His Caring Kingship

Stefan Nitzschke December 19, 2021
Outline

Psalm 16:11 - You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

John 20:30-31 - Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

3 reasons to worship our King with great joy

I. He Is Good in Contrast to the Worldly Rulers

A. Herod’s characteristics

1. Herod governed with fear and brutality (v3)

“Herod was also cruel and merciless. He was incredibly jealous, suspicious, and afraid for his position and power. Fearing his potential threat, he had the high priest Aristobulus, who was his wife Mariamne’s brother, drowned—after which he provided a magnificent funeral where he pretended to weep. He then had Mariamne herself killed, and then her mother and two of his own sons. Five days before his death (about a year after Jesus was born) he had a third son executed. One of the greatest evidences of his bloodthirstiness and insane cruelty was having the most distinguished citizens of Jerusalem arrested and imprisoned shortly before his death. Because he knew no one would mourn his own death, he gave orders for those prisoners to be executed the moment he died—in order to guarantee that there would be mourning in Jerusalem.” (MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 1, pp. 25–26). Chicago: Moody Press.)

2. Herod used Scripture for his own gain (v4)

3. Herod was dishonest and deceptive (v8)

B. The Messiah’s characteristics

Isaiah 9:6 - For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

II. He Will Shepherd His People

A. He is a servant king

Matthew 2:6 - 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.

Micah 5:2 - 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.

B. He uses His authority to serve

Matthew 20:25-28 - But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

III. He Is the Legitimate/Rightful King

A. He was born King

Matthew 2:2 - 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.

B. He was authenticated by miracles (star)

Matthew 2:9 - 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.

C. He is the fulfillment of God’s plan as He is from the royal line of David

John 7:42 - Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?

D. Even Gentiles bow down before Him

Matthew 2:11 - 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.

Romans 5:10-11 - For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Ephesians 2:13 - But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

*Christmas Cantata recap

We find ourselves about halfway through our Christmas series, but we are still within our annual theme of Enjoying Life in His Name

In our series through John we learned that in this life, we will have tribulation

• In the book of the Bible we are in now (Matthew), Jesus compels his followers to “take up their cross and follow [Him]”

• Romans says creation itself groans, longing for the revealing of the sons of God

So what did John mean when he said…

John 20:30-31 - Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

• In a world full of tribulation where we are called to take up our torture device of death and follow Christ among creation subjected to futility… how is joy possible?

• *leak in basement—find the source

*some child crying—find the source

*smell chocolate chip cookies—find the source

What is the source of joy?

Psalm 16:11 — You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Brothers and sisters, what is the source of joy?

Joy is find in relationship with God, and because of Christmas (Immanuel), that is now possible

As I mentioned a bit ago, we’re about halfway through our look at Matthew 1-2, focusing on Jesus, Our Messiah.

As we do, we are going to find many reasons for rejoicing. We are going to find joy in …

#1. His family Tree (Matthew 1:1-17)

#2. His saving Purpose (Matthew 1:18-25)

#3. His caring Kingship (Matthew 2:1-12)

#4. His rescue from danger (Matthew 2:13-25)

We find ourselves at the beginning of Matt 2 – please turn there if you will (pg. 1)

And as you’re turning there, let’s turn our illustration on its head as well

• Say you are trying to find the leak in your basement, but are convinced that the gushing hole in the wall isn’t the source…

• And the three-year-old holding his head, mouth wide open and tears streaming down his face is not the source of the crying…

Or you’re not sold on the plate of piping hot chocolate chip cookies sitting on the counter as the source of the intoxicating aroma…

What then are you left to do?

• Continue your search for what you are convinced is the source

Similarly, if you don’t believe joy is found in relationship with Christ, you’re going to end up looking all over the place for joy, believing it to be found elsewhere

• …but with the same logic as our illustration, you’ll find yourself in standing water that will continue to inexplicably rise

• You’ll find the cries of the child growing louder as you look for another possible source

And you’ll find yourself increasingly frustrated by the lack of cookies in your search

In our passage, there is a great search

• But far greater than the journey for buttery-chocolate goodness, this is a search for the source of joy:

• This is a search for…

Jesus, Our Messiah: His Caring Kingship

Let’s read about this journey to the rightful King, in who’s presence there is fullness of JOY…

[Read Matt. 2:1-12]

With our time this morning let look at 3 Reasons to Worship our King with great Joy

But the searching magi and king Jesus are not the only characters at play in this historical recounting

There is also the wicked Herod, who stands in contrast to righteous Jesus…

I. He is good in contrast to the worldly rulers

It’s worth taking a look at…

A) Herod’s characteristics

First…

i. Herod governed with fear and brutality (v3)

Like the magi, Herod was searching

• Only his search was for control and power, and he was looking in all the wrong places for its source

• Where He ought to have rejoiced at the coming of the Messiah, our text said that Herod was “troubled,” and all Jerusalem with him

You want control? Submit yourself to the sovereign King who is in control over all

You want power? Enter into the kingdom ruled by the omnipotent God who has dominion over all the universe

• Instead, Herod looks for another source…

Only his search doesn’t take him far—or anywhere for that matter

Believing the lie sold by Satan in the garden of Eden, Herod is convinced that his search begins and ends with himself….

