Where the world comes to study the Bible

Lesson 3: The Wise Men Worship The King (Matthew 2:1-12)

Related Media

I. Intro and Recap:

a.       Chapters 1 and 2 are about the birth narrative. 

i.  Matthew gives two full chapters to the origin of Jesus.  His earthly origin, and his divine origin.

ii.                        But his primary point in these two chapters is this: Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophets.  He is the fulfillment of the OT.

iii.                      He is the Son of David.  He is #14 (as we saw in the Genealogy)

b.      Recap:

i.  1:1-17- teaches that Jesus is the Son of Man.

1.      His genealogy is proof that Jesus is qualified to be the promised Messiah.

2.      He is promise of Abraham and the Son of David.

ii.                        1:18-25- teaches that Jesus is the Son of God. (virgin conception)

1.      His birth is not natural, and yet He is born of a woman.

2.      Chapter one tells us that Jesus is both God and Man.  He is the God-Man and is uniquely qualified to be the Savior.

iii.                      2:1-12

1.      Now we are in chapter two, and Jesus is a toddler, not a baby anymore.

2.      And we see two responses to this Savior-King.

3.      Herod and the Wise Men.

4.      Some people love Him and some people hate Him.

5.      Some people respond to Him, and others want to kill him.

6.      But the main purpose of these 12 verses is that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy.

iv.                      So the main point of this passage has to be v. 6, that from Bethlehem will come a ruler who will shepherd Israel.

II.                      Observations from Herod the King.

a.      A little bit about Herod:

i.  About 60 years before Jesus was born, the Roman General Pompey captured Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine.  The Romans installed local rulers in these areas, and eventually Herod became the ruler of Jews.  He was even called “King of the Jews” even though he was only half-Jewish.

ii.                        Historian Paul Maier:

1.      “You may be surprised to hear this, but believe it or not, if you are ever asked which is the one figure from the ancient world on whom we have more primary evidence from original sources than anyone else in the world, the answer is not Jesus or Saint Paul or Caesar Augustus or Julius Caesar—none of those. Alexander the Great? No, no.  It is Herod the Great, believe it or not. Why? Because Josephus gives us two whole book scrolls on the life of Herod the Great. And that is more primary material than anyone else.”

2.      Kind Herod was a paranoid tyrant who ended up killing three of his sons on suspicion of treason, putting to death his favorite wife (of his ten wives!), killing one of his mothers-in-law, drowning a high priest, and killing several uncles and a couple of cousins. They also talk about Herod’s plot to kill a stadium of Jewish leaders, and he even killed all the male babies and toddlers in certain village.

iii.                      Caesar Augustus even said he would “rather be Herod’s pig, than his son.”

b.      Herod is an illegitimate worldly king.

i.  He is the opposite of Jesus.

ii.                        Instead of using is power to serve people; He uses people to protect his power.

iii.                      Instead of serving people; he uses people.

iv.                      Herod represents worldly leadership and power.

v.                         Jesus comes lowly lying in a feeding trough…

vi.                      The ladder to greatness in God’s economy is the exact opposite of the world.  It’s down, down, and down.

vii.                    There used to be a popular TV show called “The Apprentice” and it is hosted by the famously wealthy man, Donald Trump. 

1.      It’s a show of leadership, business savvy, skill, and smarts.  The goal, if you are a contestant, is to eventually pass all of the tests to become your very own CEO of one of Trump’s companies for one year.  This show perfectly typifies the world’s understanding of leadership.  If you want to win you do everything in your power to get to the top.  You cheat if you have to, you lie if you have to, you use others at their expense if you have to.  You do anything and everything to get to the top; because that’s where you want to be.

2.      I remember as a child growing up in Minnesota in the winters we would play a game called, “King of the mountain.”  The goal was to do anything and everything to get to the top of a huge snow hill. 

viii.                  It’s a picture of the system of this world.

