Faithlife Sermons

Matt 2

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Responding rightly to Jesus.

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Intro:

People are deeply divided about all kinds of things.
Intro
Do you notice that people don’t just have slightly different opinions, they have completely opposite/polarising opinions about the same thing?
But do you notice that people don’t just have slightly different opinions, they can have completely opposite/polarising opinions about the same thing?
But we can’t make general statements like that. Not all young people are like this etc. Malaysians don’t all love and hate the same things.
People are incredible diverse and everyone has completely different opinions.
Take for example the latest Star Wars movie, hailing it as the best since Empires Strikes Back. Some fans love it. Some fans hate it, lamenting how its ruined their childhood.
They write pages and pages explaining why this one is the best Star Wars since Empires Strikes Back. Others would write pages lamenting how this movie ruined their childhood. Its amazing how people can be so passionate about things that are not important.
They write pages and pages explaining why this one is the best Star Wars since Empires Strikes Back. Others would write pages lamenting how this movie ruined their childhood. Take for example Donald Trump. Some people love Donald Trump, some people hate him. Some people he’s the best president ever. Some people think he’s worst president ever.
Take for example Donald Trump. Some people love Donald Trump, some people hate him. Some people he’s the best president ever. Some people think he’s worst president ever.
Its just a movie right? Who cares!
Or take for example Donald Trump. Some people love Donald Trump, some people hate him. Some people he’s the best president ever. Some people think he’s worst president ever.
Take for example the latest Star Wars movie. Some fans love it thinking its the best one since Empires Strikes Back. Others hate it, thinking its ruined their childhood.
Americans are deeply divided over Donald Trump.
Or take for example Donald Trump. Some people love Donald Trump, some people hate him. Some people he’s the best president ever. Some people think he’s worst president ever.
Take for example Donald Trump. Some people love Donald Trump, some people hate him. Some people he’s the best president ever. Some people think he’s worst president ever.
To some he’s the best president ever. To others he’s simply the worst.
Take for example Donald Trump. Some people love Donald Trump, some people hate him. Some people he’s the best president ever. Some people think he’s worst president ever.
Pages and pages are written arguing over this.
Star Wars is a fictional movie. So who cares?
Trump is the President of the USA so he’s slightly more important than Star Wars. But he’s not going to be president forever, only a few years.
Everybody will have an opinion but whats amazing is how passionate people are about their opinions.
Pages and pages are written to argue with each other.
Now Star Wars is a fictional movie. So who cares?
Star Wars is
Trump is slightly more important but he’s not going to be president forever, only a few years.
So even if he’s the best president ever, its not heaven. And even if he’s the worst president ever, its not hell.
Lets bring this closer to home.
Our election is coming. I still remember the last election, everybody was so excited, so optimistic.
I still remember the election where everybody was so excited and optimistic.
Malaysians from all over the world flew back, just to vote, believing it will make a change. But it didn’t.
So don’t put your hopes too high this time.
Just in case you’re under any delusions, let me warn you first: Even if this time the opposition wins, don’t think Malaysia will magically transform into a land flowing with milk and honey. It won’t.
But even if this time the opposition wins, don’t think Malaysia will magically transform into a land flowing with milk and honey. It won’t.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote for the opposition. I’m not saying you should vote for the opposition. Thats not my point. My point is: don’t put all your hope in ANY human government.
Yes pray and do our part. Be responsible citizens and vote for whoever you think is best for Malaysia.
But don’t lose perspective. There’s only one kingdom that will last forever. At the end of the day there’s only one King who will reigns: Jesus Christ.
We need to discern between what is important and what is most important.
What is important now and what is important long-term.
But at the end of the day the only thing that really matters, who is the real King who reigns? how you respond to Him.
The only question is: Is He your King?
The answer of course is: Jesus Christ.
And at the end of the day the only thing that really matters, who is the one who is really in charge? Who is the King of Kings. He is Jesus Christ.
People are deeply divided about Jesus. Everyone has different opinions about Him.
Some love him some hate him. Some think he was a good moral teacher and nothing more. Some think he’s a powerful being who merely exists to bless them with whatever they want. Some think he was a Jew who lived and died 2000 years ago and is completely irrelevant to us today.

Exposition:

In fact from this passage () we can see that people have been responding differently to Jesus ever since He was born. We’ll focus on three types of responses. That is:
That will
the antagonism of Herod
From this passage () we can learn more of who Jesus is, and how we should respond to Him.
the apathy of the Jewish religious leaders
We’ll focus on three. That is:
the adoration of the wise men
the apathy of the Jews
The first part of today’s sermon I’ll be looking at the different responses that people had towards Jesus’ birth. They can basically be summarised as:
the simply devotion of the wise men from the east
the apathy of the religious Jews
the hostility of King Herod
Different responses:
the simply devotion of the wise men from the east
the adoration of the wise men

The antagonism of Herod

Antagonism means hostility or opposition.
Slide: []
If you know anything about this Christmas story its that there were three kings who brought three gifts right?
This is the part of the story that is most familiar. We sing carols about it. “We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar....”.
“We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar....”.
Well sorry to ruin your childhood but its not written that are three kings here. But only two.
There are two kings in this passage.
Throughout this passage we see the phrase “King of the Jews”. The wise men from the east have come to worship the “King of the Jews”. This of course referring to the Messiah, Jesus.
The problem was there’s already another King in Jerusalem, Herod the Great.
You have to understand Herod was not a descendant of King David. He’s not even a Jew. He’s an Idumean (related to the Edomites).
So Herod’s not even supposed to be King. He seized power with the help of the Romans.
He converted to Judaism and built a massive temple, a temple even bigger than Solomon’s, to win the favour of the Jews, to make himself more legitimate.
Herod is someone who was religious because it benefited him.
Herod isn’t alone. Throughout history we’ve seen people use religion to gain power or money or fame.
Maybe there are some of you here who actively serve in church so that people will say “Wah you’re so generous, or you’re so gifted!”.
Maybe on a deeper level, you don’t just use religion, you use God.
Maybe you think God is like some genie in a lamp who is there to fulfill your every wish.
You just think God is supposed to bless you with whatever you want and when he doesn’t, you get upset with him. When God’s no longer ‘useful’ you don’t want to ‘serve’ Him anymore.
But there can only be one King of your life. And if Jesus is not the King of you, that means you are still your own king.
And when you’re position of King is threatened you will react with hostility. Like Herod.
Herod is clearly the bad guy in this story.
He tries to the trick the wise men from the east. He wants to kill Jesus. He ends up massacring all the baby boys in Bethlehem.
But we are all by nature like Herod, hostile towards God. We don't want anybody to tell us what to do. We don't want to focus on anyone else. We want people to worship us.
If you are an atheist here, let me first say I’m really happy you’re here. Thanks for coming. Please stay back and make some friends.
But if I were to venture a guess, you probably think of yourself as a neutral objective person who just looks at the facts and concludes there isn’t enough evidence that God exists.
Atheists are often portrayed as neutral objective people who just look at the facts and conclude there isn’t enough evidence to prove that God exists.
Thats how the media portrays atheists. Its the religious people who are not objectively looking at the facts.
Maybe thats how you feel about yourself too.
But actually you're not entirely objective either.
Its not just that atheists don’t think that God exists they don't want God to exist. The idea of God is a horrible thing to them.
Thats why many atheists are often so angry when they talk about God/religion. Of course they’ll say that religion has caused so much problems, started so many wars etc.
But deep down inside, its because they realise that the existence of God threatens their way of life. It threatens their control over their own life.
And people will always attack whatever they think is a threat to them.
Thats what happens here with Herod.
Herod’s being doing everything to secure his position as King when out of no where a bunch of foreigners go around asking “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?”
He’s doing all he can to maintain his position as King when out of no where a bunch of foreigners go around asking “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?”
“Born King of the Jews”. This King is more legitimate than Herod.
When these foreign wise men are going around Jerusalem saying “Where is He who is born King of the Jews. We saw His star in the east and have to worship Him”, Herod is obviously not happy. His position is threatened.
Not only that but they also say “We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him”.
This isn’t some ordinary King. This is the Messiah, God’s chosen one, that all the Jews have been waiting for.
Herod is obviously not happy. His position is now under threat. Everybody who was appointed by Herod is also not happy. Because now their positions are also under threat.
Everybody who was appointed by Herod is also not happy. Because now their positions are threatened.
Everybody who was appointed by Herod is also not happy. Because now their positions are also under threat.
Thats why it says even all Jerusalem was also disturbed.
But Herod is very cunning. He hatches a plan.
Step 1 Find out where the Messiah is supposed to be born.
Step 2 Send the wise men there and tell them “Pls share location”.
Step 3 Kill the Messiah.
But if step 1-3 fails kill everybody. Kill all the boys in Bethlehem.
Step 4 Kill Him.
Eventually when Step 1-3 failed Herod killed all the baby boys in Bethlehem.

