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January 27, 2021 7:05 am
For 2000 years, well-meaning people have been writing songs and telling stories about the very first response in doing so. Sometimes the artists and writers have taken the liberty with the facts and over time traditional renditions of the Christmas story actually morphed into fallacy today on Insight for living.
Chuck Swindoll helps us set the record straight, especially as it pertains to false ideas about the guiding star. The three Kings. Even the journey to Bethlehem. Chuck is teaching from Matthew chapter 2 titled today's message wisemen wicked men and us is now the manager who were these magical changes, though they were people of great respect they represent. So the legend that they were the three sons auroral representatives of the three sons of Noah hit squad is often pictured in nativity scenes as dark skin as an Ethiopian. The truth is all we know for sure is what we find here in the second chapter of Matthew, everything else is assumed is not based on the Scriptures were never told there were three there were never called Kings and by the way, it is never revealed the mode of transportation, though there always shown on campus. Most likely they came from the Persian Empire. They were skilled in philosophy, ancient medicine and natural science. They were keenly interested in the star's most of the Magi were students of astronomy, which often led them into astrology notice. They saw his star from wherever they were.
I'm intrigued about the star because they saw that star when they first became aware of the birth of the king of the Jews, but they don't see the star again until there wondering where he is and it appears notice over Bethlehem. Nothing in Scripture says they followed it all the way to Jerusalem and how do they know to come to what the Romans called Palestine, which I think is a crucial question. How would they know in Persia, that the king of the Jews is born way over there in Israel during a period of time in history you will find this fascinating. There was widespread expectation of the coming of one who would be a great deliverer, a great King.
All that is fascinating information, though it is not set forth clearly in the Scriptures. It does make sense. That helps explain how those living in the East would be aware of a king, born west of them and would explain the reason for interpreting the brightness of the star. Perhaps I should return.
Tell you what I believe about the star I believe it is evidence of the glory of God. I believe it is in the heavens, and evidence of the glory of God finds its appearance at the time of his birth, and then later at the place of his location when they go looking for. Now that look at the passage of Scripture.
They wanted to know where is the newborn King of the Jews. Herod didn't know he was not aware of this information. He didn't know the Scriptures, but he had with him counselors who did study the Scriptures so he was deeply disturbed when he heard this, why because he's insanely jealous he's suspicious of anyone who would become king in his place. So King Herod calls for his counselors and says to ask them where where is he supposed to be born.
Notice they knew they knew their Bible. That is the Old Testament and the quote from Micah chapter 5 verse two. Look at this it Bethlehem in Judea, they said, for this is what the prophet wrote. Now that the prophet they're able to quote him you will Bethlehem in the land of Judah are not least among the ruling cities of Judah for ruler will come from you, who will be the shepherd of my people Israel. They knew the prophecy.
So the quoted now watch closely, Herod called for a private meeting with the wisemen. This is never discussed it in any story about about the wisemen and there is a very important part of he calls them together at the public is invited. It's a private gathering and we notice he learned from them. The time for the first star appeared. If you could read the sentence in the Greek you would read words like exactly the time he wanted to know precisely when did you first see that star. What's the big deal he's determining the age of the child or attempting to they think back over the star first appeared. They want to know where is the child mother were here, he was to know when did you see the star he told him after they had answered were the start with the star first appeared. He told them go to Bethlehem, which he learned about from his counselors search carefully for the child assent a similar sentence appears hear another word carefully, or exactly make sure you find the trial and once you find him come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him to you and I know as we read this that that was a ruse that was deceitful. If you want to worship them see him so greatly would have gone with them but he doesn't. He's making his plan for killing and so he says to them with deceitful motive. You go ahead and you can find him and then come back through here in and tell me where he is and I too will then go and worship. Please observe now the star comes back it that the one they had seen in the densely guided them throughout their journey, but said that guided them to Bethlehem so I take it that the brightness appears in the when ahead of them stopping over the place where the child was that is a beautiful scene and I don't want to be pedantic about this.
I want you to let this land with full force. These and who have traveled some of said over a thousand miles is the trick majority geographically. Certainly it was hundreds and hundreds of miles traveled, believing that the king was born. They have come all the way they've gone through the interview with Herod now come to the house. We don't know where the houses today.
It cannot be located.
We don't even over the EN is the wall kinds of traditional places are mentioned that we simply know that they arrived and verse 11, they enter the oil costs the house and they saw the child by Dion, not the infant in a manger maybe was by no walking. He certainly isn't an infant held in arms because of all the time it took between they saw that when they saw the star in the time it took to get there as they travel to the end of the house and saw the child with his mother Mary. Notice carefully. Matthew regards the up the birth of the Savior, not his father. His father is God himself. The mother of this earth is Mary and please observe instantly realizing who he is. Their response is they bow down and they worshiped him they didn't worship her memory is never to be worshiped.