1.      But in the economy of God, it’s completely backwards. 

2.      Mark 10:42-45, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. ‘But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’ 

3.      But it is not this way among you!  The world has its way of operating, but it is not this way among you!”

4.      Jesus is the opposite of Herod.

c.       Herod represents the world’s hostility towards God.

i.  He is terrified and wants to kill Jesus.

ii.                        The right king would have rejoiced to see the King of Kings, but King Herod wants to kill him.  He sees Jesus as his mortal enemy.

iii.                      Herod is more interested in saving his throne than saving his soul!

iv.                      Herod hears of these wise men who have come to worship a king, and he is immediately threatened.

v.                         Herod (and others) are troubled by the news of a king (2:3).

vi.                       Herod is like the new Pharaoh.

1.      I think Matthew makes the connection between Herod and Pharaoh.

2.      Herod is like the new Pharaoh just like Jesus is like new Moses.

3.      Moses only foreshadowed what Jesus would do.  Jesus is the True and Better Moses.  Jesus is the True and better Deliverer.  Jesus is the True and Better Savior.

III.                   Major Lesson Learned from Herod the King--There will be hostility towards Jesus.

a.      This world is hostile!  Evil is all around us!

i.  Jesus is born into a hostile environment!

ii.                        We will look at this more in the next section, but soon after the Wise Men leave Herod commits a mass murder on a whole village.  He kills all the baby boys under the age of 2.

iii.                      Jesus was born into a war zone.

iv.                      In the words of Doug Wilson, “Nativity sets should include a pair of Herod’s soldiers.”

v.                         All is not well in this world we live in.

vi.                      How do you explain the mass murder of children without using the word “evil?”

vii.                    Evil exits.  Period.  Sin is alive. Period.

viii.                  Our hearts should ache for those who lost their little ones, and loved ones.

ix.                      We should weep with those who weep.

x.                         Not only is evil seen in humanity, horizontally; evil is seen vertically, towards God.

b.      There exists in all of us, a hostility toward God.

i.  By nature, are opposed to God.

1.      We are not by nature indifferent to Jesus, we are antagonistic towards Him!

2.      We do not appreciate His rule in our lives, by nature!

3.      We don’t want His government!  We don’t want His opinion!  We would rather not hear His Word.

4.      We are dead to Him.  We are immune to Him.

5.      He represents the highest threat to our sinful desires.

6.      R.C. Sproul, “If God were to expose His life to our hands, He would not be safe for a second. We would not ignore Him; we would destroy Him.”

ii.                        The King James says, “Peace on earth, good will toward men”  Or, “God has now made peace available.”

1.      There was ill-will.  Hostility.

2.      This explains wars, fights, everything.

3.      Rom. 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

4.      Rom. 8:7, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”

iii.                      Tim Keller gives an illustration that is helpful.

1.      Let’s imagine a couple that was once in love, but they have become “estranged” which basically means, we used to be in love, but we have become strangers.  And if you ever watch how that works, this is how it happens.  You were in love and what made you in love with that person was certain characteristics.  But when you decide to get angry, you take all those characteristics that you loved, and you read them through your anger and turn them in to flaws.  You read the things you used to love, the very same traits, as imperfections and weaknesses.

a.       “She used to love the fact that he was poised and unwavering, but now she sees it as emotional coldness.  And she’ll use it to justify her alienation from him”

b.      He used to love the fact (when he was in love with her) that she was a detail person.  That’s why she’s done so well in her accounting firm.  Always checking up, always checking up.  Now he see it as a lack of trust, now he sees it as a critical spirit or nagging.

2.      What Keller is saying is that, “You have enmity in your heart, so that, the sovereignty of God, where God can do whatever He wants, you see it as unaccountability.  He does whatever he wants.  You see it as reckless.

3.      You have enmity towards the grace of God… “it’s too easy, you can’t just accept that, you have to work for it.”

4.      You have enmity in your heart when you despise Him.

a.       “How can I believe in a God that could let this happen?”

b.      “I can’t believe in a God who would let such horrible things happen to people.”