The Apathy of the Jews

Now Herod didn’t know where the Messiah is to be born so he asks the Jewish religious leaders i.e the chief priests, the bible scholars etc.
When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messi
They give him the correct answer.
Slide: [
“In Bethlehem in Judea”, they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: [then they quote ]
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah are by no means least among the rulers of Judah:
for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.
So Herod sends the wise men to Bethlehem and tells them “Go find Jesus and remember to share location!”
Herod wants to kill Jesus.
But what about the Jews? Afterall Jesus is the “King of the Jews”. Here we turn to the second type of response:

The Apathy of the Jews

The Apathy of the Jewish Religious leaders

Its not like their religious leaders didn’t have the information. Its not like there were different interpretations.
Its not like they were different interpretations. The chief priests and Bible scholars all knew that the Messiah is going to be born in Bethlehem. But where were they? Did they even try? They knew but its like they didn’t care.
The chief priests and Bible scholars all agreed that the Messiah is going to be born in Bethlehem. But where were they? Did they even try?
They knew but its like they don’t even care. They didn’t do anything about it.
They remind me of people who have a lot to say but its all talk only.
We don't need to talk about how indifferent non-Christians are towards Jesus. Thats obvious.
We don't need to talk about how indifferent non-Christians are towards Jesus. Thats obvious. But this kind of apathy can be found within the church too!
But this kind of apathy can be found within the church too!
Many declare “Yes Jesus is my Lord and Saviour” but thats it. Nothing else.
Its just empty words. Oh they may have a lot to say about other people.
Most of the people who criticize the worship team don’t serve in the worship ministry. Most of the people who criticize the preaching have never preached a sermon in their life.
Yet they have a lot of comments: “Why like this? No use one. Should do this. Should do that. More effective.”
By the way most of their criticism is accurate. Their comments are usually very insightful. Even Biblical.
Of course lah, when all you do is read and analyse others of course you’re became an expert. But its all theory only. No practice.
Very often the criticism is correct. Because the ones who criticize don’t have anything else to do they’ve spent alot of time thinking so their insights are usually very good.
I hesitate to say things like “knowledge puffs up” or “its not about the head its about the heart”.
I hesitate because when people hear that they’ll go “Oh like that no need to read the bible, no need to attend Adult Sunday School. What for? Its not about the head its about the heart.”
I hesitate to say this because I don’t think we’re studying the Bible as much as we should.
No I firmly believe that we need to be studying our Bibles much more than we are now. I do believe that God changes people through His Word.
Yet it is necessary to remind ourselves that bible knowledge by itself is worthless.
I do believe that change comes from God's Word. Yet it is necessary to remind ourselves that if that change is not happening, bible knowledge by itself is worthless.
Many Jewish rabbis could memorise the entire OT, word for word.
When Herod asked them where the Messiah will be born, that was a piece of cake for them. They probably recited that passage from memory.
Many Jewish rabbis could memorise the entire OT. When Herod asked them where the Messiah will be born, that was a piece of cake for them. They probably recited that passage from memory.
They clearly knew it was Bethlehem yet they didn’t go to Bethlehem. They didn’t find Jesus and worship Him.
And eventually like Herod, they will also arrange for Jesus to be killed.
We mustn’t be like them: religious people who know the right answers but don't have the right response.
We mustn’t be people who know what is right but all we do is talk and don't act about.
We mustn’t be people who know what is right but all we do is talk and don't act about.
But my point is: We don't want to be like the Jews here; religious people who know the right answers but don't have the right heart.
Most of the people who criticize the worship team don’t serve in the worship ministry. Most of the people who criticize the preaching have never preached a sermon in their life.
Criticizing is easy. But can you do it?
Now even if you are a good preacher or worship leader it doesn’t necessarily mean its right to criticize.
But if you don’t even serve, then....
Of course those who serve need to develop humility in receiving constructive feedback.
Very often the criticism is correct. Because the ones who criticize don’t have anything else to do they’ve spent alot of time thinking so their insights are usually very good.
But my point is: We don't want to be like the Jews here; religious people who know the right answers but don't have the right heart.
So now we move to the right kind of response.
that according to the book of , the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem.
Its non-Jews who came from such a long hard journey to come and worship Jesus. The Jews were so near yet so far.
We don't need to talk about how indifferent non-Christians are towards Jesus. Thats obvious. But this kind of apathy can be found within the church too!
I hesitate to say this because I don’t think we’re studying the Bible as much as we should.
But nevertheless I must remind everyone including myself, that Bible knowledge by itself, is meaningless if it doesn’t change us.
We mustn’t be people who know what is right but all we do is talk and don't do anything about it.
Some of you are going to be offended by this but I’ll risk it.

