh". The time of Christ’s birth is here expressed.” (John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)
B. The question of the Magi
1. Do you know about the birth of Jesus?
a. We saw “His star
b. We saw it in the east
c. We have come to worship Him
2. Do you know where He is?
a. The prophets say He was born in Bethlehem
b. Have you heard anything since His birth
3. Do you know that He is born as King of the Jews?
C. The quaking of Herod
1. When he heard from the wise men, he was troubled.
a. Would he have to kill (again) to protect his throne?
b. Who was the new threat to his throne?
2. All of Jerusalem was troubled when they heard from the wise men.
a. What would Herod do to counter this threat to his throne?
b. How would this affect our family?
c. What kind of change would this Christ implement?
Application: When it comes to it we are either like Herod who looked at the coming of the Christ child as a threat, or we are like the Wise men who looked at the coming of Christ as an opportunity to worship Him. Which one are you?
II. THE PROPHECY OF THE CHILD (vs. 4-8)