The Response of the Magi

(audio sermon)

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?’