5.      That’s enmity.  That’s despising God.  You don’t really trust him.

iv.                      So when the angels pronounce peace in Luke chapter 3, they are pronouncing the end of hostility.

1.      When Matthew records what Herod did, he is showing the hostility and evil that Christ came to conquer.

2.      Through Jesus, you can have peace with God, and with one another.

a.       Vertical peace, and peace on earth.

v.                         One of the school teachers in the Connecticut massacre told Diane Sawyer the heart wrenching story of huddling her kids together in her room, moving a bookcase over the door as a barricade.

1.      With tears she told the kids to be quiet, “to be absolutely quiet, because I was just so afraid that if he did come in he would just start shooting the kids.  So I just said ‘we have to be absolutely quiet.’ I said, ‘there are bad guys out there…and we just need…to wait… for the good guys…”

vi.                      Well the good guys did come.  And in our story, the Ultimate Good Guy came…

1.      Jesus was born into a war zone.

2.      The Christmas story is smack dab in the middle of a story of Monster trying to wipe out an entire village of baby boys, and I don’t think the weapon he used was the main topic of conversation.

3.      He was evil.  Satanic. 

4.      Herod represents evil and hostility.

vii.                    In a world of hostility and evil and grief and pain…the Good Guy Came…

1.      And with tears in our eyes we can say, “Merry Christmas—Behold the Lamb of God Who has come to take away the sins of the world.”

2.      Rom. 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

viii.                  How do we make sense of suffering and evil and sin and death?

1.      The cross of Christ.

2.      Jesus is born into this world to be a Savior.

3.      Mercy and Justice collide at the cross.

4.      Sin is exceedingly evil.  The Son of God has to die because of it.  This massacre is exceedingly evil.  And on the cross, God the Father condemns it.  He condemns sin.  He pours out his anger at evil and at sin.  He rouses His fury against sin.

5.      His solution:  Put His own Son forward to be the sacrifice.  Pour out His righteous vengeance against evil on His own son.

6.      The Result:  Evil is dealt with, legally.  And justice is upheld, legally.  And now he can legally pronounce sinners as righteous.

7.      So God is holy and just, in that He deals with sin, he doesn’t let it slide, and yet He is merciful in that He offers peace to the world through Jesus Christ.

IV.                    Observations of the Wise Men.

a.      Who are the Wise Men? (2:1)

i.  These Maji are not identified with perfect precision.

ii.                        Educated speculation says that they were likely the priestly caste of the Medes and Persians.

iii.                      Daniel refers to the “magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams”

iv.                      This is likely the same group as the Magicians, or Maji.

v.                         These Maji are called “wise men” because they were people of learning.

1.      Think of these folks as a mixture of being the elite, the intellectuals, and the religious priests of their culture.  They were like science-math-literature-priests.

2.      They were astronomers/astrologers. 

3.      Star-gazing book worms.

4.      And they were Gentiles. 

5.      There is no indication they were kings. 

6.      And there is no indication that there were only three (there were three gifts)

7.      Sorry to ruin the Christmas song, “We three kings from Orient are...”

b.      Why did the Wise Men come?

i.  Undoubtedly, word of a coming king has spread beyond the borders of Jerusalem.

ii.                        How would they have known?

1.      Remember when Daniel went to Babylon, he studied under people who studied dreams and visions and stars.

2.      Daniel skyrocketed into fame when he correctly interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

3.      Daniel later predicted the three successive kingdoms that would follow Babylon, and then told of a coming King would swallow up every other kingdom in the world.

4.      It seems likely that these same Magi, these same Chaldeans from the East would have remembered Daniel’s words.  They would have been students of the Prophets.

5.      They would be interested in this coming Son of David.

iii.                      There was widespread expectation for the birth of a great ruler.

1.      They come to the “City of David” to look for the “Son of David.”

2.      Jewish prophecies and even Romans were expecting a coming ruler.  This is likely why Herod is so nervous.

3.      Numbers 24:17, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth…”

4.      Micah 5:2, “But you, O Bethlehem…from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”

c.       When did the Wise Men come?

i.  They likely came about two years after the birth of Jesus.

