Summary: Jesus Christ is the Star of Christmas
FOCAL Matthew 2:10-11 (KJV) When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Webster's dictionary defines the word MYTH - m y t h - as "a traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon". In other words, "myth" literally means something that is the opposite of truth. A fable, a legend, an embellishment, but not the literal truth. It's an "interesting story that was created to explain what really happened". To illustrate, you can use the word "myth" in sentences like:
It is a myth that money brings happiness.
Contrary to popular myth, this not a ghost house.
A myth is an interesting tale, something that springs up in place of but cloaks the real truth.
Illustrate Some people build their lives on myth. For instance, back in the 1990's when the riots occurred in Los Angeles an interviewer for a local radio station talked with one of the looters. This man had just stepped out of a record store carrying an arm full of stolen cassette tapes. The interviewer asked "What have you taken?" The man replied, "Gospel tapes. I love Jesus!"
Did the man really love Jesus? He said he did, but he didn't.
Illustrate I also read the other day about a guide dog named Lucky. His trainer said, â€œLucky is basically a darn good guide dog. He just needs a little brush-up on some elementary skills, that's all." To date this guide dog has led all four of his previous owners to their death. The trainer said, â€œI admit it's not an impressive record on paper. He led his first owner in front of a bus, and the second off the end of a pier. He actually pushed his third owner off a railway platform just as the Cologne-to-Frankfurt express was approaching, and he walked his fourth owner into heavy traffic, before abandoning him and running away to safety. But, apart from epileptic fits, he has a lovely temperament. And guide dogs are difficult to train these days."
A guide dog that guides its blind owners into their deaths is no guide dog. A man who steals Gospel tapes is no Christian. These are "myths", not realities.
Jesus said "If you love Me you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15, 23; 15:10). He said "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34). The Apostle John said that this was a foundational teaching of Christ. He said "I am not writing you a new commandment, but one that we have from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commands (2 John 1:5-6). It is not "love" to steal from your brother, nor to speak ill of your brother, nor to hate your brother. This young man doesn't love Jesus - that's a myth. He thinks he loves Jesus, but there is no love in his heart if he robs his brother. Jesus said "If anyone loves Me, he will OBEY My teaching" (John 14:23). The early Church understood this foundational teaching. That's why their assemblies were marked with Biblical obedient love. The Bible says "all the believers were together and held all things common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. Every day they devoted to meeting together, and broke bread from house to house, eating their food with joy and humility, praising God and getting along with one another" (Acts 2:44-47).
1 The Biblical account we're looking at today is true, not myth. The popular telling of the Bible story has a few "myths" in it â€“ but these myths aren't in the Bible. We have all sang
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.
and we've gone to childrens Christmas programs where three "Wise Kings" show up at the manger of Jesus. The truth however is that
The Bible doesn't call the "Magi" who come to see Jesus kings, nor does the Bible say that there were three of them. They brought three gifts to the child Jesus, but the Bible doesn't say how many "Magi" there were.
Dr. Charles Stanley suggested that this unknown number of "Magi" were very probably astronomers who lived somewhere in Mesopotamia near the city of Babylon (In Touch, December 2011 pg 8). Five hundred years before the birth of Christ to Mary, the Prophet Daniel lived in Babylon and spoke about the Coming King. In Daniel 9:24-26 he prophesied that the Messiah - God in the flesh - would be crucified after 69 Sabbatical Years (or 483 years) after the decree was given to rebuild Jerusalem. These Magi knew of Daniel's prophecy of the Coming of Messiah and His subsequent death. They had been watching the skies for signs of the Savior, knowing that the Scripture says that God put the stars in the skies not only to provide light for the earth, but also "to serve as signs" (Genesis 1:14). These "Magi" or Wise Men came seeking the Messiah. The Scripture tells us: