Malankara World

Christmas Sermon - The Birthday of Jesus

Worship Christ, the New-Born King

by Brian Evans

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-23

Last week we looked at an important aspect of Jesus’ mission to seek and save the lost. We looked to the passage in 2 Corinthians where Paul declares that Jesus made Himself poor for us so that by His poverty, we might become rich. We looked at the fact that Joseph and Mary offered the poor person’s offering in the Temple.

This, however, is only part of the picture of Jesus. If we were to stop with last week’s message and that’s all we discovered about Jesus then it would be like a portrait only half painted. Today, we’ll do some more painting and discover that Jesus is also King.

From His birth, He has caused division. His person has caused division and His Kingdom has caused division. Even today, this division is seen. Either you love Christ and submit to His Lordship or you rebel and resist His Lordship. Your reaction to Jesus’ authority as King is a manifestation of the condition of your heart.

In the Gospel of Matthew we have set up for us a comparison of hearts. We see Herod’s jealous heart, the Scribe’s indifferent hearts, and we see the Magi’s worshipping hearts. In the process, we are challenged to examine our hearts to see what our response is to this new-born-King.

Matthew 2:1-23 (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, [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.

[23] Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” [14] And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt [15] and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

[16] Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. [17] Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

[18] "A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more."

[19] But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, [20] saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” [21] And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. [22] But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. [23] And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: "He shall be called a Nazarene."

1. Jesus' Kingship Foretold

Matthew has just declared for us in chapter 1, Christ’s nature and name. He is sinless, He is Savior, He is God with us. Now he sets before us the fact that Jesus is also King.

Jesus is King and He is the King foretold in scripture. So to have His authority solidly displayed and seen Matthew wants us to see that this New-Born King has always been in God’s plan and has been foretold in the OT.

-Out of Egypt

Matthew does a wonderful job in expounding the OT prophecies concerning Jesus and His life.

[15] and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

This is a prophecy found in Hosea 11:1 in which Hosea very clearly refers to the Exodus. God led His people out of Egypt and God leads His only Son out of Egypt. Matthew picks up on the typology and authoritatively shows us that the Hosea passage finds its final fulfillment as the New Moses who leads His people from sin into the Promised Land. The New Moses will carry out the will of God perfectly and to the letter.

-Rachel Weeping-

[16] Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. [17] Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

[18] "A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more."

In Genesis 36 we discover that Rachel died while giving birth to Benjamin. She was buried on the way to Bethlehem. Then, later in Exodus, we read about Pharaoh killing all the Hebrew male babies because of the threat the Hebrews were to his kingdom. These Hebrews were a direct descendants of Rachel. Then in Jeremiah 31 we read that the Hebrew boys were sent off to battle the Assyrians and Babylonians. Some were killed and others taken captive. Again this saying is brought up that Rachel weeps for her children. These too were direct descendants of Rachel.

Very fitting that Matthew would bring this up as Herod’s vicious and cowardly deeds were very similar to Pharaoh’s in Egypt.

-Called a Nazarene

[23] And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: "He shall be called a Nazarene."

Jesus would be called a Nazarene. We see this in,

John 1:46 (ESV): Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."

To be called a Nazarene was not a complement. One commentator suggests that it was like being called a country bumpkin or today a hick or hillbilly.

Jesus was spoken of in the OT. Sending His only Son has always been God’s plan. Jesus is the One to come. He is the one the prophets spoke of. He is the pinnacle of the Scriptures. He is Prophet, Priest, and King. Do you know this Jesus, because He is also Savior.

2. Jesus' Rule and Authority

Matthew goes on to show us that His rule and authority arouses different responses in people. Even as early as His birth and a few years later, Jesus stirred up opposition just because of who He was. Here, Matthew contrasts three people or groups of people. These responses are seen throughout the Gospel of Matthew and we also see these responses as we confront people with Christ today.

A. Jesus' Rule Causes Opposition (2:3 &7-8 & 2:16)

[3] When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;

[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."

Matthew 2:16 (ESV):
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

Herod had no intention of coming to Jesus to worship. His only thought was to come to the child to kill Him. King Jesus was a threat to Herod’s throne. His mindset was to eliminate all threats to his kingship. Herod was a coward and is today suffering in eternal torment for what he did.

There are people today, like Herod, who see Christ as a threat to their own kingdom? There are those who have placed themselves on the throne and have declared themselves to be rulers and sovereign over their own destiny. When these people are confronted with the real King they respond in opposition and reject Christ and many times do it very aggressively. Christ reminds them they are not king and are not in control as they would like to think. Herod was only king because God ordained it to be that way. No matter how hard he tried, he could never escape the reality that there is One more powerful than he. It drove him mad and to death.

