Summary: A sermon on the wise men and the wisdom they showed in bringing their gifts to Jesus and worshipping Him.
Who Invented The Christmas Present
The Wisdom Of The Wise Men Matt. 2:1-12
This week I heard the classic short story by O’Henry, "The Gift of the Magi" read over the radio. The story, which I hadn’t read since High School intrigued me so much that I went to the library and checked out the book. If you’re not familiar with the story, allow me to give a short synopsis of it this morning.
The story is about a young married couple who are very much in love. Christmas is approaching and neither one has enough money to buy the other a Christmas gift. Each one does have one prized possession that they hold dear to themselves. Something they treasure very much -Della, the wife, has beautiful waist length long hair. - Jim, the husband, has a beautiful gold pocket watch that belonged to his grandfather.
In her love for her husband, Jim, - Della goes to a wig maker and sells her hair in order to buy for Jim a beautiful extravagant gold chain for his watch.
Jim in the mean time, sells his watch in order to buy Della a beautiful set of combs and hair brushes for her hair.
Each one out of their love for the other sacrifices the one thing they prize the most for the other. Here is the last paragraph in the story:
" The magi, as you know, were wise men - wonderfully wise men - who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all those who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the wisest. Everywhere they are the wisest. They are the magi."
Who invented the Christmas present? The Magi -The Wise Men.
No doubt from your earliest recollection of the Christmas story, you recall hearing of the wise men who came to visit the newborn Christ Child. Each of us has sung many times the carols that tell their story. We can visualize them. - The wise men riding their camels through the desert sands, dressed in their colorful kingly robes.
But who were they? Of what do we really know of them? We really very little.
a. We do not know who they were.
b. We do not know where they came from.
c. We can only surmise as to how they knew to follow the star.
d. We don’t even know how many there were.
They seem to come out of nowhere, pay their respects to the Christ Child and then disappear. Matthew’s gospel gives us a record of their journey .
Matt 2:1-2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
1. Who were these Wise Men? The word translated "wise men" (magi) refers to a group of scholars who studied the movement of the stars. God gave them a special sign, a miraculous star that announced the birth of the King. The star they saw pointed them toward Jerusalem and then led them to Bethlehem.
2. How many wise men there were, we do not know. From the fact that there was three gifts has led many to believe there were three. The scripture is silent. I tend to believe because of the commotion their arrival in Jerusalem caused that there were many more.
3. These Wise Men were not Jewish. They were gentiles who had come to see the "King of the Jews."
4. The time of their arrival. The traditional nativity scene with the shepherds, wise men, Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus in a manger is not scripturally accurate. Jesus was in a house and not a manger. It was probably several weeks after his birth when they arrived.
But even though we are not given a great deal of information about these men, we can determine why they were called "wise men" simply by understanding what they did.
I. They Followed God’s Divine Leading
How they learned of the Messiah, we do not know. What we do know is that they believed God would lead them to Jesus.
Are you sensitive to God’s leading? The truly wise man is the one who follows the leading of God. These wise men were not given a road map to follow - they were simply given a star. They followed the light that they had and God honored them for it.