Summary: Epiphany (B) - The wise follow the Epiphany Star. Who are the wise? What do they find?
THE WISE FOLLOW THE EPIPHANY STAR (Outline)
January 6, 2008 -
INTRO: Happy New Year! Merry Christmas! Today, January 6, is known as the Gentile Christmas. It is the day celebrated as Epiphany. Epiphany means appearing, revealing, or brought to light. It is at Epiphany that we celebrate the revealing of the infant Christ as the Light of the world. We rejoice and celebrate just as Isaiah tells us in our Old Testament lesson (Isaiah 60:1-6) for the day. "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you"(ISAIAH 60:1). Today’s text tells us of the special visit of the wise men from the East. They followed the special star that God created to guide them. It is to be no different today. In the words of our text we consider our theme:
THE WISE FOLLOW THE EPIPHANY STAR.
We answer the questions:
I. Who are the wise?
II. What do they find?
I. WHO ARE THE WISE?
A. Verse 1 reveals the setting and characters involved in our text: Jesus, King Herod, and Magi.
1. Magi are wise men. These wise men came from the east traveling 500 or more miles.
2. They followed God’s star. They stop in Jerusalem for further directions, verse 2.
B. Herod was disturbed, verse 3. Herod did not want any more competition for his job.
1. Herod already put to death one of his wives and three of sons for plotting against him.
2. The city was disturbed at what Herod might do next (he later slaughters infants in Bethlehem).
C. Herod seeks the advice of his wise men, verse 4. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, verses 5 and 6a.
1. The wise in the world (Magi) are directed by those wise in the church (chief priests, teachers).
2. God’s word was the answer that directed the Magi on the correct path to find the Savior-King.
3. God also provided his star for direction once again, verses 9, 10. Look, the star! Overjoyed.
D. The wise still follow the Epiphany star today. For God’s word is still God’s power, strength, and grace to reveal all that is necessary for eternal salvation. All too many turn aside and away from the very source of eternity. People, by nature, tend to trust themselves. People are proud. Pride goes a long way in our society today. One only needs to watch the sports programs or political candidates to see pride at its worst. After all, who would follow Jesus? He was only a carpenter’s son. He was rejected and finally even put to death by his own people. All true. All for us. "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God"(1 CORINTHIANS 1:18).
E. Who are the wise? Are the wise those who make great financial decisions? They are successful in the ways of this world. Are the wise those who have great power over others? Leaders of governments are often considered the fulfillment of lifelong dreams. Superstars in sports, music, or movies are often held up as examples to worship and follow. The list of worldly-wise people is unending. But God’s list is far different than what man thinks. "Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them"(HOSEA 14:9). Hosea reminds us God’s word is the truth – the only truth – that sets us free!
F. The wise follow the Epiphany star. Scripture defines even further what it means for the believer to be wise. To be wise in the ways of the world is one thing. To be wise in the ways of God is far more important than anything else in this world. Consider Job. Job suffered great loss – all his property and even his children. Still Job always trusted God. In wisdom Job followed the truth of God’s word and will. "And he said to man, ‘The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding’"(JOB 28:28). This is wisdom to know God. This is wisdom to know evil and good. This is wisdom to avoid evil and hold on to the good. As we grow in faith we become stronger and stronger in God’s strength to shun evil.
THE WISE FOLLOW THE EPIPHANY STAR.
By grace, believers are the wise that know the Lord.
II. WHAT DO THEY FIND?
A. Our text describes the Magi, wise men from the east; and Herod, the king filled with fear.
1. Herod felt threatened. The wise men were excited to find and worship the promised King.
2. They were overjoyed at the star, verse 10. The star directed to the exact place of the King.