Summary: The wisdom needed to begin a search for God, to pursue that search, and finally to respond in worship once the successful fulfillment of that search is realized.
Sunday Morning Matthew 2:1-12
December 7, 2003
"What Made These Wise Men So Wise?"
Introduction: The day after Thanksgiving Day, is known as the busiest shopping day of the year. From all the reports I’ve seen, the malls were full of shoppers. You know what that means don’t you? American men are once more under incredible stress.
1. In a recent article, British psychologist David Lewis reports that shopping is hazardous to men’s health. He tested volunteers (22-79 years old) by sending them out Christmas shopping. He recorded blood pressure rates that “you’d expect to see in a fighter pilot going into combat.” According to this same test, only one in four women showed any significant signs of stress from shopping – just one of many gender differences in America today.
2. The question has been posed: “What would have happened if there had been Three Wise Women instead of Three Wise Men?” The answer: They would have asked directions immediately upon commencing their trip, which would have allowed them to arrive on time; they would have helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole and brought cute little outfits that baby Jesus could have worn on his trip home.
As it happened, they were wise men (not wise women) – and while we think of these men as part of the Christmas story, they were not present on that first Christmas. They didn’t arrive on the scene till well over a year later. Starting this morning and going through the month of December I would like for us to consider a group of people, who while we think of them as being part of the Christmas story, never made it as witnesses to the event. This morning we’ll be looking at a group of men we know as the wise men.
1. How many were there? Most assume three (gifts) – but there may have been more. We don’t know.
2. Who were they? They were called “Magi” (our word magician). As such they were devoted to the study of the stars, but more than that, we don’t know.
3. Where were they from? Some have suggested Arabia – Babylon – Persia – We don’t know.
There is so much about these men that remain a mystery even to this day. All that we really know about these men is that they were called wise men. The question I would like to pose this morning is what makes these wise men so wise? And even more to the point, how can we be just as wise today?
I. They Were Wise In Their Decision To Search For Jesus.
A. They Recognized God at Work in the World Surrounding Them.
The wise men, these men of science and the stars were brought to a decision to seek out and find “the King of the Jews”. They didn’t have all the facts when they started, but they had enough to know they needed to search.
Not every man of science has been led to acknowledge God; many in pride have turned away from the Lord, but these men were brought to a conviction not only of God’s existence but of God’s active dealing in the affairs of men.
Romans 1 and Psalm 19 speak of God’s power and creative handiwork demonstrated in the heavens. As they applied themselves to observing the heavens their attention was drawn to one particular star. Some of our modern men of science have offered conjecture concerning this “star”. They have suggested that it was a comet, or a star that went nova, or perhaps a special alignment of the planets. For myself, I don’t have to understand how God worked a particular miracle before accepting it. In the beginning our God spoke the entire universe into existence so I really don’t think it was too terribly difficult for the Lord to arrange the unique qualities displayed by this star to reveal the fact that He was in process of something incredibly fantastic in the world of men.
God gives men enough light that they might search for more. Sometimes we get the idea that the only place God can speak to us is in church. That is not true. God works through the many circumstances of our life to direct our attention to him; and quite often those circumstances involve our place of employment.
• Moses – tending sheep.
• Gideon – harvesting wheat
• Peter – cleaning nets after a night of fishing
• Matthew – at a table collecting taxes
• Wise Men – in their study of the stars
Has God spoken to you down where you work? Things have happened and now you are starting to question your life – What are you about? What is the purpose of it all? God speaks to men at their work. If God has spoken to you, please know that you don’t need to know all the answers – but you do need to begin your search.