Summary: A short talk for our all-age Nativity service, a week before Christmas. This year I focused on the phrase WISE MEN SOUGHT JESUS - THEY STILL DO. I remember seeing that on a car sticker 30 years ago.
Wise men sought Jesus and they still do.
Although the Bible never calls them Wise men, the Magi (2:1) were non-Jewish, religious men from the east who studied the stars. The Bible doesn’t tell us how many Magi came to worship Jesus, but they were Magi plural, not single; and they were indeed wise. They asked, “Where is the one born King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him” (2:2).
Wise men sought Jesus and they still do; but why were they wise? They were wise men because they searched; and when they saw Jesus they surrendered in worship.
They were wise because they understood who Jesus was, and my prayer, my hope for you is that each of you will know for sure who Jesus is this Christmas.
I pray that Andy, Kerry, Eliot and Amelia will all be wise concerning Jesus; and especially today we pray that Amelia will make wise choices throughout her life – wise choices in every aspect of her life, and especially with regards to God, her Heavenly Father.
The wise men show us that they were wise because of their choice of gifts. Now it has been said that if the wise men had been women they would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped with the delivery, cleaned the stable and cooked a casserole; and maybe there’s some truth in that but they show us that they were wise because of their choice of gifts.
The Bible says that ‘on coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him’ (2:11). They were wise because in the presence of Jesus they bowed down in worship.
Today, wise men, women and children will have hearts bowed down in worship.
After bowing in worship ‘they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh’ (2:11). These were wise gifts from wise men, because they knew who Jesus was. These gifts were no random pick ‘n’ mix and they were not from the 99p shop. No, these gifts were carefully selected because of who Jesus was, who he would be, and what he would do. They gave him gold because he was a king. They gave him incense because he would be a priest; and they gave him myrrh, a spice used for embalming – which all points to the future death of a priestly king; it all points to the cross of Christ.
Unlike some of the feeble efforts I have made in the past with Christmas presents, these were wise gifts, from wise men.
Wise men sought Jesus and they still do; can the same be said of me and you?
(Note to the reader: At this point I got out my illusionists bubble bottle. It is a simple trick available from specialist shops. You blow bubbles in the air and get the children to try to catch them and hold on to them. Of course they always pop because they don’t last. They’re not permanent. However, when I say that Jesus is solid and reliable I grab for a bubble and it appears to turn into a solid, translucent ball the size of a bubble. Pure illusion but an effective way to illustrate the point)
Sometimes we search for fulfilment in the wrong places. It’s a bit like grasping at bubbles. Things like money, possessions, and status; things like work, the latest gadget, or even addictions, can all be like grasping at bubbles to find something solid and reliable; but in my experience it is only JESUS who is solid and reliable through all of the ups and downs of life; and I pray for you; for the same wisdom that led the wise men to search for Jesus.
I want to end with a song that Kerry has asked me to play. It’s based on the song by Leonard Cohen and made famous 3 years ago by the winner of the X-Factor 2008 Alexandra Burke. The song’s called Hallelujah, and this is my version of the song. One thing that does not change is the word Hallelujah, a Hebrew word that means ‘Praise be to God’.
(Note to the reader: If you’d like to have a copy of my version along with guitar chords please just contact me via this website)
Wise men worshipped Jesus and they still do.