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Summary: TRUE WORSHIP--CHRISTMAS

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Worship With The Wisemen

3/11/2008

Matthew 2:1-2, 10-11 (KJV) Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

[2] Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him …

[10] When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

[11] And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

• One of our enduring Christmas traditions is that three wise men – Balthasar, Melchior and Gaspar – traveled from the Far East on camels to visit the infant Jesus as he lay in the manger.

• The truth is that the Bible contains virtually none of these details. Matthew doesn’t say how many wise men came from the east, doesn’t mention their names, and doesn’t provide any details about how they made their journey.

• (It has generally been assumed that the wise men were three in number because three gifts are mentioned.)

• Nothing in the Bible says the wise men rode camels (or any other animal); they may have made their journey from the east on foot for all we know.

• And despite the familiar lyrics of the Christmas carol "We Three Kings," no biblical source depicts the three wise men as kings.

• They were most likely learned men, perhaps astrologers.

• And most importantly, they didn’t find the baby Jesus in a manger! Matthew says that the wise men came "into the house," not the stable, and they saw a "young child," not an infant.

• This indicates that the wise men didn’t arrive until quite some time after Jesus’ birth, probably about two years later since Herod killed every male child in Bethlehem two years old and younger.

• That’s quite an arduous journey just to attend a worship service!

• The most amazing thing about these foreign astrologers to me is that they grasped what God’s own people missed completely!

1. THEY UNDERSTOOD THAT JESUS WAS THE KING OF KINGS!

• There were 332 Old Testament prophecies about Messiah that were fulfilled by the life of Jesus Christ.

• Mathematician Peter Stoner said that if you took just 8 of these prophecies, the odds of a person coincidentally fulfilling all eight would be one in 10 to the 17th power.

• Since we can’t easily picture what that means, he gave this illustration: Suppose you took the state of Texas and spread silver dollars two feet deep across the whole state, then marked just one of them and buried it somewhere in the state.

• Then, if you chose one person, blindfolded him, and told him to pick just one silver dollar, his chances of getting the marked one on his first try would be one in 10 to the 17th power! Stoner’s students at Westmount College made the same calculation with 48 prophecies and came to "the extremely conservative estimate" of 10 to the 157th power.

• But Jesus didn’t just fulfill 8 of the prophecies or 48 of the prophecies – He fulfilled all 332!

• The fact that Jesus fulfilled so many prophecies with 100% accuracy proves: (1) There is a Divine Author behind the Bible, (2) Jesus Christ is exactly who He said He was – Almighty God!

• One of these incredibly detailed prophecies was given by the prophet Micah at least 500 years before Jesus was born, when he foretold the exact birthplace of the Messiah.

Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

• How could an impostor have controlled these minute details concerning the place of his birth? Two Bethlehems existed at this time, one in the territory of Zebulun (Joshua 19:15) and the other in Judea, Bethlehem Ephratah.

• This town was so small and insignificant that it is twice omitted from a catalog of towns in Judah (Joshua 15; Nehemiah 11:25).

• It is just a tiny village! (John 7:42) Of all the locations in the entire world, the true Messiah could be born in only one!

• Notice also that the Messiah was to come from “of old, from everlasting.” He would have the same attributes as God Himself – and that’s impossible unless it was really the Almighty God in that manger in Bethlehem!

• The most frustrating part of all this is that the religious scholars in Jerusalem knew the Scriptures about the Messiah – their ancestors had studied them for hundreds of years!

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