Wise men seek the Lord

It’s funny how busy our American Christmas celebration has become. Are you glad it is over?:

One of Norman Rockwell’s delightful Post illustrations pictures a salesgirl in the toy department of one of our great stores. The date on the calendar is December 24; the hands on the clock point to five minutes past five. The poor clerk has slumped upon a pile of toys behind the counter—dress askew, hair disheveled, and arms limp at her sides. She has slipped off her shoes, and her eyes are rolled back as if she were to breathe her last. She has just made it through another great American Christmas!

—Christianity Today[1]

Maybe you get a break after Christmas but Joseph and his family didn’t. In Matthew chapter 1 we see Jesus born but then we come to Matthew chapter 2 and someone is already trying to kill Him. I want to look at this passage, but I wish to emphasize those seeking Jesus in contrast to the one trying to kill Him.

Theme: when we are wise we seek the Lord.

  1. The wise men came seeking the Lord to worship Him (verses 1-2)
    1. We usually see kings, or wise men, in our manger scenes. But notice verse 11 which says that Jesus was in a house. So, Jesus is obviously older. Most would say that Jesus was about two years old. This is based off of Herod’s order to kill all male children two years and younger. (2:16-17)
    2. These wise men were from the east and there were likely more than three. It is more likely that this was a large group of maybe even 100 people. Now, notice that Herod tries to trick the wise men so that he could kill Jesus. But God is bigger than Herod and verse 12 reveals that the wise men were warned in a dream and left by another route.
    3. Notice the magi are from the East and they arrived in Jerusalem.
    4. They saw a star. They define the star as His star. They have come to worship Him. There are a lot of implications here. (Numbers 24:17 is a good reference and references this star)
    5. The chief priests and the scribes knew enough to know where the Christ was to be born
    6. They quote Micah 5:2
    7. This is not unlike our modern political game. The magi, or wise men did not care about power. Herod wanted power.
    8. Herod says that he also wants to worship Him, but he is a lying politician wanting power.
    9. The star stood over the place where the child was born.
    10. Verse 10 they rejoiced in seeing the star
    11. Verse 11: Jesus is in a house and the family is very hospitable
    12. They worshipped the baby
    13. àJesus was God then as well
    14. The wise men left another way because of a dream
    15. The wise men give gifts: these will be important because of the upcoming travels
    16. This story is not in the other gospels
    17. The wise men outwitted Herod. (verse 16), or should I say the Lord outwitted Herod and this happened in two occasions. The Lord told the wise men to leave another way. (verse 12) Then in verse 13 God tells Joseph to take Jesus to Egypt. Early Jewish readers would recall how God protected the Israelites in Egypt in Genesis and Exodus. We know in verse 16 that Herod thought the wise men outwitted him.
    18. Who is wise? The person who seeks the Lord.
  2. Herod wanted to kill Jesus.
    1. He wanted to kill Jesus, because he wanted to be the king, not Jesus.
    2. In verse 3 it says that Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem with him.
    3. That is interesting. Why are others troubled? People like things as they are.
  • Who is our King?
    1. Our King has come, are we surrendered to Him.
    2. Wisdom means self-sacrifice as Jesus was not selfish. (Phil. 2:3-11)
    3. Wisdom means casting my crowns at Jesus’ feet (Rev. 4:8-11, notice verse 10)
    4. Proverbs 11:2 tells us that humility means seeking the Lord. It says: When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
    5. Proverbs 15:33: Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor. I must fear the Lord.
    6. S. Lewis wrote that humility doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself; it means thinking of yourself less.
    7. What I see in this passage is that Herod wanted to remain king and so he would not seek the Lord. But the wise men did not care about power and they sought after the Lord.
    8. In wisdom, this year, let’s cast our crowns at Jesus’ feet.
    9. What is first in our life? Can we set aside our interest for the interests of Jesus?
    10. Can we follow what is right, even if it means humility?
    11. Can we follow Jesus, even if it hurts our pocket book?
    12. Can we follow Jesus when it is difficult?
    13. All of Jerusalem was troubled with Herod, they were worried about change. They liked the stability Herod gave, but sometimes following Jesus means discomfort and change.
    14. The wise men saw the star and traveled, extensively for months, if not over a year, to see the King.
    15. What can we do to seek the Lord?

Conclusion:

In wisdom, the wise men sought the Lord and worshipped Him. How can we express this tangibly this year?

I am going to ask that you list something on a note card and fold it in half and put it in the envelope which is in the bulletin. Write your name and address on the envelope. We will mail them to you in a few weeks.

You can write:

I am going to seek the Lord by spending more time in Bible study.

I am going to seek the Lord by volunteering at the food pantry.

I will seek the Lord by attending a new Christian Connections group.

I will seek the Lord by volunteering at Alliance of Churches.

I will seek the Lord by healing a relationship in my family.

I will seek the Lord by joining a ministry.

I will seek the Lord by fasting.

I will seek the Lord by reading through the whole Bible in a year.

I will seek the Lord by working on a problem I have been ignoring.

I will seek the Lord by tithing.

You can write something else.

I am going to ask that you place those in the box in the back of the sanctuary and we will mail them to you in a few weeks.

Let’s pray.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

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)

[1] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

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