1.      Hence Herod ordering to kill all the kids under two.

2.      And notice (v.11), Mary and Joseph are no longer in an INN, they are in a house.

d.      How were the Wise Men led?(2:2,9)

i.  2:2, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

ii.                        Notice, the ESV simply says the star “rose,” which is a better translation than saying it “rose from the East.”

1.      If these men came from the East, and the Star rose in the East, then they went wrong direction.

iii.                      2:9, “After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.”

iv.                      Two major possibilities of what this star was:

1.      An actual star, or comet or, supernova, or planetary conjunction.

a.       Church father Origen had this view, and also later on, the father of modern astronomy, Johannes Kepler.

i.  Kepler thought it was likely the convergence of Jupiter and Saturn.

ii.                        Making one bright light.

b.      If this is the case, then the Magi most likely saw the star of conjunction of planets, figured out that it had something to do with the Son of David, and came to Jerusalem.

c.       Apparently, unusual stars have been noted throughout history.

i.  Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar had a type of supernova at their births.

d.      The main problem with this view is that the star moves.

i.  It stops when they get to Jerusalem.  Then is shows up again and even hovers over the exact house of Joseph and Mary.

2.      An angel- or some sort of supernatural light (The Shekinah glory of God).

a.       Light was used as God’s presence with Israel in the dessert.

b.      Possibly it’s the same kind of light, and they called it a star?

i.  These people didn’t realize that stars are actually millions of light years away and twice as big as the earth…

ii.                        The word for star can mean a star, or a heavenly body, or a supernatural light. 

iii.                      It is also used metaphorically for a spiritual leader, or even of Christ, or of the messengers of the churches.

c.       Angels are all over the scene during the nativity.

i.  Angels are even called stars.

ii.                        And, angels are all over the place during the birth narrative.

d.      The main reason this makes most sense is verse 9.  It moves.

v.                         Isn’t astrology condemned in Scripture?

1.      Doesn’t it seem odd that these Gentiles find Jesus using a system that is mocked in the Old Testament?  Forbidden in the OT…

2.      Matthew neither endorses nor condemns it.

3.      It is Mathew’s way of showing how God was reaching out to the Gentiles. 

4.      He is using their broken system of discovering truth and He supernaturally guided them to THE TRUTH.

5.      The Jews, who HAVE the Scriptures, and are 6 miles away in Jerusalem and are totally uninterested, while the Gentiles, from far-away, with a broken system, are coming to see the King of the Jews.

6.      You could even say that the Ox and Ass understood more of what was going on that the priests and the scribes.

7.      Mat. 11:25, “At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children…”

e.       The Wise Men worshipped Jesus with gifts (2:10-11)

i.  The Wise Men rejoiced exceedingly with great joy (2:10)

ii.                        What is the significance of these gifts?

1.      We don’t know for sure if there is meant to be significance to these gifts.  At the least, it was a lot of money that helped finance Joseph and Mary’s trip to Egypt and back.

2.      But it’s possible, that these gifts indicate the kind of life this child will have…

iii.                      Gold- the symbol for a King.

1.      This is Matthew’s main point on this gospel.  Jesus is the King.

2.      Gold is the metal of kings.

iv.                      Frankincense- the symbol of he High Priest.

1.      Incense was used by the priests in their worship.

2.      Incense was never mixed with sins offerings like meat and wine offerings.  In other words it was pure.

3.      A white gum from a tree in Arabia

4.      It pointed to Christ as our High Priest, His entire life was pleasing to God.

v.                         Myrrh- the symbol of death.

1.      Myrrh was expensive and was used for embalming.  It was also a gum from bush.

2.      Myrrh was a valuable commodity.  In fact, the town “Smyrrhnah” was named that because it was a huge factory of Myrrh.

