Dec 29 2016
Matthew records three responses to the birth of Jesus – Herod wanted Jesus removed, the priests wanted the news of Jesus kept quiet, the Magi wanted Jesus announced and worshiped. We still find these three responses today – some want a Christmas without Jesus, some want a Christmas that is quiet about Jesus, and some want a Christmas where Jesus is announced and worshiped. May we all be like the Magi.
Speakers notes follow –
The Response of the Magi
Matthew 2. 1-18
Raised on Christless Christmas – Awoke from coma – ‘It’s about Jesus’
Three responses – Herod, Priests, Magi
Herod: ‘Disturbed’ – Jewish Arab – Installed as King of Jews by Rome – Father supported Roman invasion – family citizens
Ambitious – shrewd politician – power hungry – own empire
Every move strategic – High Priest daughter / built Jewish Temple / controlled their priests – despised but feared
‘Disturbed’ a rumour of Messiah ‘King of Jews’ – threatened family position
Massacre of infants – ambition – stops worship – removes Jesus
Secular Christmas – about money / sales / festivity / entertainment – remove Jesus if necessary – City Mall – Jesus is removed – Santa better for business
Are you going to have a Herodian Christmas? A Christmas without Jesus?
Priests: Strangely quiet – Messiah should excite priests! Leaders of worship! Did a duck – feared Herod – he positioned them – not God – puppets
John B / Jesus couldn’t be bought – positioned by God
Church separate from State – free to be prophetic voice
Politician visit your church? – prophets + kings
Many Christians like these priests – religious but not prophetic – more answerable to community than God – we have to think of our Muslim/atheist neighbours – void of meaning
Are you going to have a quiet Christmas or be a prophetic voice?
Magi: ‘Overjoyed’ – not disturbed at all! They worshiped!
Gentiles – advisors (wise men) to foreign kings – astrologers / diviners / omen readers – forbidden practices
Saw star – arrived Jerusalem ‘where’s royal baby’ – God used star – astrologers language – doesn’t make astrology true
Priests viewed them as pagan / unclean – but God saw potential worshipers
Three types gift – Gold (king) Frankincense (priest) Myrrh (prophets die)
– did they know – King / Priest / Prophet? – no God leads right hearts
Sometimes God fearing seekers (new to gospel) respond better!
Matthews point – tax collectors, prostitutes, astrologers responded better!
Magi are seeking – people you don’t expect – Muslims / atheists / Hindus
– God is guiding them to you – preach the real Christmas
Christmas is on – star is in the sky – how will you respond?
Herod – secular – expedient – sales – business – no Jesus?
Priests – religious but bought – don’t rock boat – no Jesus?
Magi – Overjoyed – excited – adoring – focused: ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?’