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December 19, 2020 3:00 am
The Star of Bethlehem was more than cosmic wonders, its presence actually convinced, wise men from the yeast to take a long journey today on Truth for Life weekend.
Alister beg explains who those sojourners were and how their journey to Jesus reveals what God's ultimate purpose is for men and women from every nation to first one now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 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. When Herod the king Herod that she was troubled and all Jerusalem with him and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They told him in Bethlehem of Judea for so it is written by the prophet, and you will Bethlehem in the land of Judah. I by no means least among the rulers of Judah for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.
Then Herod summoned the wisemen secretly and ascertain from them what time the star had appeared and he sent them to Bethlehem saying go and search diligently for the child and when you found him, bring me word that I too may come and worship him.
After listening to the king. They went on their way. 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 when they saw the star they rejoice exceedingly with great joy 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 of gold and frankincense and never being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. Amen.
While I gave her title to our study this morning. Simply a journey to Jesus. Here we have the record as given to us by Matthew of the arrival of the Magi, the Magi, a word that is translated variously here in our text, the wisemen and it is a record of how they had made a journey to seek out the one who was born the King of the Jews and found themselves face-to-face with the Lord Jesus. The whole purpose of God is to bring men and women face-to-face with his dearly beloved son so that we then may come to know him as a Savior, Lord and friend, and that's why in the Bible we read consistently of those whose journey to Jesus was life-changing. Whether short or long that may help us to understand just why it was so far away from these events in Jerusalem, something was brewing. If you like in the hearts and minds of these people there. They wear the three kingdoms as the as Hopkins gives them to us in his in his Christmas Carol was a wonderful Christmas Carol but full of a lot of things that we can be confident about every sample we we have no way of knowing whether they were kings, and there's no way of knowing that there were actually three fighter there were three gifts the good of all brought the same gifts appear to be in 12 of them, all bringing the same gift. We don't know that either you don't know what their names were James Taylor and his little song going home by another way helps is a little more heat. He begins his song that those magic man.
The Magi some people call them wise or oriental. Even kings.
Well anyway, these guys I got these guys who are these guys.
There's so much mystery that surrounds it together so much clarity that is given to us, which takes as you know, into the realm of conjecture. For example, even in the Carol that we have just song we have these men borrowing in a manger bad when clearly is the text makes clear, they were there were some distance now from the manger and is highly unlikely that this little boy was close to two years of age would have actually been snuggled up in inattentive kind of manger scene. I don't want to disavow you of all your happy thoughts and feelings about them and you're feeling bad now because you gave one of those dreadful Christmas cards and people with the with the cadence on the front. But that's okay you can fix it next year. I want to just make three simple observations are not going to delve into this text in the way that we've done before. I want just to consider with you what I'm going to refer to as an unexplained compulsion and then an unexpected destination and then what we might refer to as an unrestrained reaction and unexplained compulsion were not told what compelled these individuals to make the journey that they did. I'm thinking now about an inner compulsion thing about that which is going on inside of a person.
The Bible says you know who knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of a man that is in them. And so it is it is difficult for us to say just exactly what it was that moved them and drove them in terms of internal conviction and compulsion what we do know is what we are told and that is that they had a fascination with the cosmos as such was their background and their Saturday and their interest in this star as it is referred to, and if I may say II take this as a miraculous phenomenon provided by God for a specific context involving these individuals. I know what is written about the could of been this and it could've been that and it could have been the next thing so very interesting that it doesn't add anything. At least for me for my simple mind to the story.
I see it much along the lines of the shining light that was brighter than the noon day sun to which Saul of Tarsus refers that it was like Sean on me that that that was just made a radical impact so you know, pursue it as you wish, but I'm thinking that this particular phenomenon provided by God was in order to guide them on their way were told that who are these individuals strictly speaking, they're not astrologers nor are they astronomers I think the best thing we can say about them is that they are scientists in the best kind of science that they are scientists.
If you like with a theological bent with a philosophical interest there scientists along the line of, for example, Sir Isaac Newton. If you read of Newton you know that he was a godly man. He was devout. He was interested in the Bible and concerned how it would be that his own convictions regarding faith would then manifest themselves in his scientific investigations and discoveries, and these particular individuals along those lines were apparently combining their interest in if you like the cause loss with a knowledge that they have received from somewhere of messianic expectations so that because of the way their minds work. He saw that the movements of the spheres were directly related to events that took place on the air so that these cosmic and manifestations governed in their minds or at least influenced human life and history that we need and step back from that on Julie because God is given to us by way of creation, a revelation of himself uses creation in order to guide and to direct our steps.
