Magi - Christ as the King of Kings

December 24, 2005 Matthew 2:1-12

Introduction:
1.  One of the great things about Christmas is opportunity it presents us to sing about our Savior – to remind us of the truths about Who He is and why He came
- one of the things about Christmas that has always amazed me is the different perspectives about this event that typically get presented this time of year:
Perspective = point of view
> the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance
Example:  The ‘controversy’ of the statements – “Season’s Greetings” and “Happy Holidays” – I don’t like either of those phrase because, from my perspective (which is right!), it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas – therefore, I say to people, “Merry Christmas”
> some people just do things to irritate you – example:  the pillow I received: “Happy Holidays”
2. It’s interesting to consider something (event, decision, etc.) through the eyes of another person
- when you do that – your perspective can change – that person brings to the “table of life” a different view of an event or a different response to a situation
3.  A few years ago in our ABFs we studied:
 Christmas Through the Eyes of Mary – the Instrument of Christmas
 Christmas Through the Eyes of Jesus – the Gift of Christmas
 Christmas Through the Eyes of the Father – the Giver of Christmas
4. This year, in our ABFs we studied:
 Christmas Through the Eyes of the Shepherds (how they RECEIVED the message)
 Christmas Through the Eyes of Herod (how he REJECTED the message)
5.  On this Christmas morning, our study takes us back to Matthew 2 – but from a different perspective:  Christmas Through the Eyes of the Magi (how they RESPONDED to the message)
> these were the men who asked the question in Matthew 2:  Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?
> please open your Bible to Matthew 2 [p. 1 of the back section of the bible under the chair in front of you, and p. 1200 of the Chinese Bible]
6.  This study ties in well with what Pastor Viars has been speaking on the last few Sundays:
• 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. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
[READ Matthew 2:1-12
- we’ll divide our study of this passage in to 3 parts:


1.  The Recognition of the King – 2:1-9


- Matthew 1 presents the royal genealogy of Jesus and His virgin birth which establishes Jesus’ clear right to the throne of David spoken of in Isaiah 9:6-7.
- Matthew 2 presents * 3 additional evidences of Jesus of Nazareth’s legitimate, unique, and absolute royal right to the throne of David:  MacArthur
A.  Testimony of the magi
- these were the men who came to give respect and gifts to the infant Jesus, i.e. “He who has been born King of the Jews” – v. 2  [Note: The events occurring about 1 yr after the actual birth of Christ]
“Because of their combined knowledge of science, agriculture, mathematics, history, and the occult, their religious and political influence continued to grow until they became the most prominent and powerful group of advisors in the Medo-Persian and subsequently the Babylonian empire. It is not strange, therefore, that they often were referred to as “wise men.”  MacArthur
- now, there is a lot of confusion and myth about this particular story in the bible
- during the Middle Ages legends developed that there were THREE (3) kings possibly connected to the gifts that were given:
 gold (which has been considered the most precious of metals and the universal symbol of material value and wealth),
 frankincense was a very expensive, beautiful smelling incense that was used only for the most special occasions
 myrrh which was also a perfume, not quite as expensive as frankincense but still considered valuable
- these men, how ever many there were, whatever their names were, whatever means of transportation they used, and whatever specific country they were from . . .
> the had “traveled a great distance to recognize and honor a King in whose coronation they had no part, a King far greater than any they had ever, or would ever, set on a throne.”
B.  Hostile response by Herod
- as we mentioned in our ABF series:  there are several “Herods” mention in the NT – this one is known as “Herod the Great,” and is the first of the several Herods
- Julius Caesar had appointed Antipater (Ann-tip-pa-ter), to be governor, of Judea under the Roman occupation.
> Antipater then managed to have his son, Herod, appointed a ‘king’ (over Galilee)
-  Serving as a king, Herod was successful in putting down the Jewish guerilla bands that continued to fight against their foreign rulers.
- but here’s an important point:  Herod was NOT a Jew
> in fact, Herod was an Edomite (or from Idumea – pronounced = Id –do – me –ah)
> which mean Herod was NOT a full-blooded Jew – he was a descendant of Esau!
- This pictures of the old struggle between Esau and Jacob that began even before the boys were born (Gen. 25:19–34 – summarize the struggle & why; it continues today!).
Bottom Line:  *  Herod had no legitimate claim to be a Jewish king – it was only a result of the Roman rule of that day!
“Herod’s devious scheme to discover and destroy this unknown baby shows his fear that the magi’s declaration about the Child could be correct, and gives unintended testimony to Jesus’ true royalty. Herod knew that he himself was a usurper to the throne on which he sat . . . He therefore feared and hated even the suggestion of a rival claimant. But even the hatred of the false king gave indirect testimony to the identity of the true King.”  MacArthur
C.  Four fulfilled prophesies
- for sake of time, I’m only going to mention that the 4 locations Matthew presents to us are 4 fulfillment of some 330 OT prophesies concerning Jesus Christ
- those locations specifically related to the birth of Christ and early childhood:  Bethlehem, Egypt, Ramah, and Nazareth
- the likelihood that 4 of those prophesies, let alone over 330 of them, were fulfilled ADDS the validity of (1) the sovereignty of God and (2) the reliability of His Word!


