Summary: In this sermon, we separate fact from fiction with regard to the story of the wise men who came to see Jesus after his birth. Then we explore what lessons can be learned from the story
A. Let’s have all the children who want to, to come forward for a few minutes.
1. In our sermon this morning, we are going to talk about the story of the wise men who came to see Jesus after he was born.
2. Let me ask you a few questions to see how well you know the story.
a. How many wise men came to visit Jesus? (We don’t know – tradition 3)
b. What gifts did they bring? (gold, frankincense [incense or candle], and myrrh [perfume])
1) I like the story of the child who answered that question: “He said the wise men brought goats, Frankenstein and smurfs.”
c. In which city was Jesus born? (Bethlehem)
d. Where were the wise men from? (The East)
e. How did they travel to get to Jesus? Train? Plane? Car? (probably camel)
f. What did they follow in order to find Jesus? (A Star)
3. When they finally found Jesus, this is what the Bible says they did, “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.” (2:11)
4. There is an important lesson I want us to learn from the story – the lesson is that wise boys and girls today are still seeking for Jesus.
5. Question: How can we find Jesus?
a. Do we look for a star to lead us to him?
b. Do we have to go to Bethlehem to find him?
c. Do we need a map to find Jesus?
6. Answer: We can find our way to Jesus by reading God's Holy Word!
a. The Bible is our map and our star that leads us to Jesus.
7. Question: What important gift should each of us give to Jesus?
a. Answer: The gift of our hearts and lives.
b. I would encourage you to believe in Jesus, and learn to love Him with all your heart.
c. Someday when you are old enough and understand enough, you will want to be baptized and make the formal dedication of your life to Christ.
d. In the meantime, keep seeking and learning and growing.
8. As you return to your seats, be sure to get a gift we have for you, and be sure to pay attention to the rest of our lesson on the wise men.
B. Let’s continue our sermon.
1. I like the old joke that asks the question: What would have happened if it had been three wise women rather than three wise men?
2. Answer: They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, and helped deliver the baby.
C. Look with me at a few humorous cartoons about the 3 wise men:
1. Cartoon #1: After the wise men left, there came three politically correct guys, saying: “Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Warmest Holiday Wishes.”
2. Cartoon #2: “Well from a distance it certainly looked like a star.”
3. Cartoon #3: “They say they are three kings, but I don’t think they are from the Orient!”
D. There is a lot of mystery, speculation and tradition that surrounds the story of the wise men.
1. Tradition tells us there were three in number and that they traveled by camels across the desert.
2. About the 6th century, someone decided their names were Melchior, Baltazar, and Gaspar.
3. Tradition tells us that they were baptized by Thomas and when they died their bodies were preserved in Constantinople. Centuries later, their bones were moved to Cologne, and if you want to pay the price of admission, you can still see their bones today.
I. The Story
A. Let’s spend some time this morning looking at the Biblical story of the wise men to see what lessons we can learn from them.
1. The Bible says: 1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
2. The first thing we notice is that the Bible identifies these men as “Magi.”
a. We get our English word “magician” from this Greek word.
b. But these men were not magicians as we would use the word – they were not experts at slight of hand, nor did they pull rabbits out of hats.
c. The word “Magi” in those days referred to those who were experts in the workings of the heavens - the study of the stars.
d. Today, we might call them “astronomers.”
e. These men were probably well educated, and very intelligent, and deserving of the title “wise men.”