Summary: This after-Christmas sermon forces us to examine what we have given to Jesus. A humorous story serves as the uillustration of how we often give Jesus less than what He wants from us.
What To Give To Jesus
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6’But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ "
7Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared.
8And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."
9When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.
10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
11And when they had 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 gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
I don’t like to preach on this Bible passage before Christmas.
I know that most manger scenes include the wise men.
We sing the popular Christmas carol "We Three Kings".
In our Christmas program on December 14th...
we did not include the wise men in the scenes.
Why did we leave them out?
The wise men did not go to the stable in Bethlehem.
They were not there when Jesus was born.
There are a couple of places where the Bible proves that.
Matthew 2:1 says "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem
Notice it says, "after Jesus was born..."!
It also says the wise men "came to Jerusalem".
It says the wise men came "from the East".
This indicates they traveled a great distance.
They likely came from Babylon, the area of Iraq and Iran.
So their journey would have taken several months.
Notice also that Verse 11 says "And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother"
Joseph and Mary and Baby Jesus are now in a house.
The word "child" in Verses 9 and 11
comes from the Greek word "paidon".
The Greek word for a newborn infant is "brephos".
So when the wise men arrived, Jesus was likely a toddler.
Another clue to the timing of their arrival is found in Verse 16.
Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
So the wise men were not their when Jesus was born.
They came to see Baby Jesus much later.
These visitors from the East are sometimes called "Magi".
Sometimes they are called "kings".
That’s why we sing the Christmas carol "We Three Kings".
Matthew 2:1 calls them "wise men"
Who were they?
Why are they called "wise men"?
They were descendants of the Magi in the Book of Daniel.
The prophet Daniel dealt with the Magi in Babylon.
That’s probably why the Magi were looking for one
who had been born king of the Jews.
Daniel would have told the Magi of Old Testament prophecies.
This would have included Balaam’s prophecy in Numbers 24:17
"I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near;
A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,
And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.
Historical records indicate they possessed "superb knowledge of math, science, astronomy, history, agriculture, & the occult."
Historians believe that you didn’t become a king in Persia
without a mastery of the scientific disciplines of the Magi.
So maybe that’s why they saw this mysterious star.