Summary: Sermon about the Magi
WISE GUYS AND STARRY SKIES
INTRODUCTION... "Wise Guys and Starry Skies" Memory
I remember attending a church when I was growing up that put a great effort into drama and musicals. I recall being in several of these musicals when I was a child. I of course had speaking parts because I cannot sing. One of the musicals that I remember for Christmas was one called ‘Wise Guys and Starry Skies.’ This program was released in 1988 and is out of print (www.kathiehillmusic.com). It was a wonderful program that focuses on the caravan of the three wise men and their journey to Bethlehem. They have camels and cooks and all sorts of characters in the play. I played, if I remember right, a character named ‘Cookie’ that was one of the cooks. That Christmas play focused on one particular part of the Christmas story. It showed why the wise men went from their homeland to seek out Jesus. It showed their trip and the difficulties and their eventual gathering around Jesus and the presentation of their gifts.
ILLUSTRATION... What Children Hear (http://www.sermons.org/xmasillus2.html)
A day care worker was reading the story of Jesus’ birth to her day-care children one morning. As usual, she stopped to see if they understood. She wanted to know what they understood about the Christmas Story.
"What do we call the three wise men?" I asked. "The three maggots," replied a bright 5-year-old.
"What gift did the MAGI bring baby Jesus?" I corrected. "Gold, Frankensteins and smurfs!" the same 5-year-old replied.
That Christmas play that I was in so many years ago focused on one part of the Christmas story. It is a part of the story that is fun to teach and is often a favorite of children. It centers around magi from the east and the star they followed to find Jesus. Our recent trip to the ‘Living Nativity’ and I think the scene with the wise men was the most elaborate part of the presentation. It speaks of a star they followed and gifts they brought to the new King. I want us to look at that part of the story today.
READ MATTHEW 2:1-12
I. THE DETAILS OF THE TRAVELERS (VERSE 1-2)
The Bible tells us that these travelers came from the East (verse 1). Does that mean they were from upstate New York or Boston? Of course not. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and these men came from the east of Israel. The word used to describe them is ‘magi’ and is a word that describes magicians and astronomers from the area of Persia. It could be that they were even from as far east as India. In Acts 13:6 this same word describes someone who dabbles in the magic arts and is a sorcerer. They were Gentiles who studied the stars. The perhaps had heard the prophecies of Daniel or another prophet and recognized the coming Messiah’s signs when He arrived. These people would have traveled far and it would have been a long journey.
What is their motivation? Why have these people traveled to Judea? What is their purpose? Verse 2 tells us two important things about these magi from the east. The first thing that we notice is their initial question. They ask, ‘Where is the One...’ Their question shows what they are doing on this long journey. They are seeking the Christ. They are seeking the One that God promised would be the deliverer. They are on a quest to find this One that has captured their attention in the sky. They will not stop until they find the One they are looking for. Second, the verse tells us clearly what their intent was... ‘to worship Him.’ They want to express honor and glory and praise from their hearts to this King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Shepherds (Luke 2) arrived the night He was born and worshiped Him. These magi from the east wish to do the same.
I cannot help but think that these gentile travelers teach us a few important lessons. They first teach us about seeking God. If you seek Him, you will find Him.
* Deuteronomy 4:29 explains to us, ‘But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.’
* Psalm 9:10 says, ‘Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.’
* Matthew 6:33 also reminds us, ‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’
* Matthew 7:7 promises, ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.’