- Sermon Notes
Head Toward Jesus
Intro: Looking for a sign.
In beginning of Matthew chapter 2, the Magi come from a long distance in order to visit Jesus, who had been born and was now living in Bethlehem. These Magi, weren’t kings, but “wise men” who spend time studying the stars as astronomers, and dreams as dream interpreters.
The wise men saw a star in the sky and headed in the direction of it. What we know is that they understood the star to be a sign that the King of the Jews was there. It was clear to the Magi what exactly the star represented, it represented the Messiah who was promised and prophesied of throughout the Old Testament. Convinced in their understanding, they left the comfort of their home country and began the great journey to Jesus.
Read: Matthew 2:1-11
It wasn’t enough for the wise men to simply know what had happened. Rather, once they understood that the true King was born, they pulled together the finest gifts they could gather, and began their journey toward Jesus.
Today, we know that the Lord has given us many ways in which we can search for Him and find Him. Like the wise men, we too can devote our lives to not only finding Him but offering our all, in worship.
I. Follow the Way of the Wise
The wise men are most famous today for their part in nativity scenes around the time of year we celebrate Christ’s birth.
Illus. Understanding the wise men.
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, but rather, they had to do something about it.
These men, went on a journey likely taking well over a year, because they knew the importance of the Messiah.
Illus. New release Tuesday.
These men were not in Bible terms, but they became wise when they devoted their lives to seeking Jesus.
Where the star led them initially was to Jerusalem, which was 5 to 6 miles away from their ultimate destination.
Once in Jerusalem, they made it clear why they were there. They were there looking for He who had been born King on the Jews. They told the people that they had seen “His star” in the east and they had come to worship Him.
The star, is referred to by the wise men as “His star.” The star was Christ’s star alone, but it served a purpose in leading others to Christ. It did this
well because it moved in the direction of Christ as the wise men journeyed.
This is the way that we should be as Christ followers as well. Belonging to Christ while pointing others to Jesus. Pointing others in the way, and also following in the way.
This means that as people get closer to us, they are also coming closer to the One who lives in us.
Matthew 5:16, Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Whenever Jesus performed a miracle, there wasn’t a photo shoot, or speaking tour that followed. His aim, was that people would glorify the Father.
Make your life a reflection of Jesus. So that as your light shines, the light of Jesus in you would shine brighter and people would come to glorify the Father.
Illus. What do people see when they get closer? VIP tickets.
Colossians 3:1, Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is.
As the wise men follow His 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. A large company of wise men asking about the Messiah.
Herod had some concerns of His own, being the current king of Judea, his throne would seemingly be threatened by this King of the Jews.
The Chief Priests and Scribes (experts in the Old Testament) were called and were able to provide information that based on Scripture, the messiah was to be born in Bethlehem.
At this, Herod tells the Magi to search for Him, find Him and report back so that Herod himself could go to worship him.
Worshipping was not Herod’s intent, rather, he was threatened and wanted to eliminate Jesus.
The wise men left from there and went on their way to find Jesus.
The scribes, who knew the Word and were confident where the Messiah would be found, stayed in Jerusalem.
The wise men spend many months, likely well over a year, traveling across the desert, spending much money and expending great energy to seek the Lord.
Jerusalem is about 5 to 6 miles away from Jesus and the chief priest and scribes at hearing this are not at all interested in going.
The scribes were those in the “know,” but they didn’t “go.”
It isn’t enough simply knowing the Word, but in doing, living and practicing the Word. We can easily become like the scribes.
Illus. Knowing isn’t enough.
We can get so close yet remain far from getting to Jesus.
Psalm 62:5, My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.
Illus. In Luke 8:43-48, A woman who sought and found Jesus.
Jeremiah 29:13, You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Scribes quoted Micah 5:2, which stated that the little town of Bethlehem was by no means the least among Judah, for out of Bethlehem would come the Messiah.
The little town of Bethlehem was a typical Middle Eastern city.
It was never a great or influential city. It was little among the thousands in Israel, yet God chose it to be the town Jesus would be born in.
Jesus came to a real world, as a real Man to help real people. Bethlehem in many ways, shows us a picture of our reality.
Bethlehem was an unimpressive city, but because it is where He was born, there have been more songs sung, poetry written, photographs taken, and trips made to the little insignificant town of Bethlehem than any other.
Bethlehem is one of the most famous places in the world today because Jesus was there.
Jesus comes into people like us and He makes us great, not because of who we are, but because of Whose we are. We are His.
When you seek Him, you will find Him and He can be born in your heart.
There is a difference between knowing about Him and knowing Him personally.
The wise men knew about it, it wasn’t enough.
The word “imitate” in the Greek is “mimic.”
II.Worship Him Today
Vs. 11, They 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 a toddler might say.
They were not concerned with how it looked. They knew whom they had found.
Here they were, in His midst, they were interested in worshipping Him now, not later.
Illus. In Matthew 26:6-10, a woman comes before Jesus with an alabaster vial of costly perfume. Pouring it out on the head of Jesus. The disciples, Judas specifically, calls it waste. Jesus said she had done a good thing for Him.
A.Prepare your heart
Worship is always costly. It might cost your so-called dignity, it might cost financially as you begin to give, it might cost you relationships.
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. He is the smitten rock, the Alpha and the Omega, the Bright and Morning Star.
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.
B.Bring your best
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 stopped at nothing.
We often journey, or compare notes on who is doing what, or giving what. As we compare, it puts us in a place of doing well enough. But I am encouraged by these Magi, who not only traveled a great distance, but gave the best they could give.
Matthew 22:36-37, Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? …You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.