• Thus, to seek to maintain any semblance of control or power, he needed to rule with fear and brutality…

Herod’s reign began with nefarious intent – in 37 BC (close to 40 years before Jesus was born), he made friends with the Romans and strolled in to conquer Jerusalem with an army of 36,000

He then turned Jerusalem rulers over to the Romans to be executed, as well as putting to death almost 50 members of the Jewish high court (Sanhedrin)

• What did Herod believe to be the source of joy? The source of power? The source of control?

• His actions show where he was searching—but it gets even worse…

John Macarthur points out in his commentary….

“Herod was also cruel and merciless. He was incredibly jealous, suspicious, and afraid for his position and power. Fearing his potential threat, he had the high priest Aristobulus, who was his wife Mariamne’s brother, drowned—after which he provided a magnificent funeral where he pretended to weep. He then had Mariamne herself killed, and then her mother and two of his own sons. Five days before his death (about a year after Jesus was born) he had a third son executed. One of the greatest evidences of his bloodthirstiness and insane cruelty was having the most distinguished citizens of Jerusalem arrested and imprisoned shortly before his death. Because he knew no one would mourn his own death, he gave orders for those prisoners to be executed the moment he died—in order to guarantee that there would be mourning in Jerusalem.”

To make matters worse, Herod was part Jew, himself

And while he built a temple far greater than any that had been previously constructed (in many ways), this too was a vain search for power, control, and glory

• For these and other reasons, Herod was referred to as “the king of the Jews”

• Given what we know about Herod, listen once more to the declaration of the magi in vv 1-2:

Matthew 2:1-2 – 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.”

Herod, believing himself to be the source of power, control, and glory desired that HE should be worshipped

No wonder he was troubled at the notion that a competing “king of the Jews” – one foretold in the Hebrew scriptures – was coming to threaten his reign

• But did Herod finally realize that this was the true source of everything he had been pursuing?

• Did he see the plate of cookies??

Even in the face of all signs pointing to the contrary…

ii. Herod used scripture for his own gain (v4)

Let’s look at the passage again, starting in v 4:

• Matthew 2:4-7 – 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.

He consulted the map that leads to the Source – the Scriptures

• He gathers those who ought to have known about the Source – the religious leaders

• He inquires about the location of the Source – Bethlehem

He hears about the nature of the Source – He will be the long-awaited Shepherd

He even confirms the timing of the Source’s arrival!

…and what does Herod do with this shockingly accurate information regarding the solution to all he has been searching for…

iii. Herod was dishonest and deceptive (v8)

In verse 8, Herod sends the magi on their way, unwittingly aiding in their own search for the true Source

• But his words spell his intent:

• “…when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”

What is this called, brother’s and sisters?

A LIE or DECEPTION

• Are you ready for a bit of irony?

• Traveling a bit outside of our text for this morning, we read…

Matthew 2:16a – Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged…

Some call this “getting a dose of your own medicine…”

Make no mistake, friends and family of FW – when we are looking for the wrong source, we too embody Herod in every way…

1) We act brutally to those who seem to be getting in the way of our perceived source

• *example: comfort (anger)

• 2) When we are looking for the wrong source, we try to use truth or even the Word of God itself for our own selfish gain…

*example: Herod (to kill), or using the WoG to justify sin (“I can have sex before I’m married—see, Mary got pregnant before she was married!”)

3) When we are looking for the wrong source, we descend into deception and dishonesty

• If Jesus is THE Source and he is THE Truth, then any deviation from this will ALWAYS involve deception

• You will need to deceive yourself into believing that this secret sin will actually satisfy

• You will need to deceive others into believing you are actually living in the light

In short, anyone who is not seeking Christ like the magi, is by default, like Herod

• When we seek any other source, we presume OURSELVES to be king, determining the what, where, when, and how of our search

How does all of this compare to…

B) The Messiah’s Characteristics

Unlike the tyrant Herod, the Prophet Isaiah speaks to what the Messiah was going to be like…

i. Isaiah 9:6 — 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Who is the actual source of all power?

• Who is the true source of control, glory, and peace?

• Who is the only source of joy?

• The magi were looking for Him—are you?

Not only should we look for Him as the Source—Christ Himself calls us to come to Him…

ii. Matthew 11:28–30 — “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Would you believe me if I said THIS is what power looks like?

• THIS is what control looks like…

• THIS is what joy looks like…

And Jesus is the only source that can provide what we are searching for

The magi were convinced of this—are you?

*gospel – seek the Source

• Those who are already submitted to King Jesus…

We worship our King with great joy because….

