“That’s the Good Stuff”
Country Christmas Week Four
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Pastor Kris Freeman
Scripture: Luke 2:1-12 (NLT)
2 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” 3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: 6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” 9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
Who were the wise men who came to see Jesus?
The original Greek translation calls them magos (or MAGI), which are foreign sorcerers or wise men from a distant land. The only other time it’s used in the Bible is the false prophet and sorcerer met by Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13.
The tradition about this story:
There were three wise men (actually, there were three GIFTS)
They came at Jesus birth (actually, they had a long distance to travel)
They were from the Orient (actually, east could mean Arabia or Persia)
The likely truth about this story:
They found Jerusalem before they went to Bethlehem, they were “looking”
They were used in an attempted trap by King Herod to find and kill Jesus
They followed the star as a result of prophecies and wise sayings
The wise men FOILED the plan of Herod and then Jesus – a young child, not a newborn, was taken to Egypt to flee with Joseph and Mary.
At Christmas, we give gifts to others. The Magi brought gifts to Jesus.
Very seldom was a visit paid to a royal sovereign WITHOUT a present.
1. Gold – a token of his royalty, value of worth and material significance
2. Frankincense – a token of his divinity and a projection to the death of Christ as it was an incense burned during sacrificial offerings
3. Myrrh – a token of his humility and sufferings, used in perfuming ointments and showing the human nature of Christ
Combined, they all three show the GOOD STUFF.
In the gifts offered to Jesus by the wise men, they were representative of Jesus the Man, the Jesus the Savior and Jesus the King, the Son of the Living God.
What does the gift that God gave to the world mean to you?
How you worship God may depend on what KIND of gift you perceive him to be!
I worship God because he is GREAT.
I worship God because he is THE REDEEMER of my sin.
I worship God because he was tempted in all points JUST LIKE ME and yet remained sinless as the Savior of the World.
Pick your gift, but in all three, he’s THE GOOD STUFF.