Today, we’re concluding our Christmas series “Jesus the King.” At His birth, Jesus humbled Himself to be born as a servant. Yet, He came to this earth to die and be raised as King of Kings. One day, the Bible tells us, that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. We want to acknowledge Jesus as King and Lord in this life.
Our message today is entitled “Seek Jesus the King.” Jesus came to this earth seeking those who were far from God.
Luke 19:10 (ESV) For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
So, Jesus’ purpose in coming to this earth was to search for sinners who needed to be saved, and that includes every one of us. Yet, who does Jesus find and save? It is those who are also seeking Him. In fact, the Bible tells us that the ultimate purpose of every human being is to seek after God.
Acts 17:26-27 (ESV) And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
God created people to have a relationship with. He created you in a specific time and in a specific place that would prepare you to seek God. God wants every person to seek and find Him. He is not far from anyone, He is not hiding Himself. He is seeking to find you. And when the seeking God and person seeking to be found meet, through faith that person can be saved.
Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV) You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
God cannot be found with a casual seeking. He must be sought with everything a person has. Jesus told many parables about the diligence that people must seek the King and His kingdom with. And the seeking we are going to talk about today does not end with salvation. Salvation is not the end of seeking, but the beginning of a relationship with Jesus that will grow forever, as long as you keep seeking Him. Jesus put it this way in the familiar verse of …
Matthew 6:33 (ESV) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
The temptation is life is to seek all kinds of things other than the King and His kingdom. But when we put Him first in our seeking, then everything else falls into place.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the wise men or magi who came seeking Jesus. The first lesson that we can learn from them is to …
Matthew 2:1 (ESV) 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,
The Greek word for wise men in this verse is magos, from which we get the title Magi. The Magi were a famous class of astrologers and dream interpreters who served the Persian king. Their journey from Persia was around 900 miles and took a number of months. The wise men, undoubtedly had to take time to organize a large caravan of servants, guards and supplies to sustain them on the long journey through dangerous territory. Why did they make such a long and costly journey?
Matthew 2:2a (ESV) saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? …”
Amazingly, these wise men traveled this long distance seeking to meet a child born to be king of the Jews, the Messiah. As wise men, the magi were familiar with Old Testament prophecy. In fact, in the first century, there was a wide-spread expectation throughout the East, that a ruler would arise in Judea who would rule the world. Their quest to meet this new-born King signifies that Jesus would be King, not just of the Jews, but of the Gentiles and the entire world.
Matthew 2:2b (ESV) “… For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
As astrologers, the Magi believed that the stars foretold events, especially the rising and falling of kings. In fact, Balaam’s prophecy in Numbers 24:17 foretold the coming of the Messiah as a star coming out of Judah. Apparently, a new star arose in that night sky that caught their attention. For reasons we do not know, they deduced that this star was a sign that the king of the Jews had been born, the promised Messiah. They traveled to the capital city of Israel, Jerusalem, in order to find this new-born King and to worship Him.
The stories in the Bible are not there to simply entertain us, they are there to teach us. The Magi took a lot of time and expense to travel a great distance to seek King Jesus. In the same way, as we’ve already talked about, every person should take the time to seek to meet King Jesus. We will not meet Him physically, as a toddler, as the Magi did. Yet, we can meet Him just the same, spiritually, as we seek Him through faith. The Magi sought Jesus the King, not for what He could give them, but for what they could give Him. In these verses, we see that they came to give the King their worship.
What is worship? Worship is submitting your life and everything you have to the King. Worship is acknowledging that whatever the King commands, you will do. Worship is expressing your love, devotion and loyalty to the King. This New Year, be sure to take time to seek the King.
Matthew 2:3-4 (ESV) When Herod the king heard this, he 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.
Herod the Great was the king in Judea and had been appointed by the Romans. Herod was not a Jew, but an Edomite, who were perpetual enemies of the Jews. Thus Herod was certainly not a king of the Jews ordained by God. Herod brutally suppressed all opposition, including executing many members of his own family, as well as Jewish leaders. In order to gain the favor of the remaining Jewish leaders, he built the temple in Jerusalem, which was the ancient world’s largest and most magnificent temple. Herod and the Jewish leaders were troubled by the news from the Magi about the king of the Jews being born. Both Herod and the Jewish leaders saw this new-born king as a threat to their power and relationship with the Romans. Herod wanted to discover where the Messiah would be born, as he wanted to put him to death. Yet …
Matthew 2:5-6 (ESV) They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘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.’”