The adoration of the wise men.

Most of the people who criticize the worship team don’t serve in the worship ministry. Most of the people who criticize the preaching have never preached a sermon in their life.
Criticizing is easy. But can you do it?
Some parts of the story are familiar. We sing carols about. “We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar....”.
Now even if you are a good preacher or worship leader it doesn’t necessarily mean its right to criticize.
But if you don’t even serve, then....
Of course those who serve need to develop humility in receiving constructive feedback.
Very often the criticism is correct. Because the ones who criticize don’t have anything else to do they’ve spent alot of time thinking so their insights are usually very good.
But my point is: We don't want to be like the Jews here; religious people who know the right answers but don't have the right heart.
So now we move the third type of response: the adoration of the wise men.
It doesn’t say they are kings either.
Slide: [].
If you know anything about this Christmas story its this part right? Three kings came bringing three gifts.
“We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar....”.
Well sorry to ruin your childhood but the passage doesn’t say how many there were.
How many were there? The passage doesn’t tell us how many they are. Its always assumed there are three of them because the three gifts but the text doesn’t say.
How many wise men were there? The passage doesn’t say. Its always assumed there are three of them because they gave three gifts but the text doesn’t say.
Its always assumed there are three of them because three gifts but the text doesn’t say.
The passage doesn’t say they were Kings either. Rather it says they are “magi” or “wise men” from the east.
Its possible they came from Babylon. We do know from the book of Daniel, that Babylon had wise men who specialised in interpreting dreams, magic, studying signs in the stars etc.
Now in general the Bible doesn’t encourage such practices. So these are Gentile sinners.
But its not who these wise men were that matters, its what they do now.
But its not who these wise men were that matters, its what they do now.
These are Gentile sinners who came all the way to worship the King of the Jews.
There were still Jews in Babylon. Not everybody came back from the exile. So these wise men probably learnt from them that God was going to give them a King who will save them, the Messiah.
They probably read some parts of the OT that talk about
One day they see a star. Somehow they know it means the King of the Jews was born.
Most likely they learnt from the Jews that were still in Babylon, that a future King, their Messiah, was coming.
Whats amazing is that these wise men, who are not Jews, decide to leave their home to go and worship the King of the Jews.
Travelling hundreds of miles following a star.
But here’s an interesting point. Do you notice that the wise men couldn’t find Jesus without the Bible? They only find out that he’s in Bethlehem because its written in the Jewish Scriptures i.e our Old Testament.
Some people have had supernatural experiences, visions etc.
I’m not going to stand here and say that they’re all not from God.
I’m not going to stand here and say that they’re all not from God.
Yes some are fake but not all of them are fake.
But the problem is supernatural experiences often turn people away from the Bible. Because its less exciting, it feels less real. e.g Why read a book when the living God speaks to me in dreams?
Because they depend on their own experiences, they end up having all kinds of wrong understandings about God.
But miracles are miracles precisely because they don’t happen all the time to everybody.
Your experience is not everybody’s experience.
And experiences are subjective. Its not always easy to interpret what has just happened to us.
But personal experiences, even supernatural ones, need to be guided by God’s Word if not you’ll get lost, like these guys.
The star led them to the land of Israel but for some reason either they lost the star or it was no longer visible so they didn’t know where to go.
So if you were them, and you were looking for the King of the Jews, where would you go?
The most logical place is the palace in Jerusalem. Thats where the King of the Jews is supposed to be.
So they go to Jerusalem and ask, “where is He who has been born King of the Jews?”
Thats where they meet Herod and learn that Jesus was born in the small little town of Bethlehem.
You have to understand Herod was not a descendant of King David. He’s not even a Jew. He’s an Idumean (descendant of the Edomites).
So Herod’s not even supposed to be King. It was the Romans who helped him win his throne.
He converted to Judaism and built a massive a temple, a temple even bigger than Solomon’s to win the favour of the Jews, to make himself more legitimate.