3.      Nicodemus used 100 pounds of myrrh for Jesus’ burial.

4.      They unknowingly gave Jesus a gift symbolizing death.

5.      Jesus would suffer and die a sinners death.

f.        More than likely these wise men had no idea of the magnitude of this king, but their gifts do foreshadow the kind of King this would be.

V.                       Lessons Learned from the Wise Men.

a.      The Wise Men teach us that Jesus is for all people, Jews and Gentiles.

i.  The worship of the Magi implies that God’s redemption goes beyond the Jews.

ii.                        The response of Herod and the indifference of the religious leaders tell us that many of the Jews will not believe in Jesus.

iii.                      Jesus is the fulfillment of the hopes and prophecies of Israel but also as one who will extend God’s blessings to Gentiles.

iv.                      Paul says of the Corinthians that “…not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.”

v.                         They were wise according to worldly standards, they were powerful and influential, and they were of noble birth.”

vi.                      Jesus has come for all people!  Rich and poor.

vii.                    The grace of God is wide and reaches to all people.

viii.                  Even his genealogy proves this, as numerous Gentiles are mentioned.  The grace of God reaches far and wide…

b.      The Wise Men teach us what it means to be wise.

i.  What does it mean for us to be wise?

1.      1 Cor. 1, For it is written,  “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise...”

2.      “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.”

ii.                        The wisdom of the world looks at this birth story and scoffs.

1.      He wasn’t born of a wealthy family, His parents were poor.

2.      He wasn’t born in the Temple.

3.      He wasn’t wrapped in kingly garments.

4.      He wasn’t born surrounded by dignitaries noblemen.

iii.                      The wisdom of the world mocks Christ and mocks Christmas and says,

1.      “In an age of science and technology and education, do you really believe in a virgin conception?”

2.      The New York Times thinks this is laughable.

iv.                      The wisdom of this world says that Christ is old news.

v.                         The wisdom of the world says that Christ wasn’t the promised King.

vi.                      The wisdom of this world is always dated….

1.      The wisdom of the age this year, will be ridiculed 50 years from now.

2.      Whatever the op-ed page of the NYT is this week, in 50 years will be mocked.

3.      The experts of this age will look ridiculous to the experts of your grandchildren’s age.

4.      Freud was in, then he was out.

5.      Every generation believes that our experts are different.

6.      NOT with the Truth.  The Truth is never old.

a.       Read Paul, read Luther, read Augustine, Sprurgeon, and they all teach the same thing.

b.      If you try to invent a new kind of Christianity, or redesign it, or take some of this truth and leave that truth you will come away a laughingstock.  Guaranteed.  50 years from now you will look like a caveman.  The wisdom of this world is always dated.

vii.                    The wisdom of this world is shallow.

1.      It values looks, money, relationships, power, it values pomp, it values prestige.

2.      The world want influence, the world wants power. 

3.      You don’t start your campaign in a stable, you start it in the temple.  You start it surrounded by powerful people, not shepherds.

viii.                  The wisdom of God is different.

1.      The wisdom of God is lying in a manger.

2.      The wisdom of God is lay dying on a cross.

3.      The wisdom of God foolishness to the world.

a.       The wise men go to Bethlehem.

b.      Ethnically, they were not the in people.

c.       Theologically, they were not the in people.

d.      All the right scribes and theologians and priests and dignitaries weren’t there.

VI.                    Observations of Jesus.

a.      Jesus is the promised King (2:5).

i.  Main point of 2:1-12 (Five times Matthew quotes the Old Testament).

1.      1:23;

2.      2:6,

3.      2:15,

4.      2:18,

5.      2: 23,

ii.                        This is a major motif that runs through all of Matthew.  Jesus is the fulfillment.

1.      Jesus is born in Bethlehem—a fulfillment of prophecy (2:1)

2.      He is called a Shepherd of Israel (2:5)

iii.                      Herod assembles the chief priests and scribes to talk about this.  These are not folks who all agree on every matter of doctrine, but they unanimously quote Mic. 5:2 and say that prophecy points to the Messiah being born in Bethlehem.

b.      Jesus confronts the powers of the world.

i.  Look at the ruckus Jesus makes and he is just a child!

ii.                        The entire nation is buzzing about the news!

iii.                      Jesus posed a threat to the powers of the world.

