Summary: The Magi responded with obedience to the call to worship Jesus.
A lot is made in our culture of leaders. We look up to leaders, we have high expectations of leaders and don’t hesitate to criticize a leader that does something that we don’t agree with. We talk a lot about leadership, but there are times when even leaders need to be followers, and we all need to be followers of Christ.
S. I. McMillen, in his book "None of These Diseases," tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst.
To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower." Today we are to be looking at a group of guys who were most likely leaders in their culture and yet they knew when to follow and when to stop and listen to God. Along the way we are also going to see a comparison to a heart that won’t worship or obey God. All of the language is correct, but the actions don’t match.
Matthew 2:1-12, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’ When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rules of Judah; for our to you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from the the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’ After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worship him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gives of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”
We’re continuing today to go through our series on Worship. We’re looking at what worship is, because it is so much more than just singing. It is more than a watching a performance or performing. Worship is something that we do with all of our lives. Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.” Worship is something that we do with our whole lives not just with singing on a Sunday Morning.
The word “worship” comes from the old English word for “worth-ship” it comes from the worth of the thing that is being worshiped. Hopefully you have spent some time this week with our devotional guides looking at the worth of our creator. When we understand that we were created by Him that should help us to understand that we were created for Him. Colossians 1:16 says, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” We were made for God and the logical next step of that is that we would then obey God.
Let’s begin with looking at a definition of Obedience: it is compliance, submission, obedience rendered to anyone’s counsel. Obedience is something that should mark our lives when we turn our hearts to God. When we give our lives to Him, when we say that He is our Lord, capital “L” the Lord of our lives, then it makes sense that we should follow Him. The problem is that we don’t always do that, but most of us know that, most of us are sorry about that. The bigger problem is when we confess Him with our lips but we don’t follow Him with our lives, but we become so blinded by pride, that we don’t even care, that we think we are good enough just as we are, because sometimes we follow Him, and in everything we do we take His name. We’re going to see in this passage that you can use the language, but your actions are still completely wrong.