The Jewish scholars knew the details of the Old Testament and found the verse in Micah 5:2. The verse indicated that the ruler to come, the Messiah, would come from Bethlehem. We should note that Bethlehem was also the home town of the famous King David. The Messiah would be from lineage of King David. The prophecy makes clear that the ruler from Bethlehem would shepherd Israel at some point in the future.
Matthew 2:7-8 (ESV) Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained 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 have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
Now, that Herod had determined where the King had been born, he needed to discover when the star that announced his birth had appeared. The date that the star appeared would be the date the child had been born. Herod needed this information in order to determine the age of the child at that time. Contrary to our modern Christmas cards, the wise men and the shepherds did not see Jesus at the same time. The shepherds worshipping Jesus on the night of His birth. The wise men, came later, when Jesus was a toddler, 18 months to 2 years old. Herod wanted the child to be found, not to worship him, as he says, but to kill him. Yet, God would see that no harm would come to Jesus.
Many people are troubled by Jesus today. They are troubled for the same basic reasons that Herod was troubled. People are troubled because Jesus is a threat to their selfish way of life, living life the way they want. People are troubled because they do not want to submit to the commands and rule of King Jesus. People in churches are troubled when they hear something from God’s Word that they don’t want to obey. Unbelievers who are troubled by Jesus will often persecute believers as a way of getting back at God. Yet, as faithful believers, we are not troubled by King Jesus and His commands. We gladly choose to submit to His leading in our lives as we seek to know Him better.
Matthew 2:9-10 (ESV) 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
There has been much speculation about what this star was, such as a comet, a supernova or a conjunction of planets. Let’s look at what we know about the star from God’s Word. The star arose in the sky at the time of Christ’s birth. It seems that the star had vanished for a time, for these verses indicate that the rejoiced when they saw it again. Finally and most revealing is the fact that the star guided the wise men to the very house where Jesus was. These facts rule out all astronomical theories and point simply to supernatural guidance. In light of the many angelic appearances surrounding the birth of Christ, the star was probably angel. Angels are referred to as stars and guides multiple places in Scripture. God led the Magi some 900 miles to the very house where Jesus was living.
Matthew 2:11a (ESV) And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. …
Here you have some of the most important men of ancient time, falling down and worshipping a toddler, Christ the King. In the Bible, it is clearly taught that neither men, nor women, nor angels are to be worshipped. God alone is to be worshipped. Again, we see in the story, the affirmation of the worship of Christ the King, God in the flesh. Not only did the Magi worship Jesus the King …
Matthew 2:11b (ESV) … Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Old Testament prophecies spoke of the nations of the world honoring the Messiah. With the visit of the Magi and the offering of their treasures to Him, we see these prophecies beginning to be fulfilled. Although not mentioned in Scripture, the symbolic meaning of the gifts has been noted by many interpreters. Gold represents His kingship, frankincense His deity and myrrh His sacrificial death and burial. Later on in the chapter, we see brutal King Herod ordering the murder of all male children in Bethlehem under the age of two. His attempt to kill the Messiah. Joseph was warned by an angel in a dream and escaped with his family to Egypt. The gifts of the wise men provided for the family in their stay in a foreign country.
Just as God desired the Magi to find Jesus, so He desires you to find Him in an ever deepening relationship this coming year. As believers, we are to continually seek to follow Jesus more and more closely. All the treasures that we have in our lives come from God. Our treasures are our time, finances, strength, family, wisdom, dreams and so on. As the Magi did, we are to lay those treasures at Jesus’ feet and submit them to His purposes in 2018. Although we give our tithes and offerings to Jesus through the church, the rest of our treasures are not ours to do with as we please. Everything we have is a gift from God, to be used for His purposes in the New Year.
So, today, the last Sunday and the last day of 2017, we look forward to the New Year of 2018. The most important resolution you can make for the New Year is to make it a year of seeking Jesus the King as you never have before. Jesus promised that if we seek Him, we will find Him. Jesus the King is the greatest treasure and He will those who truly seek Him, find Him in new and refreshing ways.