The worship of Mary is called Marriott 20 it came as a part of religious teachings really can be traced back, even beyond that to idol worship to worship anyone other than God is an idol is to worship an idol for the thing worship is living or dead, or lifeless altogether.
They do not worship her. They worship him following the worship for however long that lasted the opened their gifts and thankfully tradition has maintained this correctly. First they brought gold how much we don't know, but this was of inestimable value. Practically speaking, stop and think this is a gift for royalty. Most royal problems have gold most Royal crowns are marked by gold. It is a precious metal of metal in me DAL metal 14 a.m. ET AL I'm better in history than I am and spelling are an IME TAL so the pressure script. Something about they will soon have to escape for Egypt because Herod is out to kill the children will read that next time.
Their presence barely able to make it to Bethlehem with his salary. How can they ever get to Egypt is a long ways from Bethlehem.
The use the gift of the gold to help finance their trip there in their time as they stayed there. Please observe.
They also brought Frank and sent costly oil is sometimes referred to as an armored. It's a lovely aromatics of fragrance. Sometime it comes in oil form sometime in a gum form but they brought that to him how much were not told, but this is what a priest would use in the worship in the temple and back in the tabernacle incidents would be used.
Frank incense was one of the of the incidents they would use it was for the four priest Jesus Christ our king gold, Jesus Christ, our high priest, frankincense, and then they brought her was used for the embalming of the body's as you know the person died in that era. It was wrapped like a mummy and long strips of cloth and aromatic spices were tucked in to cover the smell of a decaying body until it's placed in the tomb, and even after that murder was one of those used. He was the one who came to die.
I like all the rest of us who come to live Christ's great goal of arriving was to reach the destination for which he was sent and that was death on the cross, which explains while hanging on the cross he would utter the words it is finished, we would say. Mission accomplished. Gold reached another given murder, which was a reminder of the death that he was to die for something I've never seen written up and I've never read from anyone else. So take it for whatever it's worth a look at verse 12 when it was time to leave were not told when were not told how long they stayed. When it was time to leave. They return to their own country and another route by another route. Why, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod, so they had spent the night there.
I know why that seemed humorous to me but I'm not always seen in Sentinel and camels like there there forever on Dumping the goods and walking away. Now they get down and there worshiping their bowing down there with him for a period of time. They may have slipped there in the house. They may slip near the house, but they had to have slipped that dream and this is the first of other destination dreams that will read about next time. That proved to be of great importance to the safety of the Christ child would love to go into this further, but I think that's that's far enough.
Let's examine the responses because of the same responses today. First I find in the account of these 12 versus indifference versus indifference found here. Well, how about these whom Herod called together the leading priests and the teachers. Your ears may read high priest your Sadducees or whatever the official title. These are the religious teachers of all teachers of religious law.
They know exactly where he was, but they didn't go to worship. They they were busy about learning the Scriptures, but it made no difference to them. They were involved in all kinds of things. It was about as exciting as an afternoon yawn to them as it is for some of you who have been through years of one Christmas after another. You could pretty well tell the story what is never made that much difference in your life. Maybe it's because so much is happening around us that occupies us and makes us indifferent came across the words of Dr. Bob Moorehead retired pastor near Seattle who wrote of our times. We now have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints we spend more, but have less we buy more but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences yet. Less time we have more degrees, but less common sense. More knowledge but less judgment, more experts yet more problems we have more gadgets but less satisfaction, more medicine, less wellness, we take more vitamins but we see fewer results. We drink too much smoke too much sprint to recklessly left too little drive too fast, get angry too quickly stay up too late. Get up too tired and we read to seldom watch TV too much and pray to little Wonderware indifferent got all his other stuff to keep up with none of which satisfies that is become your lifestyle, you're going to miss the whole thing for this next course it'll be just another season of the year.
Just another nativity scene just another group of magi who come for the purpose of worship. But the question is will you worship and if not why not it.
Maybe you got a step further. It is not just in different you may not be the monster he was, but you may feel downright hostile regarding this whole message of Christianity is a growing group of people like that in their publishing more and more Douglas Sean O'Donnell writes of one of them. Christopher Hitchens is his name, who has written, God is not great in that book, he describes the four Gospels as being full of contradictions.
