Summary: The most important thing in the lives of the Wisemen was finding Jesus. They went "looking" for Him until they found Him. Is Jesus the most important thing in your life, and how do you know if you've been looking for Him?
OPEN: Yogi Berra was a very famous baseball player back in the 40s, 50s & 60s. Outside of being an big league catcher he was known for some interesting sayings. One of those famous sayings was this: “If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”
Back when I was a teenager, I got the chance to be one of the wisemen in our church play. My home church was huge – 600 people could sit inside the building that had four sections of pews that ran back about 12 rows in the main section, with a curtained off area with another 2 sections of pews… and there were two big balconies that rang along the sides of the auditorium.
Because the congregation was so big, our Christmas pageant was big as well. We had about 40 or 50 kids all dressed up as angels, shepherds, wisemen and (of course) Mary and Joseph. When our turn (as wisemen) came, we entered through the curtains in the back. As the audience sang “We Three Kings Of Orient Are” we made our way along the aisle for 40 or 50 feet - all decked out in regal robes and carrying our expensive presents – and ultimately made it to the stage where Mary and Joseph sat with the baby Jesus in a manger. We’d practiced this 3 or 4 times, and we knew where we were going. And we knew exactly when we got to our destination.
But the wisemen in our story today… didn’t! They didn’t really know where they were going. They were following a star that had appeared - over there someplace. They knew the general direction they had to go, but when the star seemingly disappeared, they had to stop and ask directions.
Matthew 2:1-2 “wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘WHERE IS HE who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’”
They really didn’t know where they were going.
But here’s the thing - they did know what their destination was. They had come to find the child… the King of the Jews. They knew what they were looking for.
Now, the question for us this morning is this (PAUSE): Do you know what you’re looking for?
Now, before we answer that question we need to consider a few things. First, the wisemen had put a lot of effort into this trip. Some scholars believe Wisemen traveled about 1000 miles by time they got to Jerusalem, and they speculate it might have taken them 2 to 3 months just to prepare for the journey. And it wasn't a “safe” journey. There were thieves and robbers all along the route and so these Wisemen probably traveled in a huge caravan. There may have been as many as 300 in their group.
THEN … THEY ARRIVED AT JERUSALEM.
Now, Jerusalem had kind of been kept out of the loop on this birth of Christ. It’s been nearly TWO years since Jesus was born, and it looks like nobody in the city of Jerusalem knows about Him. “When Herod the king heard this (the question about the child), he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.” Matthew 2:3-4
Everybody was “troubled”… but nobody seems to know anything about this child, which seems a bit odd. Luke 2 tells us that “When (the shepherds) had seen (Jesus… 2 yrs before) they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” Luke 2:17-18
The shepherds had gone EVERYWHERE spreading the news of Jesus’ birth. And they only lived about 5 miles outside of Jerusalem. Wouldn't you think they’d spread the good news there? Of course they would! So why didn’t anybody in Jerusalem seem to know about the child? Because they hadn’t bothered LOOKING for Him.
Now, it’s not like they weren’t religious people. Jerusalem was where the Temple was at. This is where the Priests, Scribes, and a lot of the Pharisees lived there. These folks were in church all the time!!! So why didn’t know where Jesus was? Again… because they hadn’t bothered to go looking for Him.
But why not? Why hadn’t they gone looking for Jesus? Well, because – like many folks today, even church folk - there were other things that took up their time and competed for their attention. Jesus got left out because there were other things they seemed more important.
ILLUS: I read about a teacher who stood before his class and picked up a large clear plastic jar and proceeded to fill it with ROCKS; then he asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was. So the teacher then picked up a box of PEBBLES and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. And the pebbles, rolled into the open areas, then asked the students again if the jar was full. The students laughed, and agreed that it was. Then the teacher picked up a box of SAND and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.