Slide: [.
Herod is someone who found religion useful. He was religious only because it benefited him.
Herod isn’t alone. Throughout history we’ve seen people use religion to gain power or money or fame.
Maybe there are some of you here who actively serve in church so that people will say “Wah you’re so generous, or you’re so gifted!”.
Alot of people are like that. On one level there are those who are active in church to be popular, so that people will say “You’re very generous, or you’re very gifted”.
Maybe on deeper level, you don’t just use religion, you use God.
Maybe you think of God like he’s a genie who is there to fulfill your every wish.
The most important person in your life is still you.
You just think God is supposed to bless you with what you want and when he doesn’t you get upset with him. You don’t want to “serve” Him anymore.
The most important person in your life is still you. You’re your own King. You’re your own God.
You just think God is supposed to bless you with what you want and when he doesn’t, you get upset with him. When God’s no longer ‘useful’ you don’t want to ‘serve’ Him anymore.
Herod who finds religion useful. Like those who go to church to learn English, or make friends, get recognition, positions etc. used religion to his advantage. (he also built a great temple to please the JEws) But once its threatening to his own power he tries to eliminate it. There can only be one King. He's the King of the Jews but is He your King/the King of you? Religion useful for getting power or money or respect fame or friends business contacts etc God is useful for blessing but they are still the most important person in their own life
You just think God is supposed to bless you with what you want and when he doesn’t, you get upset with him. When God’s no longer ‘useful’ you don’t want to ‘serve’ Him anymore.
The most important person in your life is still you.
But there can only be one King of your life. And if Jesus is not the King of you, that means you are still your own king.
God is useful for blessing but they are still the most important person in their own life
But once its threatening to his own power he tries to eliminate it. There can only be one King. He's the King of the Jews but is He your King/the King of you? God is useful for blessing but they are still the most important person in their own life
And when you’re position of King over your own life is threatened you will react with hostility. Like Herod.
And this is during a time when just about every Jew was anxiously expecting the coming of the Messiah.
We are all by nature like Herod, hostile towards God. We don't want anybody to tell us what to do. We don't want to focus on anyone else. We want people to worship us.
Atheists are often portrayed as neutral objective people who just look at the facts and conclude there isn’t enough evidence to prove that God exists.
But actually they're not neutral. They're not entirely objective. Deep down inside they don't want God to exist. They think the idea of there being a God a bad thing.
Thats why many atheists are often very angry about God/religion. Of course they’ll say that religion has caused so much trouble etc.
But deep down inside, its because they realise that the existence of God threatens their control over their own life. And people will always attack whatever they think is a threat to them. Like Herod.
When these foreign wise men are going around Jerusalem saying “Where is He who is born King of the Jews. We saw His star in the east and have to worship Him”, Herod is obviously not happy. His position is threatened.
So when these foreigners are going around Jerusalem saying “Where is He who is born King of the Jews. We saw His star in the east and have to worship Him”, Herod is obviously not happy. His position is threatened.
Everybody who was appointed by Herod is also not happy. Because now their positions are threatened.
Herod is obviously not happy. And everybody who was appointed by Herod is also not happy. Because if Herod
But Herod is very cunning. vs 4. He hatches a plan.
Step 1 Find out where the Messiah is going to be born.
Step 2 Help the wise men find Him
Step 3 Find out His exact location from the wise men.
Step 4 Kill Him.
Now Herod never reads his Bible so he doesn’t know where the Messiah is supposed to be born so he asks the religious leaders of the Jews.
They give him the correct answer (vs 5), that according to the book of Micah 5, the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem.
“In Bethlehem of Judea…because this is what was written by the prophet” and then they quote that according to , the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem.
So Herod sends the wise men to Bethlehem and tells them to “share location” .
Notice that its while they are on their way to Bethlehem that they could see the star again.