II.  The Response to the King – 2:2, 10-11


- v.2 tells us they
A.  Sought the King . . . they “saw His star in the east” and came to worship Him
- remember, the magi were not following the star
> the saw it, came to Jerusalem, then had to ask (saying – present tense – saying and keep on saying) about “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?”
- there’s almost as much speculation about the ‘star’ as there is about the magi
- Since the Bible does not specifically identify or explain the star, we cannot be dogmatic . . . but it may have been the glory of the Lord that these men saw
- Both the Hebrew and Greek words for star were also used figuratively to represent any great brilliance or radiance.
 Very early in the OT the Messiah is spoken of in:
• Numbers 24:17 “a star [that] shall come forth from Jacob”
 At the end of the NT He refers to Himself as:
• Rev. 22:16 “the bright morning star”
- There are other examples in other passages of something identical to this:
 Luke 2:9 – the same glory that shone around the shepherds when Jesus’ birth was announced to them by the angel
-  The OT tells us of God’s glory being manifested as light, God radiating His presence (Shekinah glory) in the form of indescribable light.
 Exodus 13:21 – The Lord guided the children of Israel through the wilderness by “a pillar of cloud by day … and in a pillar of fire by night” 
 Exodus 34:30 – On a later occasion, after Moses had inscribed the Ten Commandments on stone tablets, His face still glowed with the light of God’s glory when he returned to the people 
- whatever the star was or may have been – they men had come to Jerusalem for one purpose – to find the One “born King of the Jews” and “to worship Him”!
- after their conversation with Herod:
• Matthew 2:9 . . . 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.
Point: These men had genuine hearts that were seeking the King – hearts that the Lord promised will never fail to find Him:
• Jeremiah 29:13 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Q: What you looking for this Christmas? – a bunch of gifts, chocolate (which isn’t bad in and of itself)
Q: Are you looking for Jesus – the one born King of the Jews?
Q: Are you looking to establish a relationship with Him?
> Maybe that’s why He brought you here this morning – ‘today is the day of salvation’
> This could be the best Christmas you EVER have – if you come to know Christ as YOUR King!
- Maybe you know Him, but your relationship with Him is not so good – in your heart, your running FROM the King instead of running TO the King!
- look at verses 10 & 11:
• Matthew 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 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.
B.  Rejoiced because of the King
- they rejoiced over this King because they understood the nature of His kingship
- remember what Pastor Viars has been teaching to from Isaiah:
• 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; . . . 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
- All authority over us is cursed by sin – but not this King . . .
> He’s the King of Kings, Lord of lords – He’s the perfect // sinless // spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
- that ought to bring joy to our hearts – Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
C.  Worshiped the King – v. 11a
- it was by God’s grace that they were where they were – image, face to face with Jesus, God clothed in human flesh!
- Charles Wesley captured the experience in his beautiful Christmas hymn:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate deity;
Please as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel!”
- notice they worshipped Him – not His mother
- I loved the words to one of the songs in last weeks musical:
You’re the Wonder of my heart;
You’re the wonder of my soul;
You’re the Wonder of my life.
You’re the Wonder of the world;
You’re the wonder of all time;
You’re the Wonderful, Wonderful One!
- that attitude of worship lead to something else – a generous heart:
D.  Served the King – v. 11b
‘presented to Him gifts . . . ‘
- their seeking heart led them to worship, their worshipful heart led them to service!
- not only was this the King of King – He was prophesied as “Behold, My Servant”
Example:  Ish. 9:6 calls Jesus ‘the Wonderful Counselor’ - @ the Biblical Counseling Training Conference in Feb, 2006, we have an opportunity to impact/train other in the area of biblical counseling
> but we can’t do it without your help – refer to the bulletin insert “Servants Needed” (explain)
Q: What is your response to the King?
> Rejoicing that you know the King?
> Worshipping the King for Who He is and what He’s done in your life?
> Serving the King with whatever you have to offer?
-- OR are you still living in Gen. 3 – fig leaves/bushes/excuses/blameshifting
- if we could summarize this passage with the various perspectives it would be this: 
 Herod’s perspective: Hostile
 Chief priest and scribes:  Indifference
 Magi:  Worship
- what happened because of their RECOGNITION of the King and their RESPONSE to the King?


III.  The Reward from the King – 2:12


• Matthew 2:12 And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.
Q: What is the significance of that verse? – put it in the context of Herod
-  While he had some good qualities [sensitive to the needs of the poor during the Famine of 25 B.C.], he was NOT a godly ruler!
- Basically, * Herod was cruel and merciless – he was incredibly jealous, suspicious, and afraid for his position and power.
Examples: Fearing his potential threat:
(1) he had the high priest (Aristobulus), who was his wife’s (Mariamne) brother drowned –
(2) he then put on an elaborate funeral where Herod pretended to weep.
(3) He then had his wife killed, and then
(4) her mother and two of his own sons.
(5) 5 days before his death (about a year after Jesus was born) he had a third son executed.
• 1 John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Conclusion:
1.  The fact that He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, He has come once and He is coming again – does that motivate you to:
1)  Life characterized by Purity – living your life in the presence of the King
2)  Life characterized by Passion – living your life motivated by the glory of the King
3)  Life characterized by Productivity – living your life by serving for the King

• Philippians 2:9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 2:11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 


"Mary Did You Know"

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know..

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am.