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The Expectation Of A King

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Christmas:  A Season Of Expectation

Matthew 2:1-12

The Expectation Of A King

Little Rajah, Little King

In India, they practice “baby worship”.  “All the women would gather around a newborn baby boy and display their approval, by noting the supposed likeness to mom or dad, holding the baby’s fingers, touching his cheek, and kissing his feet.  A favorite term to describe the young baby boy was ‘Little Rajah, Little King’.”  Though they do not actually bow down and worship a newborn baby, those Indians give so much attention to a new infant that it’s no wonder they call it “baby worship”.

When Jesus was an infant, He too received adoration and honor.  But there is a major difference between the babies of India and the Babe in the manger:  He was a king!!!

       Even as a pregnant wife and her husband expect a child, we, the pregnant Church, spiritual mothers and fathers, should expect the Christ-child, during the Christmas season!  Christmas should signal to us that we are pregnant and expecting the Messiah to be born in our hearts and spirits.  We are involved in a series of Messages entitled:  “Christmas:  A Season Of Expectation.”  We should receive our mood of expectation from the narratives of the very first Christmas.

In the first sermon, we explored “The Expectation Of A Forerunner.”

In the second sermon, we dealt with “The Expectation Of The Son Of The Most High God.”

In the third sermon, we dealt with “The Expectation Of A Savior.”

Today, we come to “The Expectation Of A King.”

(Please turn with me to Matthew 2:1-12.  Let me read this aloud for us.)

       In this short series of messages, we are using the same outline, because it is the pattern of the Christmas narratives.  The outline is

·        The Divine Announcement

·        The Divine Promise

·        The Divine Expectation

·        The Divine Fulfillment


(Let’s rush forward and deal with:)

1.     The Divine Announcement (vs. 1-4).

Matthew gives us the backdrop of this wonderful story of expectation and promise.  After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem.  We could probably do two or three sermons on the identification of these magi and who they really were.  There is much speculation.  So, let it suffice to say that the word ‘magi’ “originally denoted the priestly caste among the Persians and Babylonians (cf. Dan. 2:2,48; 4:6,7; 5:7).  Later the name was applied by the Greeks to any sorcerer or charlatan (Acts 8:9; 13:8).”  “In the NT, the word refers to possessors of secret wisdom, and in our passage it probably connotes astrologers, that is, men who gained special insight into world affairs from their observation of the planets and stars (hence, the common translation ‘wise men.’)”[1]  “Matthew uses the term in the better sense to designate honorable men from an Eastern religion.” (Wycliffe).  These were wisemen!!!  Tradition holds that there were three wisemen, but the bible does not give their number.

       These wisemen came seeking the king of the Jews!!!  They were seeking the Messiah, i.e. the one who would reign eternally from the throne of David!

(And why were they seeking Him?)

       They were seeking Him, because they had seen His star in the east and they had come to worship Him!!!  A star made this divine announcement of the Messiah.  These wisemen had either seen a star or a comet that led them to the conclusion that the King of the Jews was being born or had been born in the area.

Now, the purpose of their mission tells us much.  They had come to worship Him!  They had not come just to find Him, or look at Him, or to be His disciples, but to worship Him.  Hence these wisemen may have been Jewish proselytes, because the world was catching the Messianic hope.  A. T. Robertson says, “The whole world was on the tiptoe of expectancy.”

       Would to God that we were “wisepeople”—watching the signs of the heavens for any sign that might point the way to the birth of the King of the Jews in our hearts:  “So that we might worship Him!”


       The stars and the sky are prominent in giving signs about coming events.  Luke writes in

Luke 21:25-28 (NASB-U), “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

       I would to God that we were all wise enough to see the signs and announcements of the times and seek the one who has been born King of the Jews, so that we might worship Him!

       During Christmas time, we should be reminded that He was born not only to be King of the Jews, but to be King of kings, and He wants to reign on the throne of our lives.  When He reigns upon the throne of our lives, we must worship Him.  We must give Him that which is due His holy and righteous name.  We live to worship Him!!!

       Now, if you look at these verses carefully, you will see a stark contrast.  The first two times that Herod is mentioned, he is referred to as “Herod the king.”  Herod was the king of Judea, “the seat of the one enduring dynasty of Israel, the site of the temple, and the platform of Israel’s chief prophets” (The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary).  It is likely that the name “Jews,” comes from the name “Judea.”  Herod had been king of Judea since B.C. 40.  So, in short, Herod was the “king of the Jews.”

       But now we have a stark contrast, these wise men arrived in Jerusalem, the headquarters of Herod, “king of the Jews,” saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?”  Herod was “king” with a small “k,” but there was One who had been born “King” with a capital “K.”

       We have two representatives from two different worlds, two different kingdoms, put in juxtaposition to each other.

       Now, Herod was the devil’s representative.  And as the devil’s representative, the incumbent king of the Jewish world, he was troubled when he heard the words of the magi.

       You would have been troubled too!  These words said to him, “There is a new king in town, a new mayor, a new sheriff.”  So, the villainous Herod, along with his henchmen, began to use all of his considerable and formidable power to find and destroy this threat to his kingdom.

Now we need to understand that the villainous Herod had bullied the land of Judea for a long time, through the help of his desperadoes.  That’s what they called criminals in westerns.  They were bold, violent criminals, because they were desparate.  Herod’s kingdom was a kingdom of terror, grief, sadness, and slavery, and he wanted to maintain that horrible reign.  Those who were desparate and had given up hope either acquiesced to the reign of Herod or became desperadoes, but—I said but—there was a new Sheriff in town and He brought a new hope.  He was the King of the Jews, but He was much more than that:  He was the King of kings!!!  His reign would be one of expectation, excitement, joy, and fulfillment!

       How many of us have become desperadoes, instead of those who have deputized by the new Sheriff to bring hope?

       Likewise, the devil is troubled.  He is troubled because it is Christmas time again, and he has come down with great wrath knowing that his time is short.  Satan has to hurry up, against great odds, and try to implement his program.

(In addition to Herod being troubled, all of Jerusalem was also troubled.)

       The inhabitants of Jerusalem did not know what to make of this new announcement.  They had no way of knowing how Herod would respond to this threat to his reign.  And sure enough, their alarm was not in vein, for the Bible tells us that when Herod could not find this child, he went on a killing spree that would put you in the mind of all of the cruelest badmen and dictators of history.

       Jerusalem was the Holy City and it was intimately tied to the prophecies of the Messiah.  So, Jerusalem may have also been troubled and wondering rather the Messiah had truly come to set up His reign upon earth.  Would Wyatt Earp be able to defeat Bad Bart?

Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp

Brave, courageous, and bold

Long live his praise and long live his glory,

And long may his story be told.

That song can be sung about Jesus, the Sheriff of the universe!!!


       Finally, we the people of God should also be troubled at Christmas.  Why?  Because just like that first Christmas, the devil will not easily let us find the King of kings and let himself be replaced on the throne of our lives.  God wants to establish the worship of His Son, the King of the Jews and King of kings, in our hearts, but the devil wants to hold on to his reign and his territory.  His reign is one of terror, grief, sadness, and slavery, whereas God’s reign will be one of excitement, happiness, joy, and freedom.  There is a warfare going on and Satan is not going to let you have the divine expectation of experiencing the reign of Jesus, along with the wonder of worshipping Him, without fighting to maintain his dominion.

Therefore, we know that at Christmas time Satan will do all that he can to keep us from finding the King of kings or letting Him take the territory of our hearts from him.  He is bent on keeping this worship for himself.  He wants us to worship Santa Claus, and presents, and reindeer, and greed, and sadness, and the holiday blues—anything but the true King of kings!

       We should also be troubled, because Christmas heralds the coming of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Just as he came one Christmas moring, 2,000, years ago, He is coming again.  This signals us or alarms us to the fact that we don’t have much time to get ready.  Will you get up and get ready to meet the King or will you hit the snooze button?

       Believe it or not, He is coming this Christmas to destroy the reign of the devil in our hearts and begin His reign of expectation, joy, excitement, and anticipation.

       Now, be aware of the fact that the days of Herod the king were dark days for the people of God, In Jerusalem.  These dark days could have been a stronghold for the magi.  How could they look for the king of the Jews in the dire circumstances of Jerusalem.  Do you remember what a stronghold is?

“a stronghold is a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes the believer to accept as unchangeable something that he/she knows is contrary to the will of God.”[2]


Well, we live in some dark days right now, and they can be a stronghold for us.  These dark days can keep us from being wise and from seeking the King of kings, but let us depend upon the supernatural signs that God is giving us.

·        There are signs in the sun.

·        There are signs in the moon.

·        There are signs in the stars.

·        There is dismay among nations.

·        There is perplexity at the roaring of the sea and waves.

·        Humanity is fainting from fear of the things that are coming upon the world.  And,

·        The powers of heaven will be shaken.

       So, Herod gathered all the religious leaders of the people.  He gathered the priests who represented the people before God and he gathered the scribes who were interpreters of the Law of Moses and inquired of them as to where the Messiah was to be born.

       The devil also has a morbid interest in ascertaining the birth place of the Messiah, but for evil purposes!!!

       The devil is also interested in us, because he fears that our hearts will be the birth place of the King of kings, the Messiah, Jesus Christ!

(Let’s move on to:)

2.     The Divine Promise (vs. 5-8).

We come now to the divine promise that is mentioned in this divinely inspired narrative.  The religious leaders of the Jews related to Herod that Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem of Judah, and that their knowledge was based on the prophecy of the prophet Micah.  The prophecy seems to be a paraphrase and application of Micah 5:2.  The Bibles says in

Micah 5:2 (NASB-U), “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.  His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

Their paraphrase stated that out of Bethlehem of Judah would come a Ruler who would shepherd the people of Israel.