The psalmist tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God of the firmament shows his handiwork. So here are these individuals gazing opposite where into the skies.
They are putting together the pieces of the puzzle in their own mind and if the general perspective is accurate, namely that these individuals hailed from an modern-day geography and rack or in ancient geography Persia or Babylonia or even possibly Babylon. The city of Babylon itself, then that will help is at least to get an inkling of how it might be that I would've that kind of context they would have this kind of interest that this compulsion would begin to form within because you will remember that it was to Babylon that Daniel and his friends were taken when the invasion had come and hold away my any of the brightest and the best and put them in captivity in that environment.
You will remember as Shadrach me shack and Abednego along with Daniel, where then we schooled they were reprogrammed they were reeducated they were renamed and coming out of that process. Daniel emerged as essentially the brightest of the group and when we read that in the book of Daniel, we realized that he was head and shoulders among above his peers in being able to interpret dreams and to explain riddles and in that great scene. He explains to Nebuchadnezzar who had been destabilized by this vision that he'd had of a kind of crumbling kingdom that was impacting him dreadfully and Daniel had explained to him that the God who created the cosmos was the guard who was going to say the king on the throne that King would rule over an everlasting kingdom, and Daniel. You see brought to that his own knowledge of the Bible his own knowledge of the Old Testament.
After all, been brought up as a Jewish boy within the whole and his mom and dad presumably must've wondered what the world will love happen to them. Now that he's been taken away the reeducated and they've given him another name they dress them in different clothes. He's no longer in the safety and the security of the world that we created for Daniel was able to draw on that which had been given to them in his boyhood and he knew the oracle of Baylon, which, in part, conveyed the fact that a star shall come out of Jacob and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.
And so when he spoke in his day. He spoke concerning these things while you say so far so good but I was a long long time before these fellows arrived on the scene because Daniel was what 606 05 BC is for you know things have a way of life than the long, long time, dumping or so you think about the impact of what Daniel and his friends had done and the lingering aspects and benefits of that in the kingdom. I actually was a lie. My imagination to wonder and it is just my imagination. I was wondering whether there was actually a course being offered in the University of Babylon at the time of these magi and that they had been part and parcel of it. They were dealing in contemporary studies, but they said you know we going to offer this course. Once again, is called the science the sovereignty and the signs of Daniel and their contemporary relevance and perhaps they signed up and they paid attention. Perhaps that was part and parcel of what triggered it for them. Of course they wouldn't of been in the class themselves.
There would've been others there.
It's hard to imagine that they were the only ones who understood these matters. How do we come to this inner compulsion that that causes them to take care the coalescing of of these notions of messianic expectation and cosmic interplanetary activity and say to one another.
You know what I did was shoot we should follow the star as some civil we don't know what is going to take is yes, but I think to be a good idea to go. Everyone else stayed at home with what's happening here. You see, God is a great God God is seeking worshipers. God is able and willing to employ all kinds of situations, circumstances selling in order to move those upon whom he has set his love in the direction of his dearly beloved son, and what you really have here is God accommodating himself to these individuals. Scientific quest their intellectual curiosity. At the same time their limited understanding seeks when a journey towards Jesus begins in May begin way way way far away from Jesus as the person may begin not with a star in the sky, but it may begin with a blood test report may begin with the achievement of a great objective that held such amazing prospect. And yet when taken hold of the wood there was nothing actually there was like grasping up a bubble. God uses all kinds of things creates within man and inner compulsion, unexplained. Secondly, in the text itself, we realize that they arrive at what we can legitimately refer to as an unexpected destination and unexpected destination right up until this week. I have always imagined that the wisemen rolled into town, as it were, and and headed immediately for Herod's palace and that may well be the case but as I read it again. I realize it is possibly not the case because they're not summoned until verse seven. Now of course they could have been present gone away and were re-summoned. Of course this is not a man or a plane thing, but it is equally possible that what happened was they had arrived. Now in Jerusalem and their presence would've been felt and there inquiries would've been reported and the word would've reached the royal court that there is a group of folks here magi and their going around the Jerusalem and their asking where is he was been born king of the Jews divert some story about a star that they been following for quite a while response to this on the part of he who is the king, King Herod you is been put in position by the Romans. Although he is not from the line of David. He's Indonesian he's paranoid. He's already had one of his wife's killed a couple of his children to.