Now notice in vs 9, that its while they are on their way to Bethlehem that they could see the star again. And so they follow the star and with great joy they finally find Jesus.
Now of course you know Herod actually wants to kill Jesus. But he appears.
After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was-the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure. Entering the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees they worshiped Him.
So they follow the star and with great joy they finally find Jesus.
I’m just amazed by these wise men. They don’t need any other sign or confirmation.
All they see is a mother and her boy and they fall down on their knees and worship the boy Jesus.
They then present their three famous gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Many commentators since the early church, think that gold symbolises Jesus’ royalty. Incense represents His divinity. And myrrh represents His burial.
Even if correct, its highly unlikely that the wise men und
At the very least, we can say for sure that they gave expensive gifts worthy of a King.
What have you given to the Lord?
I don't just mean money. Have you given him the best of your time, the best of your energy?
Can you say with David “I will not give to the Lord something that costs me nothing!”?
Or do you serve Him only when its convenient. When you don’t need to sacrifice. When it benefits you?
After presenting their gifts the wise men leave.
God warns them in a dream not to go back to Herod.
So just like that they go home. They gave without demanding anything in return.
They weren’t seeking to use Jesus. They came to just worship Him for who He is.
Slide: “Religious people find God useful, Christians find God beautiful” - Tim Keller
Their simple devotion is even more amazing when you contrast it with the apathy of the Jews and the antagonism of Herod.
The Jewish leaders were so near yet so far. It was these non-Jews who came from such a long hard journey to come and worship the King of the Jews.
they weren’t three kings, but there are two Kings (Herod and Jesus): The first one is Herod. Talk about Herod.
Herod was so determined to kill Jesus that he ends up killing every baby boy in Bethlehem!
movies to Trump etc. Pages and pages written to discuss all this. But what ultimately matters is how we think abt Jesus. Polarizing opinions ever since His birth.
God warned the wise men to not “share their location” with Herod so just to be safe Herod kills every baby boy in Bethlehem.
Its non-Jews who came from such a long hard journey to come and worship Jesus. The Jews were so near yet so far.
They also came from such a long hard (no airplane) distance. The Jews were so near yet so far.
We don't need to talk about how indifferent non-Christians are towards Jesus. Thats obvious. But this kind of apathy can be found within the church too!
I hesitate to say this because I don’t think we’re studying the Bible as much as we should.
But nevertheless I must remind everyone including myself, that Bible knowledge by itself, is meaningless if it doesn’t change us.
We mustn’t be people who know what is right but all we do is talk and don't do anything about it.
Some of you are going to be offended by this but I’ll risk it.
Most of the people who criticize the worship team don’t serve in the worship ministry. Most of the people who criticize the preaching have never preached a sermon in their life.
Criticizing is easy. But can you do it?
Now even if you are a good preacher or worship leader it doesn’t necessarily mean its right to criticize.
But if you don’t even serve, then....
Of course those who serve need to develop humility in receiving constructive feedback.
not to say their criticizsm is wrong.
Haven’t you noticed most of the time those who criticize the church are those who don’t serve?
Very often the criticism is correct. Because the ones who criticize don’t have anything else to do they’ve spent alot of time thinking so their insights are usually very good.
But my point is: We don't want to be like the Jews here; religious people who know the right answers but don't have the right heart.
But my point is don’t be like the Jews here that only give right answers but they don’t practice it.
Like the Jews here they give right answers but they don’t practice it.
But they don't do it themselves. Even Jesus said of the Pharisees listen to them but don't do what they do.
All they do is comment and because all they do is think their comments are usually very good. But they don't do it themselves. Even Jesus said of the Pharisees listen to them but don't do what they do.
We need to imitate these wise men, who with their simple faith, simple understanding, doing everything they could to show their adoration for Jesus.
But how do we have this right heart? How is this right response produced?

