150104 Matthew 2:1-12

Last Updated on Monday, 05 January 2015 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Matthew 2:1 – 12
Theme: Are You Wise?

I want to begin today with a trivia question: What is the highest ranking free app in the Apple Store right now? It is a game called "Trivia Crack". In this game, you compete against friends in answering trivia question in several different categories. While I haven't played it yet, those that have tell me that it is a very addictive game to play. One of the reasons I haven't started playing "Trivia Crack" is because I have never been that good at playing trivia games. How about you? Are you a wise person? I am not asking if you are a "wise guy". But rather, are you someone who likes trivia and is able to answer a lot of questions on a lot of different subjects? For our sermon today, as we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord, we are going to take a closer look at the visit of the Wise Men who came to visit Jesus and his family. The question for each one of us to answer is: Are YOU wise?

There are a lot of questions about the Wise-Men who came searching for the Christ-Child. Where did they come from? Were they kings or "Wise Men" who studied the stars for a living? How many were there? What were there names? These are questions that the Bible does not answer for us. What we are told is this:

"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.' When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he 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: "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."

Did you notice the different reactions to the question of the Magi, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?" Herod, a non-Jewish person, does not know the Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah. He only sees this child as a threat to his kingdom. Knowing that Herod would go to any lengths to protect his rule as king, including putting to death members of his own family, we are told that all the people of Jerusalem where also upset by this news. Rather than rejoicing that the King of kings and Lord of lords had been born, the people were afraid of how Herod might react to this news. The experts of the Bible knew the prophecy of Micah that the promised Savior would be born in Bethlehem. But notice that none of them went along with the Wise Men to find the Messiah. It is only these Gentiles, these non-Jews, who traveled a long distance as they lovingly searched for the Christ-Child.

How about you? Are you wise? By God's grace, most of us here this morning are not like King Herod. We know the Good News about Jesus' birth. But, are we ever guilty of being like the people of Jerusalem, and allow the things of this world to stop us from lovingly searching for the Christ-Child? Think about this for a moment: what was on your mind most this past Christmas? Was it, "I sure hope I get everything on my list this year!" Or maybe it was, "How are we going to pay for all the gifts we bought this year?" Are you and I ever like the chief priests and teachers of the Law, and ignore our God's Word? Far too easily we give in to the temptations to set our Bibles aside. We don't always read, study and take to heart the message of God's Word. You and I have a sinful nature that wants nothing to do with the Christ-Child. Our sinful condition, our sinful thoughts and attitudes make you and me guilty, and deserving of only the punishment of hell.

But the Good News that we celebrate during the Epiphany season of the Church Year is that Jesus came as the one and only Savior of all people. Jesus came for you and me. The Christ-Child came to pay in full the price for all your sins and mine. In love for you and me, Jesus searched for you and me, and brought us into the family of our Father in heaven. As King David writes in Psalm 139 "O LORD, you have searched me and you know me." Because our loving Savior-God searched for and found you and me, because our Father in heaven knows us as his children, in response we gladly and lovingly search for the Christ-Child as we spend time in his Word. Are you wise? Yes, the Lord God has made you wise through the power of his Word. In response to his great love for you, open your Bibles as you lovingly search for the Christ-Child.

As we look at the visit of the Magi, we notice that not only did they lovingly search for the Christ-Child, but when they found him, they joyfully worshipped him as well. We are told, "They went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh." Their long search for the Christ-Child had come to an end. Led by the Almighty Lord and the star he provided, they were now standing before the Promised Savior they had been told about. In joyful response, we are told that they worshipped him by offering him gifts of their treasures.

Are you wise? Do you always joyfully worship the Christ-Child? Think about your attitude as you came to worship today. Did you come with joy in your heart? Or did you come because someone made you come or because you felt you HAD to come? Think about the gifts that you place in the offering plate week after week. Do you give those gifts in joy, as part of your worship of the Christ-Child? Do you always give him your best treasures, or do you sometimes reluctantly give him whatever is leftover? Each one of us here today will confess that we have, at times, failed to be joyful worshippers of the Christ-Child. Because of that sin, you and I deserve to have our Lord God take away from us the treasures of heaven.

But in his great love for you and me, God the Father gave us his best – his one and only Son. Jesus came for you and me to pay in full the price for our sins. Jesus is the one who has freely given us the treasures of the forgiveness of all of our sins and eternal life with him in heaven. In joyful response to this Good News, you and I joyfully worship the Christ-Child. We look forward to the opportunities we have to come into God's house, because we know that this is where we are able to meet with our loving Lord face-to-face. We joyfully worship the Christ-Child as we give back to him our treasures. We joyfully give back to our Lord the best of our time, the best of our talents and the best of our money. As we sing in the words of the hymn:

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Are you wise? Perhaps you don't know every answer in the game Trivia Crack. But, by the grace of God, you and I do know "the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." The Good News of Christmas and the Epiphany season is that Jesus came to this earth for all people. Jesus came for you and me. Jesus won the forgiveness of all of your sins and made heaven your home. May this Good News of your Lord and Savior continue to fill your heart as each day you lovingly search for and joyfully worship the Christ-Child. Amen.

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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