Responding to Christmas and Beyond
Two nights ago we looked at and considered how the common writers of John, Luke, and Matthew responded to the birth of Christ by sharing it in written form and making Him known
We looked at Joseph and Mary as the obeyed the Lord’s message and pondered on the things they heard
We considered the shepherds… their amazement with the message, how they looked into things they heard, and how they proclaimed it to ALL!!!
As we considered the events of Christ birth and the responses we looked at what our response should be as well.
We sit here today over 2000 years later…
The events of that night are long past
The impact of that life of the baby in the manger… the Son of God… is crystal clear to us now, or should be
We looked at common people who recorded and reported of this amazing event… yet somehow there remain some who see this still as a fairy tale, nothing more than a heartwarming story. Surely the wise and educated would not believe such a thing as God coming as man, born of a virgin, God coming as a baby to save… WHO COULD BELIEVE THIS???
That Night… God made Himself known to the common people because He saw their hearts. GOD IS NOT HIDING… Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Everywhere you look we see the evidence of God, including the scriptures!
As God sent His Son to earth to be born of a virgin, He made it known… to the common and to the wise and educated… Matthew 2:1-18 shares the encounter of such individuals…
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: ‘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.’ ” Then Herod secretly called 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 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. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she refused to be comforted, Because they were no more.”
The Wise Seek
The Wise Seek
These Gentile Magi are the first gentiles recorded for us to worship Christ
MAGI = a person noted for unusual capacity of understanding based upon astrology (such persons were regarded as combining both secular and religious aspects of knowledge and understanding) Individuals with HIGH POSITION of authority and wealth.
To these (GENTILES) Magi He gave a sign in the heavens to declare the birth of His Son
A sign so clear and evident… they knew not just a a ruler but “One born a king”, not who would one day be king...
This “star” was understood also as a divine work of God (worship)
How would gentiles in the East know of God???
Made aware most likely when Daniel taught in Babylon,
God is always working… these men were looking and seeking Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
These were men who had a reverent fear & understanding of who God was & is! (Daniel & Nebuchadnezzar's words)
God is NOT Hiding
God is NOT Hiding
God also in even a greater way than to the gentiles made Himself known to Israel...
They had been given the revelation of the scriptures, the prophets Micah 5:2, Numbers 24:17 the priest and scribes who knew!
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth.
The coming of Christ had not been hidden, rather it had been proclaimed!!!
Zachariah and Elizabeth were making known the Messiah had come!
By this time word of Jesus in the temple would have spread through Simeon and Anna
The shepherds announcement would have been heard by many in Bethlehem and by travelers
Bethlehem is only about 5-6 miles away
Mary and Joseph were not keeping it quiet who their son was
God is NOT hidden, rather He is actively seeking man, revealing Himself, even to the extent of emptying Himself and becoming a man John 1:4-5 & John 1:14 The Light came to the darkness but the dark did not comprehend...
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
How Will You Respond?
How Will You Respond?
The magi were seeking The King; Herod was opposing the King; and the Jewish priests were ignoring the King.
Troubled as the Magi arrive and start to ask about the one born king of the Jews!
Wait a new ruler, king, a baby? Troubled… Change???
Unexpected??? we want a warrior not a baby
He hears and is troubled too!
No one is going to take his throne!!!
Had his wife and brothers slain to guard against any possibility of losing power
Brilliant man and architect, but a fool by any definition Psalm 14:1
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.
Gave lip service to impress, knew He was the Messiah!
In his heart was pride and arrogance that plummeted him in a downward spiral!
By The Way… Herod dies… and stays dead!
Scribes and Priest
Could understand the scriptures, quote them, but did NOT allow them to impact them, to penetrate their hearts
The Messiah had come, they pointed others to worship (Magi)
But would not worship themselves
The King of kings, come as man…
They seek Him… over 800 miles!
Search for Him… time, effort, possibly close to two years have gone by
They worship Him!!!… wise and powerful they bow to the King of Kings
The Son of God in fleshed worshiped, given gifts…
Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh (gifts fit for a King)
God’s provision for His Son and the parents
How will you worship? What will you give to Him? How will you seek Him? Romans 12:1-2 gives us a good starting point...
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
You realize the sacrifice He made? Not only in coming as a man, and living a sinless life for you and me, He died for your sin and mine…we look back and we remember His coming,
I want us to look forward and RESPOND wisely as we remember Jesus Christ coming
… are you responding as Jerusalem, Herod, Religious leaders, or as the magi who sought out the Christ, Jesus has done everything to pursue you!
The Wise Still Seek Him Today!