Wise Men Still Worship Him
2:1 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, 2 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." 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.' "
7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also." 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. NKJV
This passage provides a paradox. In it we find Gentiles seeking Jesus while He remains unknown to His own people.
We find that the magi seek Him while He is in danger of His own people.
We find that the magi press on to seek Jesus while the religious leaders seem to be unconcerned.
God has revealed the birth of His Son to aliens far separated from the covenant of grace through Abraham while obscuring His birth to those in the very vicinity and of Jewish birth.
We find those so wise and noble, so rich and renown searching for one who is simple and poor, Son of obscurity and commonality.
The come with gift by which they think to benefit this new King but they are the one who are truly blessed. There lives will never be the same.
When you line all those things up opposite each other, what a wondrous sight it must have been the night the magi rode into Bethlehem. In no place could you have found persons so divergent from one another.
But they have come to worship. Worship is the equalizer among mankind. Because regardless of who we think we are, God is still God.
Ps 103:14-16 14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more. NKJV
So weather we are wealthy and wise or simple and poor we all stand in the same relationship with the Babe born that night in Bethlehem.
I want to notice just three things about the wise men and their coming to worship the King of the Jews.
- The cost of their worship
- They brought with them gold, frankincense and myrrh.
- They had come to see a king and how could they come without bringing gifts that were due to a king.
- One of the things that was required was a gift.
- The gift would seem now so out of place to lay before such a humble setting.
- But God brought them to provide for Mary and Joseph on their journey to Egypt.
- In the Old Testament it is the same way with God.
- God was worshiped by bringing a sacrifice.
- Time and time again we find Abraham building an altar and offering up a sacrifice to God.
- Not all sacrifices were sin sacrifices although that was the primary usage.
- In the New Testament it is not animal sacrifices that God is looking for but a broken and a contrite heart.
- Heb 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. NKJV
- Eph 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, NKJV
- Humility is one of the costliest things.
- We value our pride and our self-sufficiency.
- Worship is costly because it recognizes that God is greater than we are and all we have is due to Him.
- Where would we be this morning if Jesus had not been born.
- Where would our nation be without the birth of a Savior.
- Where would our families be without the Savior who is Christ the Lord, Emmanuel, God with us.
- But today we are always looking for bargains.
- We want more for less.
- We have streamlined our worship.
- Some churches now advertise on the basis of a short service.
- I can hardly imagine God's response to such shallow worship.
- God give us a blessing and please hurry we have more important things to do today than you.
- The case of David.
- David had sinned his greatest sin and God was bringing judgment until David humbled himself before God.
- God then tells David to go to a certain place and erect an altar to the Lord and offer a sacrifice there. The story is found in; 2 Sam 24:18-25
- 18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, "Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." 19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. 20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 21 Then Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" And David said, "To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people." 22 Now Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. 23 All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king." And Araunah said to the king, "May the LORD your God accept you." 24 Then the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel. NKJV
- What a deal, he could have completed the command of God and it would have cost him nothing.
- But he knew that that would not please God.
- So he buys the field, builds the altar and offered the burnt offerings and God stayed the plague.
- It was on this spot that Solomon would later build the Lord's Temple.
- The obstacles to worship.
- The wise men could have claimed that it was just too far to Jerusalem.
- We have trouble coming a few miles or a few blocks to worship the one who came from heaven to die for us.
- Think of the mode of travel.
- Think of the inconveniences of travel in those days.
- Think of the dangers they faced from the elements and from robbers.
- There are always good reasons for not worshiping God but they are never as significant as the ones that compel us to worship Him.
- I remember listening to Erwin Lutzer some months after the fall of Communism.
- He had been to a church in Russia on a cold winters day.
- There was no heat in the place of worship but it was packed.
- The people starved for spiritual food stood in the freezing building for hours as one preacher after another brought them messages from God's word.
- Lutzer said that there was only one heated room in the building and ti was for those preachers from the west to warm themselves.
- I think of our forefathers who gathered in this building on cold days such as this and gathered round a wood burning stove and praised God for His goodness and grace toward men at this Christmas season.
- Though they had not seen him yet they believed.
- The scribes had a head faith but had not heart to travel the 12 miles to Bethlehem
- And things were no doubt what they expected but still they were not dissuaded.
- They came to worship a king but found a peasant.
- They saw no miracle or heard his marvelous teaching.
- They saw nothing but a helpless child still needing a mothers care.
- All they saw was a baby on the lap of a poor woman and yet they worshiped Him.
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com