1.      “At the heart of the Christmas story is a baby who poses such a threat to the most powerful man around that he kills a whole village full of other babies. At the heart of the Christmas story is a baby who, if only the Roman emperor knew it, will be the Lord of the whole world. Whatever else you say about Jesus, from his birth onwards, people certainly found him a threat. He upset their powergames, and suffered the usual fate of people who do that.” ~N.T. Wright

iv.                      Jesus cannot be stopped by the powers of the world.

1.      The plan of God cannot be stopped. 

2.      No matter how much the world tries to stop Jesus, it can’t.

VII.                Lesson Learned from Jesus.

a.      Be prepared to be held in low regard, if you follow Christ.

i.  Rest assured, if you pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ your life will change.

ii.                        The powers of this world will rouse up with hostility towards you.

iii.                      You will be mocked.

iv.                      You will be belittled.

v.                         You will be patted on the head.

vi.                      You will be called a Exclusive.  Narrow.  Fundamentalist.  Backwoods.  Backwards.

vii.                    The powers of this world will hold you in low regard, just like they powers of this world held the Savior of the world in low regard.

viii.                  Rather than come in pomp, He comes as a Servant Savior.  Humble, riding on a donkey to His death.

1.      A Roman cross is His symbol.

2.      He was seen as weak and insignificant by the Vanity Fair of His day.

3.      But his weakness and death were actually the wisdom and power of God.

ix.                      Forbes:

1.      Forbes magazine presents their annual lists for the top 100 celebrities, or for the 400 Richest Americans, or the world's most powerful women. Other websites list the top ten most powerful people in the world, or the 50 most powerful people in Washington, D.C.

2.      But a website called 24/7 Wall Street has an unusual twist on this theme. They call it the "100 Least Powerful People in the World List." The list includes corporate executives, athletes, politicians, and celebrities who share one common characteristic—they used to be powerful. Here are some "Winners" (or "Losers") that qualified for this year's "100 Least Powerful People in the World List":

a.       Tony Hayward, the former CEO of BP, in 2011 the 4th largest company in the world (based on revenues). After a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the BP board of directors eventually fired Hayward.

b.      Jim Keyes, the former CEO of Blockbuster, once one of the nation's largest retailers.

c.       Mike Jones, the current CEO of the former #1 social network—MySpace, which once had 70 million users.

d.      Arnold Schwarzenegger, the once powerful actor and politician in California, who is attempting to make an acting comeback after driving his state's finances into the ground

e.       Hosni Mubarak, the former President of Egypt who left the country in disgrace

3.      Some of the individuals on this least powerful list were victims of circumstances; others made poor business decisions; and others lost their influence because of moral failure. But none of them chose to become powerless.

4.      In contrast, through his birth, incarnation, earthly ministry, and death on the cross, Jesus the all-powerful and sinless Son of God chose to become powerless for our sakes.

x.                         If you follow Jesus, be prepared to be seen as insignificant and weak.

b.      Jesus is worthy of our worship.

i.  Is there hostility between you and God?

1.       

ii.                        Respond to Him with worship!

1.      Bring your own gold, incense, and myrrh.

2.      These Wise men were wise!!!

a.       They were wise enough to seek Jesus.

i.  “Wise men still seek Him.”

b.      They were wise enough to seek information.

c.       They were wise enough to worship him when they found him.

i.  They didn’t respond with hostility, like Herod.

ii.                        They didn’t respond with indifference, like the scribes and priests.

iii.                      They responded with worship.

3.      So I say with the Apostle Paul, “Where and who is the one who is wise?”

a.       They are humbling themselves. 

b.      They are worshiping the King. 

c.       They are bowing down and falling at His feet.

d.      They are acknowledging His Lordship.

e.       They are believing His Word.

f.        They are preparing the way with repentance, removing everything that offends the King.

g.      They are praising His names with the host’s angels. 

h.      They are counting the riches of this world as rubbish.

i.        They are ignoring the wisdom of this world.

j.        They are valuing the things unseen.

