Summary: Christmas Sermon
Text- Matthew 2:1-12
Title- What Made The Wise Men Wise?
Matthew 2:1-12 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 in the east and have come to worship him." 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 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. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6 "’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.’" 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 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." 9 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. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 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. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
I. They had a Knowledge of God’s Word
II. They had Faith In God’s Promises
III. They had a Spirit of Worship
IV. They were open to God’s leading
There are a number of aspects to the Christmas story that I find fascinating. There are so many miraculous, amazing, uplifting parts. There is the study of Mary and Joseph and who they were as people. There is the fact that Jesus is the fulfillment of thousands of prophecies. There is the wonder and amazement of the announcement to the shepherds. There is the picture of Jesus coming from such humble means.
The whole story is just amazing. I would encourage you to read all the way through Luke 1-2 as a family at some point in the next few days. Take the time to share it with your kinds and allow it to sink in a little.
Today I want to spend our time focusing on the story of the wise men. These guys have always interested me. They are a little bit mysterious, but they teach us so much about the importance of the birth of Christ. They also teach us something about what it means to be wise.
The question I want us to investigate today is, “What made the wise men wise?”
Wisdom and intelligence can sometimes be hard to quantify. It’s tough to define intelligence. It’s usually one of those things that is obviously there, or obviously not there. And it can sometimes be a lot easier to identify when it is not there.
If I were to ask, “who is the smartest person in the world?”, that would be tough to answer. There are a lot of different opinions about who the smartest person might be. Some people claim that the famous mathematician and physicist Stephen Hawking is the smartest man alive.
There is a Korean guy who supposedly scored 210 on an IQ test. Considering the average IQ is 100 and genius is 140, this guy is pretty smart. He was a child prodigy and got a PHD in physics when he was 14. I couldn’t even spell physics at age 14.
Some people have even suggested that Bill Gates is one of the world’s smartest men because of how he built the Microsoft Corporation.
Is wisdom something that has to do with knowledge, experience, or achievement? Is it something you are born with, or is it developed, or both? Wisdom might be defined as the ability to apply knowledge in order to make good judgments. Wisdom is taking what you know, and putting it into action. It is a combination of knowledge and positive action.
As we will see in the story of the wise men, they had a knowledge that they put into action. Follow along as I read the story in Matthew 2:1-12…
There are a lot of unanswered questions about the wise men. Where did they come from? We don’t really know, it just says the east, but there are a lot of places east of Jerusalem. How long did their trip take? The text doesn’t say. But it probably took a long time. How many were there? Tradition says three, but the text really doesn’t give a number. We just assume there were three because three gifts are mentioned.