He's not a person to be toyed with. He lives in the fear that accompanies such paranoia and as a result of that when he hears this. Matthew tells us he was troubled the verb actually means. He was inwardly shaken and he was upset well after all if you think about it. If this was to take hold. If this notion was to spread if there were to be an uprising. Then his own position would be in jeopardy.
So he needs to get to the bottom of it and assembles all the chief priests and the scribes of the people. Verse four is is question is straightforward. I need to know where the Christ was to be born is not asking the question, do you think is going to be a Messiah. Does anyone have any ideas about the possibility the idea of a Messiah, no, no, no, no he says I need to know where the Messiah is to be born.
What what how do we know the answer to this well fellows that is straightforward. Micah gives us the answer.
With a little piece of second Samuel thrown in their in Bethlehem of Judea. This is what was anticipated by the prophets quite interesting, isn't that at a star could get them so far but couldn't get them all the way there now. You may use your whatever whatever started you off on your journey, or wherever you are on your journey.
You tell me you had a dream or something happen like that.
I'll know whether God is working it.
If and when he brings you to the Bible and brings you to his son if he doesn't bring it to the Bible and bring you to his son and it's probably more to do with pizza the night before that, it is with any kind of divine intervention because the purpose of God the Spirit of God is given to God's people to draw God's world to God's son. That's how it works so the star may lead them along the way as it does accommodating himself to their scientific endeavors, but eventually brings them here in the answer that is to be found is the answer that is found in the Scriptures and the answer that is given by the people who know these are the theological scholars of the day. These are the ones who study the law of God, and they are the ones who give a definitive answer.
No, don't let us miss that the contrasted is here.
Here we have these fellas at work regarding his kind of theological scientists who are arriving without great concern to get an answer to this search and here in the precincts of the palace. We have the scholars in the scholars unseen remotely concerned about the scientists.
If you like care, but I don't have answers the scholars have the answers but they don't care.
The Magi travel 800 miles in search of an answer. The scribes aren't interested in going 6 miles down the road. Bethlehem to meet the answer was Astellas. Well, it tells a number of things, but at least this the fundamental mistake. For these individuals.
The theological boys the biblical boys.
The fundamental mistake lay in confusing a knowledge of the Scriptures with saving faith in the one all of whom the Scripture speak okay so the fight that we know certain things about the Bible.
The fact that we may become Orthodox in our convictions regarding things that we may be able to answer questions by going chapter and verse to somebody who said where was this Messiah supposed to be bought or we can savor the scribes what was written.
Micah chapter 5 in verse two and in Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it was spoken so on. People say what is that mean to you soon, nothing much you mean you know all the answers we've never met, the answer that's what we find here the contrast between knowing about the Savior and actually knowing him.
That's an eternally significant distinction from part one of a message titled the journey to Jesus listing to Truth for Life weekend with Alastair back if today's message has left you wondering about whether or not you met the answer to whom Alastair referred we want to invite you to learn more about what it means to follow Christ go to TruthforLife.org/story where you can watch a helpful video presentation that explains how Jesus death on the cross frees us from sin and grants us salvation if you're a regular listener to Truth for Life. You know, our goal is to provide you with clear Christ focused Bible teaching every day of the year that the reason is we believe Scripture is the very word of God and that its truth is unchanging and without error, and it's our passion to proclaim this message as far and as wide as possible. It's also our desire to provide you with books that will help you and your family grow in your faith. So today we want to recommend to you a book that will give you a fresh focus for 2021. It's called exploring the Bible together. It's a family devotional that takes you through selected readings from Genesis all the way to Revelation and one year now.
Don't let that intimidate you. This scheduled plan only calls for reading a few verses each day. This is perfect for parents who are busy, but still want to leave the family, and quality time in God's word each day with minimal prep. Find out how you can request your copy of the book exploring the Bible together today by either tapping on the image you see on the mobile app or by visiting Truth for Life.org. Finally, I will extend you a warm invitation to join Alastair Begg on Christmas Eve.
Alastair will lead a Christmas Eve worship service live from Parkside church on Thursday, December 24. This is a wonderfully moving service that includes Scripture reading Carol's time of reflection by Alastair.
You can watch it online the Truth for Life.org/live or on our YouTube page, or through the Truth for Life channel on all streaming TV devices.
Learn email@example.com I'm Bob Lapine. Thanks for joining us today sure to listen again next weekend for the conclusion of our message titled journey to Jesus. Find out what happens with the wise men finally arrive at their destination. The Bible teaching of Alastair Begg is furnished by truth for like for the Learning is for Living