4.      So bring your gold!

a.       Worship Him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s.

b.      King who rules a spiritual Kingdom which will some day come to His people and at which point He will rule the world.

5.      So bring your incense!

a.       Worship Him as the High Priest who can sympathize with your weaknesses and welcomes you just as you are.

b.      Emanuel, He is God with us, sympathetic high priest, able to understand and to aid us. 

c.       He is the Humble King who is approachable.  He is meek and riding on a donkey.  Humble and lying in a manger.

d.      He doesn’t run away from you and the dirt in your life.  He is drawn to it.  He is born into it.

6.      So bring your myrrh!

a.       Worship Him as the Savior.

b.      He was born to die.

c.       Jesus, He saves His people from their sins.

c.       Suggestions to prepare for Christmas.

i.  Prepare for Christmas as a family by going over the Christmas story.

1.      Have hot chocolate together and read Matthew and Luke’s narrative.

2.      Read through the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke—write down some new observations and discuss it.

3.      If you are single, do this yourself or with some friends.

4.      If you are married, do this with your spouse over a cup of coffee.

5.      If you have kids, have them act the story out.

6.      Have a series of family devotions on this.

ii.                        Talk about Christmas with your family over dinner:

1.      Don Whitney “10 Questions to ask this Christmas”

a.       What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas?

b.      What was your best Christmas ever? Why?

c.       What’s the most meaningful Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

d.      What was the most appreciated Christmas gift you’ve ever given?

e.       What was your favorite Christmas tradition as a child? 6. What is your favorite Christmas tradition now?

f.        What do you do to try to keep Christ in Christmas?

g.      Why do you think people started celebrating the birth of Jesus?

h.      Do you think the birth of Jesus deserves such a nearly worldwide celebration?

i.        Why do you think Jesus came to earth?

iii.                      Prepare for Christmas by playing good Christmas music.

1.      “Good tidings of comfort and joy” God rest ye merry gentlemen

2.      “Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"

3.      “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel”

iv.                      Watch the Nativity Story Movie.

1.       

v.                         If you host a Christmas party, share something meaningful.

1.      Read the Christmas story in Matthew.

2.      Make a few comments.

3.      Ask some questions to get people to think.

vi.                      Start some Christmas traditions.

1.      Make a special meal.

a.       Direct the conversation towards the Incarnation.

2.      Make a calendar of Christmas where you peel off a sticker each day of December.

3.      Francis Chan:

a.       We all have various Christmas traditions. Few of us probably have a tradition quite like the Robynson family's. In his book Crazy Love, Francis Chan shares their story:

b.      This family of five, with three kids under the age of ten, chooses to celebrate the birth of Christ in a unique way. On Christmas mornings, instead of focusing on the presents under the tree, they make pancakes, brew an urn of coffee, and head downtown. Once there, they load the coffee and food into the back of a red wagon. Then, with the eager help of their three-year-old, they pull the wagon around the mostly empty streets in search of homeless folks to offer a warm and filling breakfast on Christmas morning.

c.       All three of the Robynson kids look forward to this time of giving a little bit of tangible love to people who otherwise would have been cold and probably without breakfast. Can you think of a better way to start the holiday that celebrates the God who is Love?

d.      Yes, Do all these things to help focus your attention on Jesus, But remember, Jesus came as Savior to deal with sin and evil.  And He has.  Now we wait for his final return and that great and awesome Day, when perfect justice is executed, and He saves those eagerly waiting for Him.

VIII.             The Gospel.

a.      Yes, Do all these things to help focus your attention on Jesus, But remember, Jesus came as Savior to deal with sin and evil.  And He has.  Now we wait for his final return and that great and awesome Day, when perfect justice is executed, and He saves those eagerly waiting for Him.

Related Topics: Christology, Prophets