II. He will shepherd His people

From the passage we just read, as well as our text for this morning, we see that…

A) He is a servant king

And as such…

i. Matthew 2:6 — ‘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.’ ”

ii. Micah 5:2 — 2 “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.”

B) He uses His authority to serve

In pursuit of the wrong source, Herod used the authority he had to deceive, consume, and destroy all those around Him

Jesus, the rightful King, would address this trend among those seeking another source with His disciples some time later…

i. Matthew 20:25–28 — But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

What did Jesus say: don’t be great!?

• Don’t pursue positions of authority!?

• Absolutely not—He demands His people be great and calls many to positions of authority

The only difference is when someone is pursuing greatness or exercising authority from the Source, it will look drastically different than those who are exemplifying the world…

Herod thought greatness came through marching his 36,000 into Jerusalem and conquering with an iron rod

• When in fact, the highest form of greatness was displayed when Jesus was abandoned by His 12 disciples and tortured to death on a cross

• What did Herod gain? A fickle kingdom gained through means he is now eternally suffering for

What did Jesus gain?

Philippians 2:8b-11 – he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

• Is there any higher greatness or authority than this?

• Likewise for the sheep of his fold, greatness is not attained through might, nor authority through oppression

But rather, we exemplify our Savior and practice true greatness when we ourselves become servants of all

Do you want to joyfully worship the King?

• Pursue Him as the magi did, and buy into His authentic form of greatness

In addition to his servant leadership as a Shepherd…we worship Him because

III. He is the legitimate/rightful King

Those detached from the Source will look everywhere for stability

Jesus refers to it as building a house upon sand, rather than the Rock

Elsewhere, He compares it to being a branch detached from the Vine

• What is He getting at with these illustrations?

• There is no guarantee of stability for those who are not in Christ

In fact, the guarantee goes the other way—those who have not submitted to Him as Lord / are not building their life upon Him / are not connected to Him as their Source WILL have chaos and instability

• But that isn’t the nature of Jesus’s Kingdom…

A) He was born King

We see this detail outlined in v 2…

i. Matthew 2:2 — “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.”

If you recall, how did Herod attain his status as king?

• Through brutal force

• How did Jesus attain His status as King?

He never WASN’T King…

Why is this an important note?

• Those in Jesus’s Kingdom never need to worry about the throne being usurped

• Because even when that baby lying in the manger of wood would eventually be hung on a cross of the same—He was still reigning as Lord and God and King, amen?

• The magi were not on a fool’s errand to win favor from a far away king, whose kingdom would eventually crumble

They were pursuing a Kingdom ruled by a King who’s reign would have no end

And…

B) He was authenticated by miracles (star)

Please don’t allow the endless nativity depictions to gloss this incredible passage over in your mind…

i. Matthew 2:9 — 9 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.

Can we even comprehend such an occasion?

A star guiding a group of 3 guys through the desert to the exact location of a baby

Let’s say this star was the nearest one to us: Proxima Centauri of the Alpha Centauri solar system

• Being 4.22 light-years away from us, if we were traveling the speed of Voyager (~10.8 mi/s), it would take us 73,000 years to get there

• But it could have been any star, any distance from us!

And this is the tool the Lord chose to use to lead them to Christ!

• *mockingly: “The science wouldn’t allow it!”

• DUH! Hence, miracle!

No wonder their response was…

Matthew 2:10 – When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

I’d be hard to overstate the level of joy they would have had, as they were being miraculously guided to the Source of all joy

Would anything stop you from following that star?

• When they arrive, we see that…

C) He is the fulfillment of God’s plan as He is from the Royal Line of David

i. John 7:42 — 42 “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”

D) Even Gentiles bow down before Him

A reminder of the events is found in v 11…

i. Matthew 2:11 — 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.

Historically, have the Gentiles been the good guys or bad guys throughout Scripture?

Bad guys—especially those who come from the EAST (a repeated theme in our passage this morning)—like Assyria and Babylon

People coming to Israel from the East would have meant the enemies of God are encroaching on His people

• And yet, God specifically and miraculously calls 3 heathen mystics from the East to Israel—but not in judgment

• He calls them to come and worship Him

• Friend—what is your default status before a holy and righteous God?

Romans 5:10–11 — For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

The magi, who were once God’s enemies, were following the star to the Source for the purpose of worshiping Him

Ephesians 2:13 — But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Have you found the Source?

Herod had every opportunity to enter into the joy of worshipping Jesus, King of the Jews

• But he found himself to be a better king

• I can tell you with confidence—he was sorely mistaken in his selection

Have you found the Source?

*Jesus as Shepherd recap

Have you found the Source?

*The magi as seekers recap

Authors

Stefan Nitzschke

Roles

Pastor of College Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S. - Management Information Systems, Iowa State University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Stefan has been serving on the pastoral team at Faith Church since 2016. He and his wife have a passion for discipleship and evangelism. They are the blessed parents of four carefree boys and one sweet girl. Stefan is certified as a biblical counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and is a board member of Faith’s Community Development Corporation.