Andrew Fountain - The Wise Men


Sermon notes - The Wise Men

Matthew Chapter 2

Wise Men

Wise Men

Image source: waitingfortheword

Image source: nlife

  • This is the world’s view of Christmas (somebody emailed it to me)
  • We watched the video of Matthew 2 earlier
  • The Magi have always raised some problems for me:

Questions to answer

  1. How did this star thing work? -there are some possible answers that people have recently come up with
  2. How did they know what it meant? -—Did they find the truth through astrology?
  3. What did it accomplish? -Why did God bring them
  4. How is it relevant to us?
  • The results seem to be tragic—lots of dead children
    • was there a positive side?

Things we know

  • They were from east of the Roman Empire, probably the Parthan empire in the area of India
  • They were not kings, but Magoi —wise and powerful advisors to the emperor
  • Nowhere are we told that there were three—there may have been many more and they would certainly have had an entourage
  • Jesus and his family were no-longer living with the animals, but had a house
  • We know exactly when Herod died from Roman history, within a few days (Passover 4 B.C.)
    • Jesus must have been under 2, maybe around 16 months if he was born in the winter the year before
  • From estimates there would have been less than 100 infants under 2 in Bethlehem at that time
    • Herod’s cruelty was so extreme that this act was nothing compared with other things he did. Wallace says:
    • Josephus tells us much about Herod. The best word to describe his reign is ‘overkill.’
    • He murdered his favorite wife’s father, drowned her brother—and even killed her!
    • He executed one of his most trusted friends, his barber, and 300 military leaders—all in a day’s work!
    • Then he slew three of his sons, allegedly suspecting them of treason.
    • Josephus tells us that “Herod inflicted such outrages upon (the Jews) as not even a beast could have done if it possessed the power to rule over men” (Antiquities of the Jews 17:310).
    • Killing babies was not out of character for this cruel king. And killing them up to two years old—to make sure he got the baby Jesus—lines up with his insane jealousy for power.
    • …just before Herod died he locked up 3000 of the nation’s leading citizens and gave orders that they were to be executed at the hour of his death. He wanted to make sure that there would be mourning when he died.

How did they know what it meant?

  • They were astronomers as well as astrologers (scientific observers)
  • God made use of the fact that they paid careful attention to the sky,
    • but didn’t use their astrology—he sent a brand new star
  • The hardest question is how they knew what it meant. Only two possible answers:
    1. They had revelation (e.g. through a dream)
    2. They had contact with Jews and prophetic writings because of the captivity.

Numbers 24

  1. 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.
  • Even if they had the O.T. Scriptures, they must have had some direct prophetic word as well because there is nothing that says:
    • “When you see a new star, it means a king is born to the Jews”

Questions to answer

  1. How did this star thing work?
  2. How did they know what it meant?
  3. What did it accomplish
  4. How is it relevant to us?

What did it accomplish?

  • They were the prophetic firstfruit of billions of Gentiles
  • They brought gifts which were prophetic
    • Gold —a king
    • Frankinsense —a priest
    • Myrr —his death
  • They encouraged Mary & Joseph
    • financially!!!
    • emotionally
    • did they go back different?
  • If God had guided them there prophetically, he would have not left them in ignorance
    • Probably at least one of the Apostles went east (stories say Thomas)
  • listen to T.S. Eliot and watch words at the same time

The Journey of the Magi – T. S. Eliot

  • It must have been an incredibly hard journey

Questions to answer

  1. How did this star thing work?
  2. How did they know what it meant?
  3. What did it accomplish?
  4. How is it relevant to us?

What can we learn?

  1. “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him”
    (Hebrews 11:6)
  2. How far would you go?
    What price are you willing to pay?
  3. Let us be “wise men” and “wise women”!

1. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him

  • The main lesson for me is how God rewards faith
  • What a blessing he gave them!!
  • How come the Jewish experts in the law knew where the Messiah was to be born, but weren’t even interested in going there!!! ?
  • The story of Mary Jones, born in Wales in 1784, became a Christian at age 8
    • Bibles were scarce and expensive, closest was 3km away,
      but she wanted one and saved for 6 years
    • At age 15 she walked 42km barefoot to buy a Bible.
    • When she got there they were sold out, and she wept.
    • They were so touched they gave her someone else’s
    • People were stunned by the story and determined that this should never have to happen again, and so the first Bible Society was formed, printing hundreds of millions of Bibles since it was formed.

2. How far would you go?
What price are you willing to pay?

  • Parable of the “Pearl of great price”
  • We can make the journey to Jesus today—but what is the cost?
    • He asks for everything—to become the focus of our lives
    • But he is worth it!
    • but the reward is even greater: forgiveness of everything we have ever done wrong, plus to be with him for ever
  • Not about going on some difficult pilgrimage, but being hungry for him!
  • When we talk about becoming a Christian, we often emphasize how it is free,
    • which is absolutely true in one regard,
    but it is also true that he has to be the one goal of you life.
  • And for Christians, we have an emphasis on grace which is very important,
    • but sometimes I think we miss out on this other emphasis
    • It is true God loves us just the way we are
      • But there is far more God has for us, if only we would press in!

3. Let us be “wise men” and “wise women”!

  • Make a choice to be like these wise men
  • Make a choice to put finding him, and finding more of him first in your life

Updated on 2018-12-16 by Andrew Fountain