       We understand that this promise is in keeping with the Covenants of God to Israel, particularly the New Covenant.  We also understand that we are made partakers of the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, this promise can be applied directly to every born again believer.  Jesus came the first time to die for the sins of the world, so that He might be able to come the second time to redeem His people.  Therefore,

·        Jesus came, that first Christmas, to wrestle away from Satan the rule of heaven and earth and to become the True Ruler and Shepherd of His people.

·        Jesus came, the first Christmas, to be our Lord and Shepherd.

·        Jesus came, that first Christmas, to lead us, feed us, guard us, guide us, and deliver us to our final pasture.

·        Jesus came, that first Christmas, to protect us from the wolf, rescue us from the hireling, and be the real, compassionate Ruler and Shepherd of our souls.

·        Jesus came, that first Christmas, to rescue us from the devil, deliver us from the legalists who still followed the Law of Moses, and to be the real compassionate Ruler and Shepherd of our souls.

Jesus said in

John 10:11-15 (NASB-U), “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”

Christmas proclaims the promise of Jesus Christ to come to rule and shepherd our souls.  And what will be the impact upon our lives?  He already told us in

John 10:10 (NASB-U), “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”


We should have the expectation of abundant life!  This is not the Greek word for biological life, i.e. bios, but the word zoe.  It is used:

2a)   of the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God.  This absolute fullness of life comes through God to and through Jesus Christ.

(It is also used of:)

2b):  of life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and that to last forever.

(Did you get that?  Life, here, is used:)

·        of life real and genuine,

·        a life active and vigorous,

·        devoted to God,

·        blessed,

·        the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ,

·        but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and

·        to last forever.

The final and everlasting Christmas is already scheduled on God’s calender.  It will begin with the Rapture!!!

Then Herod secretly called the magi to determine the exact time of the appearance of the star and sent them to find the Child and report back to him, under the pretext of wanting to worship Him.

       The devil will act like he is going to allow you to worship Jesus, but as soon as you find Him, he will try to kill Christ in your heart!!!

(Let’s move on to:)

3.     The Divine Expectation.

Based upon the announcement of the star and the biblical promise, the magi had great expectation.


Likewise, during this time in history, based upon the celestial signs and the biblical promises, those who are wise are experiencing a similar expectancy.  There is a special feeling in the air.  It is the turn of the century and the blossoming of a new millennium.  Something is about to happen!  Jesus is soon to come, and we should have a great sense of divine expectation that is based upon the universal message of God’s servants, the promises of the Word of God, and the signs of the times!  We usually get what we expect!

·        I expect, during this season, for Jesus to come and reign on the throne of my life.

·        I expect to worship Him, as I have never worshipped Him before.

·        I expect that worship will transform my life and continue to take me into a new season in Him.

·        I expect the joy of Christmas!

(Finally, we come to:)

4.     The Divine Fulfillment (vs. 9-12).

After the magi left the presence of king Herod, they were supernaturally guided by the star to the location of the Child.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

       Divine expectation is not by human siring, and neither is divine fulfillment.  We are guided to the fulfillment of our divine expectation, by the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the Word of God.  We should rejoice exceedingly and with great joy, when we consider God’s care and His supernatural guidance in our lives.  It demonstrates to us that He is bent on creating divine expectation within us and then filling that divine expectation with Himself.

       Now, finally, the magi come to the realization of their divine quest.  They were seeking the King of Jews for one reason:  that they might worship Him.  At last, they enter the house, they see Him, and they fall to the ground and worship Him.  That is what the divine expectation of Christmas is all about!  It is about worship!  They not only physically worship Him by bowing down before Him, they worship Him by giving Him precious, costly gifts.  There can be no real worship without sacrifice.

·        The magi sacrificed their comforts by leaving home.

·        They sacrificed their security by talking to Herod.

·        They sacrificed their pride by bowing down before Him.

·        They sacrificed their livelihood by giving costly gifts.


       If we are going to experience the fullfillment of our divine expectation; if we are going to experience the realization of our divine quest; we are going to have to give up everything to go in search of Jesus for the purpose of worshipping Him.

·        We will have to leave our homes and comfort zones.

·        We will have to leave our secure surroundings and talk to dangerous people.

·        We will have to sacrifice our pride and give Him crazy praise and worship.

·        We will have to sacrifice our livelihood by giving Him tithes and offerings.

Our quest will have to be to find Him, so that we may worship Him!  And when we find Him and worship Him, we will experience something that is indescribably wondrous!!!

       Having been warned in a dream, by God, not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.  Once they had worshipped Jesus, their revelation became clearer and they could not return by the same route that they had used in arriving.

       Once we worship Jesus Christ, our revelation will become even clearer.

       Once we worship Jesus Christ, we can never return to our previous states by backtracking our steps.  The Lord will lead us in a bold new direction!

(Now is the Day of Salvation!  Come to Jesus, Now!)

Invitation

Call to Discipleship


----

[1]Donald A. Hagner, Word Biblical Commentary 33A, Matthew 1-13, Word Books, Dallas, Texas, 1993, p. 26.

[2] Edgardo Silvoso, taken from a memorandum to supporters and friends on “Plan Resistencia,” September 15, 1990:  p. 3.

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