I wonder how long it took you to get here this morning? I wonder who has come the furthest? I wonder who has been on the longest journey this Christmas?
Life is a journey and we are all travelling on that journey. We sometimes use the word to describe the way we come to meet Jesus. Not everyone is brought up in a Christian home. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have been to a Sunday club like ours. You may be here for the first time or perhaps you don’t get to come very regularly. Perhaps you were not involved in the life of Christ Church a year ago, but you’re here now and you want to find out more. Then stick around. No matter where you are in your journey toward God, Jesus welcomes you too and delights in your desire to come and worship him. In our story today we learn about some other wise people looking for Jesus. They traveled a long way searching for Jesus.
We can learn several lessons from their journey of a lifetime that will help us in ours. Three in particular.
1. This was a Journey to Jesus (Matthew 2:1-10)
God helped people find Jesus in three ways. What were they?
A star pointed the general direction to Jesus
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matt. 2:1-2)
A bright new star in the sky was understood to point to the birth of a great person. That’s why these three kings came searching. But they needed more information. What else did God provide to help?
The Bible gave the specific direction to Jesus
“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.” (Matthew 2:6)
The star got them as far as Israel, but they needed the help of the Bible to know that it was in Bethlehem where Jesus could be found. The prophecy of Micah is just one of many signs in the Bible. Like the stars in the sky – God uses the Bible to guide us to Jesus. But the wise men didn’t have a Bible? So,
Teachers gave the personal direction to Jesus
“When Herod had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied “For this is what the prophet has written” (Matthew 2:4-5)
Who are some of the people God has sent to help us find Jesus? Parents: Sunday Club leaders: Children, Youth & Student Pastors. What about your friends? Who might God send to them? God might use a film like Narnia but its more likely he will send them a Christian friend. A friend like you to explain from the Bible how they can know Jesus too. Summarize three points. The journey to Jesus is the most important we can take. The journey of a lifetime…begins with a journey to Jesus and…
2. Leads to the Worship of Jesus
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.” (Matthew 2:11)
These wise, grown adults bowed before the baby Jesus and worshipped him. Now this was no impulsive thing. Earlier on in the story when they arrived in Jerusalem they had said,
“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the East and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)
Clearly they had been thinking about what they were going to do for a very long time. People do not normally worship Kings or Queens. The wise men worshipped Jesus because as they looked at the signs in the sky and the bible prophecies, they realised God had come to earth. That’s why we worship Jesus too. Everything we do in life will be influenced by our worship of Jesus.
Worship shows that he comes first in our lives. The journey to Jesus led to worship of Jesus. How?
3. Through the offering of gifts to Jesus
“Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)
What gifts did the wise men bring? Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. These were treasures of great value, and great significance also.
Gold = Royalty = Born to be King of the world
Frankincense = Divinity = Born the Son of God
Myrrh = Mortality = Born to die in our place
The wise men gave of their very best, because God had given His very best. In traveling so far, to worship Jesus they were really giving themselves to Jesus. Today is our opportunity at the start of a new year to offer ourselves to Jesus, or maybe renew our commitment to Jesus. Those wise men traveled a long way to find Jesus. But their journey was worth it, and so is ours. The coming to earth of the Lord Jesus was a journey no one had ever taken before. But he came to rescue us from sin and death.
He came to give us meaning and purpose in a life that will never end. To know that our home is with him in eternity. When we take that first step to kneel and worship Jesus, to recognize him as our Lord and Saviour, a miracle happens. Like the wise men, we discover our purpose in life. Our purpose is to know him, to love him, to serve him and to share him with others by serving them and introducing them to Jesus. Like the wise men, God has entrusted each one of us with time, with treasures and talents.
How will you use yours in 2011? Let us commit ourselves today to get to know God better through reading and studying the Bible. Lets commit to serve God in some way in and through Christ Church. And lets commit to share the love of God in word and deed with the people around us in 2011.