Summary: Lessons we can learn from the wise men.
Wise Guys – Christmas Message
Intro: To: All Southern USA Residents From: Santa
I regret to inform you that effective immediately, due a growing population, I will no longer be able to serve the southern USA on Christmas Eve. However, I have provided a replacement for you, my 3rd cousin, Bubba Claus. His side of the family is from the South Pole. There are a few differences b/w us that you need to know:
1 Instead of milk and cookies, Bubba Claus prefers RC Cola, pork rinds and moon pies.
2 Bubba Claus’ sleigh is pulled by flying coon dog instead of reindeer – Santa made the mistake of loaning Bubba his reindeer last year and now his head overlooks Bubba’s fireplace.
3 Instead of hearing, “On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner, and Blitzen…” You now hear, “On Earnhardt, on Wallace, On Gordon and Jarrett.”
4 The Classic Christmas movies, “Miracle on 31st Street” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” have been replaced by “Boss Hogg Saves Christmas” and “Smokey and the Bandit IV.”
5 Bubba Claus doesn’t wear a belt. Make sure you wife and children turn the other way when he bends over to put the presents under the tree.
Trans: As we enter these final days before Christmas, I would like for us to journey to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus through the eyes of the wise men.
Text: Matthew 2:1-12
Truth: In nativity scenes we often arrange the wise men around the baby Jesus along w/ the shepherds and angels. But we know from the text that the wise men didn’t arrive on the night of Jesus’ birth – it was later.
Matthew 1:11 uses the word house instead of stable and child instead of baby. Based on vs. 16, we can infer that Jesus was likely 12-24 mo. old.
Note: Most assume there were 3 magi b/c of the 3 gifts – but we don’t actually know the number. We do know they were men from the region east of Israel who’d been traveling for following a strange star in the western sky. But they weren’t just following a star, they were searching for Messiah.
Note: These men weren’t magicians or astrologist but educated men in science and astronomy. They were men from Babylon familiar w/ the ancient writings of Daniel – who 600 years prior had been deported to Babylon from Jerusalem. He didn’t just escape the lion’s den – he also ruled and wrote about the coming Messiah. Daniel 9 says 483 years after Jerusalem rebuilt.
I A Diligent Search for God Always Leads to Jesus
Note: I don’t know what is more amazing – the number of people who were completely oblivious to the Messiah’s first coming or that these wise men from a far were Johnny on the spot.
If you really think about it – the Bible most certainly gives us the impression that only Anna, Simeon, and wise men were looking for Jesus.
The masses were hopeful for Messiah – but they were neither looking for Him nor did they recognize Him (even His disciple didn’t fully comprehend that Jesus was God in the flesh).
Note: I often speak w/ people who have never truly taken the time to search for God – most people search for what works for them – but they don’t really search for the truth.
Throughout history, great minds have set out on the journey to discover God – and of those who found Him, the vast majority run smack into Jesus.
Trans: Unfortunately, too many people have never made the time or the space in their lives for Jesus. Our children spoke to us last Sunday night about this truth. When Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room available for them.
Insert: I know what this feels like. Several years ago in Europe, a friend and I traveled to Zermot to ski. After skiing, we began to search for a place to sleep but couldn’t find a room. We panicked. Outside the temperature was dropping below zero and we didn’t have a warm place to lay our heads. There was no room any where nor would anyone make room for us.
Note: There are many people today who are too busy, too proud, and too self-absorbed to make room for God. I have a brother-in-law in this category. Too be honest, he thinks that he is too smart for God.
Fact: But here is to the stark reality – whether or not you believe in God and have taken the time to make room for Him in your life – he is real and He is coming again some day.
Fact: God is neither diminished nor threatened by what you think of Him.
Truth: Ultimately – one of two things is going to occur. Either (1) you will die and find out there is a God or (2) you’ll die and your life will cease. Now which is better – to believe in God, follow His teachings and die only to find out he did not exist or refuse to believe and die and find out he did exist. In the 1st scenario you lose nothing while in the 2nd scenario you lose everything.