December 10 - Witnesses of the Messiah: Wise Men
Prepare for Sunday morning worship using the guide below.
This Sunday Bryan Launer will continue the class on Understanding the Heart in the youth room at 10:00am. This class explores what Scripture says about the heart, why it's so important, and how you can better understand your own heart and help others. Ray Rutledge and Bo Pritchard will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project (currently going through the New Testament).
1Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Our second witness to the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, are wise men (or magi) from the east. The tension in the passage is clear: The nation of Israel that had been waiting, reject Jesus' coming, while the Gentiles rejoice and worship him as king. We see that knowing about the Messiah is not the same as knowing him and loving him. Worship marked by joy, sacrifice, and humility is modeled by the wise men. We also see that God's goal in sending Jesus is that the Messiah was for all nations. Matthew makes this abundantly clear in that the first worshippers are Gentiles. Christmas offers hope to the world.
Review and Apply
How have modern Christmas celebrations about the 'three' wise men distorted the real event?
How does antagonism or apathy seep into your spiritual lives? How is this a warning to us?
How does your worship mirror that of the magi?
How does Matthew point to Jesus' kingship?
What does this passage say to God's intention in the world?