Herod Missed Christmas while the wise men worshipped (Matthew 2:1-12)

Opening:
Video clip of the Elf Code from the movie Elf— “Treat every day like Christmas”
Christmas is not over and that is good because some have missed Christmas. Let me tell you about some of the Bible characters who missed Christmas and exhort you that it is not too late. You can celebrate Jesus’ life death and resurrection any day of the year.
Read with me Matthew 2:1-12:
The Magi Visit the Messiah
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “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.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

I. Herod missed Jesus (Matthew 2:1ff).
a. Herod was afraid of another king. Herod was the local king of Jerusalem. Herod was not even Jewish as he was an Edomite which means he was a descendant of Esau. Jewish kings were to be descendants of David.
b. Herod not only missed Christmas, Matt 2:16 tells us that Herod killed children 2 and under. Herod was so afraid of another king that he slaughtered the children of that age range.
i. Now, what about you? Have you missed Christmas
ii. Instead of simply taking stuff out like sin management, let’s make our Christian life a passion pursuit. Let’s follow Jesus so adamantly that we are so focused on Jesus and His greatness that we can’t miss Him.
iii. As the magi followed the star, let’s follow Jesus.
iv. It is not too late. We should worship Jesus as Lord every day of the year. We should celebrate His birth, life and resurrection every day of the year.
II. The teachers of the law and priests missed Christmas. In Matthew 2:3-4 Herod called them together and asked them where the Messiah was to be born and they responded, “In Bethlehem of Judea…”
a. They knew this. They had to have known why Herod asked. Why did they not go and look for the Messiah?
i. I think they were obviously indifferent. They were happy as religious scholars.
ii. We have the Messiah, we have the Gospel and His Word.
b. Please don’t be indifferent. Acknowledge Christmas. Don’t let the busyness of this time of year rob you of the joy of this time of year.
Something More at Christmas
What is supposed to be a time of peace and good will becomes, for some, a time when the reality of human greed and folly and cruelty mocks the lovely sentiments of the season. But I’m not sure anyone can experience what Christmas really means without confronting that sense of lost innocence and the potential for disillusionment the holiday can bring. Only after we truly face up to Christmas without Santa can we as adults begin to grapple with what Christmas is all about … God’s gift of ultimate hope that our human destiny is something more than a brief doomed moment in “the benign indifference of the universe.”
c. A few weeks ago I decided to put the Christmas tree up. It was prior to thanksgiving and Mercedes was very excited. She literally jumped up and down as she saw me bring the decorations up. Abigail watched with big eyes as I pulled the tree out of the box. She exclaimed “wow!” She really did. She was an amazement, real, true amazement. They were overjoyed. They watched intently as I was running our antique Lionel train.
d. I find myself missing the significance of Christmas. I am no longer like a child mesmerized. I wonder if I could be as excited as Mercedes and Abigail. Could I think with fresh eyes, “God became a man!”
e. It is not too late. Every day it is important to acknowledge Jesus as Lord.
III. I bet that is not all. It appears from Scripture that the people living in the immediate vicinity of the birth of Jesus missed Christmas. He was born in a stable. I know, I know, they didn’t know any better. No one knew the importance of this baby.
a. You now know. You know the importance of Christmas.
IV. Let’s be like the wise men who worshipped Jesus.
a. They recognized who Jesus Is and worshipped.
V. In verse 11, while Herod missed Christmas, in humility, the wise men worship Jesus.
a. They bowed down.
b. The N.E.T. Bible has a note that reads: “they fell down.” BDAG 815 s.v. πίπτω 1.b.α.ב has “fall down, throw oneself to the ground as a sign of devotion, before high-ranking persons or divine beings.”
c. Are we here to worshipping God in reverence?
d. Listen, I also have no problem with hand raising in worship but know what that means. What does that mean? It means surrender. We are surrender to Jesus and we raise our hands surrendering and exalting Jesus.
e. These wise men, or magi were wealthy, very wealthy and very wise and they surrendered and bowed down to a toddler.
f. My toddler wants me to surrender to her, but Jesus was and is worthy.
g. Whether we bow down or not, are we surrendering?
h. Are we metaphorically bowing down when we sing songs to God? What about when we pray to God?

Linus didn’t miss Christmas. Listen:
Play clip from the Peanuts.
This dog didn’t miss Christmas:

John 3:16 for God so loved you that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
Do you believe that? It is something amazing! This is something to worship about every day.
Pray

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

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