Summary: Life is so demanding and time so short. All of us are caught in the trap of the clock’s second-hand. This sermon encourages one to recognize the importance of time in faith.
2003 Christmas Series Number 3
THE WISE MEN, "I’LL GIVE MY TIME
Hope Christian Church
December 14, 2003
David L. Haun
I remember, when as a child, Christmas seemed to take forever to arrive. Packages under the tree kept calling "shake me, shake me!" My father used to say "as you grow older, time will fly." That made no sense to me as a teen ager. Time passed slowly for me. I thought I’d never reach 16. But you know, as years have passed, I most clearly understand what my dad was saying. Time does pass faster as one gets older. In fact, as Einstein wrote in 1916, time is relative. (1)
The account of the Wisemen is found only in the book of Matthew. Let’s consider together their experience.
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. (NIV)
. LET’S CONSIDER THOSE WISE MEN WHO GAVE THEIR TIME TO COME SEE JESUS.
A. Who they were.
They were philosophers, Astrologers, astronomers from the East. They lived chiefly in Persia and Arabia, and were highly honored by society and respected by rulers.(2)
How many? We don’t know. One ancient scholar says there were 14(3)
They left their home, and, according to Max Lucado, traveled as much as two years and thousands of miles following the star they had spent additional years seeking through study.(4)
B. What they tell us in their gifts.
They brought GOLD - Sign of Royalty
They offered FRANKENSENCE - A specific tree sap, dried, ground, and burned as part of their worship service.
They presented MYRRH - A different tree sap, used for relieving pain and inbalming at the time of death.
What might these three gifts symbolize for us?
The Wise Men brought gold, and confessed their acceptance of his kingship.
They brought frankincense and admitted their consent of Jesus as worthy of their worship.
They brought spices of suffering and death, predicting that this royal king, worthy of worship, would be rejected.
II. ARE THERE TRUTHS WE CAN LEARN FROM THESE MEN?
A. Look at time from GOD’S POINT OF VIEW..
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
2 Peter 3:8 (NIV)
We can become so impatient with God’s timing. Dr. Betsy, Steier, Associate Regional Minister of the Christian Church in Florida, remembers early in her ministry when she helped to start a new church. They were in such a hurry to succeed. "But," she said, "it took time. We met in a movie theater, a school cafeteria, and a bank community room before being in our church home. The average time for building a new church is five years, and many go through various locations." (5)
B. Choose that one thing that is eternally worth while and POUR out your life for it.
The wise men were the only ones coming that day to honor Jesus. There were no neighbors or friends of Joseph present. We may be the only ones in our neighborhood, or on our job, or in our family, who bother to worship this Christ of heaven. But God counts on us to do it, even if we are the only ones.