In fact, he makes the statement, they could not. They could agree on anything significant. I found that amazing because they did agree that Christ was born of a virgin, all of them. They did agree that his crucifixion was crucial. They did agree on the cross. They did agree that he was literally modeling raise from the dead, they did agree on these major things in addition to his self-contradictory statements. Many of his assertions he to be driven by ungrounded hostility. Listen to this. Hitchens writes the doings and sayings of Moses and Abraham and Jesus are so ill-founded and so inconsistent as well as so often in moral. He refers to the Christian practice of teaching our children.
These truths of our faith is child abuse is a whole chapter given to that the first account of hostility is surprising and then as O'Donnell writes, I thought to myself, if God doesn't exist or Jesus wasn't the son of God. Why make a big fuss.
Why write a book against religion. People believe in far crazier things than our religion.
Why attack Christianity.
Why do these so-called scientists as many of them are attacked the fee that has thus far produced the world's greatest scientists and mathematicians the likes of Newton and Pascal. Then I remembered that an intelligent person only attacks what he knows to be a real threat to his way of thinking and more importantly, his way of living and Jesus poses such a threat. Maybe you find yourself, and I know you're in the minority in this gathering. But you may find yourself hostile to some of this teaching. Because Jesus is become a threat.
He has his way, you're going to be dethroned from your own life, it will revolve around you. You will live your life continually concerned about those who will outdo you and I would urge you this Christmas season to set aside your hostility. Let the facts speak for themselves and come like the wisemen do what wise men and women still do bow down and worship him who is the king of all who call themselves king and Lord over all who will try to make you think there Lawrence will have a run to great Christmas Carol for you. You can change it to weed two Kings.
But the poetry won't work because there the other king, not the ones that arrived you could sing week three magi but we don't know it's threes you can sing we doesn't wisemen it won't ride so just stay with. We three Kings and understand that the pastor who wrote that meant well. He was after all an Episcopalian.
It's just Joe is testing so relax.
Don't write me. I love that Kerala sing it every Christmas we three Kings of Orient are bearing gifts. We traverse far field in fountain war and mountain following yonder star.
I'm not sure the phone*wonders starlight star with royal beauty, bright, westward, leading, still proceeding, guide us to eat like Savior, Christ the Lord, bow with me please let me address you who would yawn a lot of this you're feeling indifferent about it you got so much to keep up to. After all your big concern is buying that new phone are that next gadget, or that whatever you call her new clothes, all of which will be burned up with his kingdom comes turn to him now. You're surrounded by those who have trusted in him.
Even though there are more things we don't know than those things we do know with the things we do know we place our trust. We know he died for us. We know he lives to make our life meaningful and purposeful. We know that only he can take away our guilt and shame only. He is worthy of our worship, not his mother, not the wisemen only he is worthy to be praised trust him now what you write where you're sitting believe on the Lord Jesus, you will be born again except our worship. Our father as sincere as the Magi of ancient days it was the same curiosity they had a willingness to go wherever he is, to seek him. Whatever he may represent and to release to him our treasures and to bow down to fall before him, and none other. As our Lord Jesus Christ will post today, for whom this sounds strange wherever they may be. Whatever may be their circumstance bring them to their knees as they give their hearts to Jesus in his name we pray every once you're listening to Insight for living Chuck Swindoll titled today's message wisemen wicked man and us. It's just one part of the larger 24 message study of Matthew chapters 1 to 7 called the king's arrival to learn more about this ministry. Visit us email@example.com Matthew, the New Testament writer tells the story of Israel's king from his arrival in Bethlehem.
Through his earthly ministry all the way to the great commission in which he commanded us to make disciples around the world in order to make the most of this brand-new teaching series from Chuck. We're inviting you to add swindles living insights commentary on Matthew to your personal collection. The commentary comes into hardbound volumes in the written in a style that's easy to understand and the format is simple to navigate Chuck's practical insight conversational style and humor bring the warmth and accessibility rarely found in commentaries and these are excellent reference books that belong in the library. If anyone is a student of the Bible you'll be pulling them off the shelf and looking up details for years to come. To purchase swindles living insights commentary on Matthew go to Insight.org/store if you prefer you can call us if you're listening in the US dial 1-800-772-8888 Insight for living ministries is a nonprofit organization fueled not by the purchase of commentaries but through the voluntary donations of grateful supporters and we're grateful for the loyal friends who come alongside us with your generous donations. Our friends and families are facing complicated cultural issues today in men and women all over North America and around the world are looking to Insight for living, for biblical clarity and direction to help us continue to give a donation today through a convenient mobile app can also give a donation by calling us if you're listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 four.
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The preceding message wisemen wicked men and does is copyrighted 2014 and 2021 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2001 by Charles Arsenault. All rights are reserved. One duplication copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly