- Sermon Notes
Wisely Responding to the One-Star Review
Intro: Responses worth a “gold star.”
After Jesus is born in Bethlehem, some Magi, or wise men from the East, see a star in the sky. This particular star they understood to be a sign that would direct them to the newly born King of the Jews, the Messiah, Jesus. Convinced in their understanding, they left the comfort of their home country and began the great journey to Jesus.
The journey these wise men embarked upon was a long trip for them, over many days and many miles. They were unsure of their final destination but were sure that they were going in the right direction, and sure of who they were headed to see. They were headed to see the Savior of the world, Jesus, and confident that their journey, though long, would be worth it all.
Though the journey was filled with unknowns, they were wisely willing to go. Though they did not know where their journey would lead them, they knew Who their journey would lead them to.
And this is an important truth in wise pursuit of Jesus Christ for me and for you…We do not always know where exactly the journey will lead, who we are headed to…We are headed to the Savior. So, let’s look at the story of the wise men, and gain insight from the one-star review!
- Make Your Way to Him Today
Matthew 2:1-2, Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
- Seeing what they knew to be the star of the Messiah, they did not delay and made their way to Jesus without hesitation.
- There are many misconceptions about the wise men, so let’s look at some of our understandings associated with who these men are.
Illus. We Three Kings?
- From verse 1, we understand that the magi were wise men from “the East,” most likely Persia, or modern-day Iran. This means the wise men likely traveled around 800 miles or more to see the Christ child.
- What we know for certain is that the wise men, or magi, were guided to look for the King of the Jews by a miraculous stellar event, the “Star of Bethlehem,” which they called “His star” (Matthew 2:2).
- The star they saw, was a fulfillment of Scripture.
Numbers 24:17, “A star shall come forth from Jacob, a scepter will rise from Israel.”
- This was widely regarded as a Messianic prediction and understood by the wise men. The King they were seeking, it was Jesus.
- Their response was not simply to understand or discern the reality of what had been reveal in their study, but rather, they had to do something about it.
- They understood what the star in the sky meant and they made their way to Jesus, following the star, beginning their journey as soon as they understood it represented the birth of Jesus, the King of the Jews.
- The Lord met the men in the midst of their study, and they responded personally, and immediately.
- This is the way we should respond to the birth of Jesus, we should respond personally, and immediately.
- They could have sent someone else. They were men of power and prestige, “hey, someone go check this out.” But they knew that their journey required a response personally, this was Jesus, they understood enough of the Scriptures to know that He was the king, it was imperative they go on this journey, it was imperative that they go to Him personally.
- Once they knew who was born, they knew what they needed to do. It was not enough for them to just know. In their knowing, they got going!
Illus. Seek and find.
- Know and Go
- As the wise men follow the star, they got closer each day to where Jesus was. Arriving in Jerusalem, they had an assumption that the birth of the Messiah was well known, asking, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?”
- Their inquiry caused quite a stir. Herod, the king of Judea, along with all Jerusalem was troubled.
- In verse 4, Herod called in Chief Priests and Scribes (experts in the Old Testament) and they were able to provide information that based on Scripture, the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem.
- The scribes quoted Micah 5:2, which revealed that it was out of Bethlehem the Messiah would come.
Matthew 2:6, And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.
Matthew 2:7-9, Then Herod secretly called for the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went on their way; and behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on ahead of them until it came to a stop over the place where the Child was to be found.
- What strikes me about the scene in Jerusalem is that Bethlehem is about 6 miles away from Jerusalem and the Chief Priests and Scribes hearing about the star, and seeing these men who traveled from afar, are not at all interested in going to see Jesus personally.
- The Scribes were those in the “know,” but they didn’t “go.”
- Knowing simply isn’t enough. The Scribes knew the scriptures well…The prophecies, locations and promises they were well aware of. They knew the scripture so well, that they directed the Magi to Jesus’ location.
- Yet, they were not willing make the 6-mile walk. The wise men had one sign, the star in the sky and they traveled across the desert.
- 6 miles away, and they made the decision to stay home. Why? I am not sure, but it highlights the truth that knowing is not enough.
- There is a caution here for those who know the Word. We can easily become like the Scribes.
- Expressing our excitement for the Messiah, but not willing to make the journey. Not being willing to “go” in accordance with what we “know.”
- Knowing where I should be is not the same as being there. Knowing where I should go, not the same as going. Knowing what I should do, not the same as doing.
James 1:22, But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only.
Illus. Knowing isn’t enough.
- We can get so close yet remain far from getting to Jesus.
- The Magi were not satisfied simply being in the know, they understood who had been born and they were willing to go.
- May being those “in the know” never be enough for us, let us be those who are willing to go because of what we know.
Illus. In Luke 8:43-48, A woman who sought and found Jesus.
Matthew 2:9-10, After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the East, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
- So, they left Herod, knowing that it was another 6 miles or so, they got all the way there. Close enough was not enough!
- It seems there was no distance too far, no price too high. Giving up many months of their lives, in order to worship the Messiah.
- They didn’t pursue a detour with their decision to see, worship and be with Jesus, though it came at a cost and with difficulty. They didn’t get lost counting the cost, they knew He was worth it all.
III. Don’t Get Lost Counting the Cost
- In Luke 14:28, Jesus points the people in the crowd who were following Him to the importance of counting the cost. He said this because the multitudes following Him were amazed by His gifts, miracles, and healing power, and in so doing they were blind to the life He was calling them to.
- Jesus tells them if they want to be disciples to count the cost carefully as they were unaware and were not following wholeheartedly.
- I contrast that with many in our day, who recognize the cost, and are unwilling to give up anything for Jesus and get lost counting the cost associated with coming to the one whom these Magi called King.
Matthew 2:11, 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.
The word “imitate” in the Greek is “mimic.”
- Upon Once they arrive and saw Jesus, they immediately fell to the ground and worshipped.
- It must have been an impressive sight to see these Magi, these wise men, bowing before a young child.
Illus. What might be said?
- The Magi, or Wise Men, were men of prestige, power, and wealth, and here they were bowing down to a toddler.
- They were not concerned with how it looked. They knew whom they had found.
- Here they were, in His midst, they were not interested what others thought, or how things looked, they were interested in worshipping Him, they weren’t going to wait, they were willing now, not later.
Illus. In John 12, a woman comes before Jesus pound of very expensive perfume. Pouring it out on the feet of Jesus. But Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples, calls it waste. Jesus said she had done a beautiful thing for Him.
- The Magi came worshipping with costly gifts.
- They hadn’t come to get something from Jesus. They weren’t coming because of what He had done; at that point He had done nothing.
Illus. Preparing for a child.
- We should worship the Lord because He is King of kings, creator of all, the reason for life, the destiny of our lives, the One who upon coming to Him, welcomes all in as sons and daughters.
Revelation 4:11, Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.
- These wise men brought Gold: which was given to Kings. Frankincense: Which was an expensive element of the High Priests incense and anointing oil. And Myrrh; Which was used in embalming at death. Myrrh was used to anoint Jesus body after death.
- Gold for a mighty king, frankincense for a ministering priest, myrrh for a martyred prophet.
- These Magi gave great gifts, the best they could bring, and were overjoyed to worship Him, stopping at nothing.