Summary: Wise Men Seek a King
SEEKING A SAVIOR - Wise Men Seek a King
December 16, 2018
Matthew 2:1-12 (p. 676)
I’m not sure why but my favorite Christmas song is “We Three Kings.” Don’t get me wrong…“Silent Night” is more awe inspiring and “Away In a Manger” is more poignant…but there’s something about the swaying melody of “We Three Kings” that gets me…
“We three Kings of orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar - Field and fountain, moor and mountain following yonder star.
O…Oooo…Star of Wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright. Westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light. Guide us to thy perfect light.”
Matthew 2:1 tells us that after Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the East came to Jerusalem.”
There are some important things to consider here…First we don’t know how many “wise men” come…We always think 3 because of the 3 gifts…gold, frankincense and myrrh…it’s after Jesus is born, probably a year and a half to two years after his birth…the word that’s used to describe Jesus in verses 8 and 11 “child” is the word for toddler…not infant.
Verse 11 tells us they come to “the house.” This is long after the stable birth…Joseph and Mary are living in Bethlehem…Joseph is working…Mary is caring for Jesus in a small house…and this is where the entourage from the East visit…
We love to tell this tale of strange men from some far away place who bring Christmas presents to baby Jesus…
But this story is about a lot more than that. This story is about
I. SEEKING A KING
Folks, the wise men show up in Jerusalem…after Jesus is born in Bethlehem…This messes up all our nativity scenes that have the shepherds and the wise men standing next to each other. The shepherds were there the night Jesus was born. The magi arrive a couple of years later, after the birth of Jesus.
And man, they must have taken a wrong turn, huh? As they near the end of their search, instead of following the star to Bethlehem they stop off in Jerusalem to ask King Herod for directions, my wife said, “that’s the only reason they’re famous…they’re the only men in history known to stop and ask for directions.”
Why come to Jerusalem and King Herod?
What could possibly motivate these learned men…philosophers, astrologers, theologists, probably from Babylon (modern Iraq) to make a treacherous 1,000 mile journey across the desert?
They are searching for a king…“where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.”
How did they know about his birth? How did they know this was his star? How did they know they were supposed to go?
They’re students of the prophets…They are seekers of not only truth, but God and the meaning of life…They are not kings but they are certainly advisors to kings and counselors.
So why would they not come to Herod the Great expecting him to know about this newborn baby King?
There’s a big difference between King Herod and these Magi from the east…the Magi long to find Jesus…and Herod is disturbed when he hears about Him.
The wise men knew of his birth and his kingship…and Herod has to ask the chief priests and teachers for help.
MATTHEW 2:3-8 (p. 676)
Micah 5:2 predicted where the Messiah would be born…Bethlehem of Judea.
How far has Israel slipped from God? Their King has no idea about where the Messiah should be born…His desire to find out when the child was born has little to do with worship…and a great deal to do with death…and protecting his throne.
The Magi leave for Bethlehem…but will not return to Herod as he asks…(God tells them not to in a dream). The result…
MATTHEW 2:16-18 (p. 676)
Herod was preoccupied with power, possessions, prestige, and paranoia…His answer to being threatened…kill every boy baby 2 years old and younger in Bethlehem and the surrounding villages!
Two distinct reactions to the birth of Jesus…Wise men and women searching to worship Him and Herod, the so called “Great” doing everything in his power to rid the world of Him.
I see this happening at Christmastime today, don’t you? The world seeks to kill of Jesus and the supernatural plan of God at His birth…Christmas becomes about Black Friday, and Cyber Monday and a Holiday for buying just the right gift…and the Virgin birth, the “Savior” being born… “Immanuel” is quickly smothered by the god of this age.
[Anyone know what the number one stolen item from nativity's is? It’s not the sheep. It’s the baby Jesus!!!
Here’s a news flash…If Jesus isn’t there…it isn’t a Nativity…It’s not a picture of Christmas.]