B. Jesus' Rule Causes Indifference (2:4-6)

[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.'"

It is most remarkable that when Christ was born and the chief priest and scribes heard the news that they could be so seemingly uncaring. They relayed the news and that was it. They knew the Scriptures and the prophecies but did not know the Lord. I often think of these folks as many ivory tower theologians today who know a lot of facts but these facts do not warm their hearts or cause them to worship. They approach the truths of God with a mere intellectual emphasis and miss the most important truths.

The response to Jesus' Kingship can be that of indifference. It can be that a religious person can have head knowledge of Christ but no heart knowledge. One can know things about God or the Bible without being affected by it. It seems we see this reaction from the religious people in this passage and we see it today as well. There are those who hear but are not moved to respond. They hear and then rather than follow, they continue their own way in unbelief.

Does the knowledge of Christ affect you? Has it changed your life? Are you currently being affected by Christ or are you so used to Him that He is not a big deal? When you examine the Scriptures about Christ does your heart soar or is it a trivial matter? I pray we will never get used to Jesus and when we read, think and pray to Him our hearts are warmed and we are affected by His majestic love for His people.

C. Jesus' Rule Causes Worship (2:10-11)

Matthew 2:10-11 (ESV)
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.

The third response was that of humble worship. They fell down and worshiped him.

Most all of the nativity scenes we see have the wise kneeling in the stable. What really happened was they traveled to Joseph and Mary’s house, now in Bethlehem, and fell down on their faces when they saw the baby, the mighty majestic King Jesus.

Their affections were fixed on Christ. They truly came for one purpose and that was to worship this new King. No gift was too costly. No price too great. They had finally come to the end of their search. Jesus was now their treasure.

Matthew writes to show the different responses to the announcement of the King.

What is your response to King Jesus? Have you rejected Him like Herod? Have you neglected Him like the scribes and priests? Have you worshipped Him like the Magi? The Magi came with a purpose. They searched diligently for the King of Kings and they came prepared. They brought gifts and were anticipating their meeting. This is a challenge for us to come to worship prepared.

The fact that these foreigners came from far off lands to pay homage to the King is proof that God loves people from all ethnic origins. The first people to worship were shepherds and then foreign diplomats. When Scripture mentions things like the sins of the world it means that all over the world are people that God has chosen to express His love to. These wise men from the East were somehow told by God that there would be a special King born and that a star would lead them to Him.

As we think about Christmas I pray we worship the King as the wise men did. Christmas is not about us receiving presents but about us worshipping the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

As we think about Jesus’ rule and reign, our response should not be that of Herod who was jealous or the scribes who were indifferent. Our response must be that of the Magi who searched and found the King and then worshipped.

Are you a passionate worshipper of Jesus?

See Also:

The Star and the Wise Men by C. H. Spurgeon
This star is put in commission to wait upon the Lord, to be his herald to men afar off, his usher to conduct them to his presence, and his body-guard to sentinel his cradle. Earth, too, is stirred. Shepherds have come to pay the homage of simple-minded ones: with all love and joy they bow before the mysterious child; and after them from afar come the choice and flower of their generation, the most studious minds of the age.

Who Were the Wise Men? by John MacArthur
Who were the wise men? Are you ready for that? Matthew chapter 2. All of us have wondered. How many were there? Were they really kings? Did they really ride camels? Why did they come to Bethlehem?

Fools and Wise Men, Part 1 by John MacArthur
As we view the text I want you to see five acts in this incredible drama that is played out in chapter 2. Five separate acts. And we'll just title them with a simple word so we'll remember them, arrival, that's act one. Number two, agitation. Number three, acting. Number four, adoration, and number five avoidance. Now that's not a very brilliant outline but it's just a few hooks to hang your thoughts on.

Fools and Wise Men, Part 2 by John MacArthur
There was one of those Jews who rose to a place of great prominence, Daniel. Daniel, it says in Daniel 5:11, became the chief of the Magi, and no doubt this great prophet of God told them about the coming King, so they were ready for this, they were looking and through the centuries waiting for this great individual to arrive on the scene, and they had passed down this information and when the time came they were ready to see Him as King, to recognize it.

Malankara World Christmas Supplement

Christmas Home | Sermons Home | General Sermons and Essays | Articles Home | Library - Home

-------
Malankara World
A service of St. Basil's Syriac Orthodox Church, Ohio
Copyright © 2009-2017 - ICBS Group. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer
Website designed, built, and hosted by International Cyber Business Services, Inc., Hudson, Ohio