Who Jesus is for us

We all know Jesus said “If you love me you will keep my commands”. But the question is: how do we love Jesus more?
Do we just close our eyes and focus really hard? “Love Jesus, love Jesus”.
It doesn’t work that way.
[mother illustration?}
I know that I’m supposed to love and respect my parents. I know that, but I always don’t.
But you know what really causes me to love and respect them?
Its when for example my mum tells me stories of how when I was still small and helpless she sacrificed so much to do everything for me.
After a while its always the same stories but it always moves me, it always makes me cherish her and want to do something for her.
That always moves me to cherish my mum and want to do something for her.
In the same way, its by knowing how much Jesus loves you, that you will grow to love Him.
And thats what the second part of this sermon is about.
[mother illustration?}
And thats what the second part of this sermon is going to be about.
Now to really know who Jesus is and what He did for you, you’re going to have to read the rest of Matthew’s gospel.
Yet even in this passage there are clues. Especially in the OT quotations.
Matthew will quote an OT passage and writes that Jesus fulfills it.
Now this part is going to be a technical so if you fall asleep I won’t judge you.
But seriously try to follow along because if you get this part not only will you appreciate Jesus more it’ll change how you read the Old Testament.
There are some movies that have a big twist at the end. And once you know the ending it totally changes the whole movie experience. So that if you watch it again you’ll notice things that you didn’t notice before.
Its the same with the Old Testament now that Christ has come.
The OT is quoted 4 times in this chapter.
The OT is quoted 4 times in this chapter.
The first is back in 2:6. There Micah 5 is quoted predicting Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Thats straightforward.
The second one is much more interesting. See after the wise men left, God warns Joseph that Herod wants to kill Jesus. Lets now read {slide}.
In this chapter, Matthew quotes the OT 4 times. The first passage was predicting Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. We shall now look at the other three.
So he [Joseph] got up, took the child and His mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod’s death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called My Son.
Now the line “Out of Egypt I called my Son” is a quotation from .
But before we turn there, I think if you only read you’ll assume that hundreds of years ago, the prophet Hosea saw a vision that in the future the Messiah will come out of Egypt. Right? Wrong.
Turn to
Turn to
Slide:
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my Son. The more they called them, the more they departed from Me. They kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols.
Notice all the past tenses. Hosea is not talking about the future, he’s talking about something that has already happened in the past.
In this context God’s son is not Jesus, its the nation of Israel.
In fact Hosea is quoting where God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh “Israel is my son, and I say let my son go!
But In spite of all that God did for them, Israel departed from Him and worshiped idols.
makes it clearer:
The more they called them, the more they departed from Me. They kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols.
In fact Hosea is quoting where God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh “Israel is my son, and I say let my son go!
So every commentator agrees that "Out of Egypt I called my Son” refers to Israel’s past exodus.
Yet Matthew says this verse is fulfilled by Jesus.
Some people joke that if apostles like Matthew attended seminary today they would fail their biblical interpretation course. Because they are often quoting verses out of context!
Because this is quoting verses out of context!
But Matthew is not stupid. And remember he sat under the feet of our Lord Jesus who showed them that the OT is all about Him.
would rather trust who Jesus personally taught, and who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to remember and record what He taught them which is the OT is all about Him.
Basically, as the true son of God, Jesus came to do what Israel failed to do.
Remember when Israel came out of Egypt, they went through the Red Sea.
According to 1 Corinth 10, when Israel went through the waters of the Red Sea it was a kind of baptism.
What happened after Israel came out of Egypt. They went through the Red Sea right. Now Paul in 1 Corinth 10 says that going through the waters of the Red Sea was a kind of baptism for Israel.
Israel was supposed to be an obedient son and its through them that all the nations of the world were to be blessed.
Israel was supposed to be an obedient son and its through them that all the nations of the world were to be blessed.
But after they pass through the Red Sea they go into the wilderness for 40 years where they keep on sinning and rebelling against God.
Notice the pattern: Exodus, water baptism, wilderness temptation.
Sound familiar?
Jesus comes out of Egypt. Jesus is baptised. the Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted for 40 days and 40 nights.
Haven’t you ever wondered why the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted?
Its because Jesus needs to relive Israel’s history.
He needs to fulfill Israel’s role and succeed where Israel failed. And that is what happened.
He needs to fulfill Israel’s role and succeed where Israel failed. And that is what He did.
Jesus resisted all temptations and was perfectly obedient to the Father. All the way to the Cross.
Its through Him that all the nations of the earth are blessed.
In case that just flew past you, let me summarise why this matters.
I don’t know about you but I fail to obey God all the time.
But isn’t it clear from this passage already the King of the Jews is not just for the Jews. He’s for everybody.
But if Jesus is your King, He represents you.
He is your righteousness.
And since He is God’s true obedient Son, when God looks at you, He sees true obediently children too.
And if He’s your King, He represents you. Since He is God’s perfectly obedient Son, then in God’s sight you are perfect obediently children too.
The third OT passage is in
Slide: .
Third passage is in . Herod kills all the baby boys in Bethlehem then Matthew writes:
Herod kills all the baby boys in Bethlehem then Matthew writes:
Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:
A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be consoled because they were no more.
Jacob’s wife Rachel who is buried near there is portrayed as weeping for her children the Israelites because they are no longer in the land.
Rachel Jacob’s wife and mother to the Israelites is thus portrayed as
So what does this have to do with baby boys being killed by Herod centuries later?
What a sad passage right?
This is from and this is also a tough one because in the original context Jeremiah is talking about Israel’s exile.
So let me skip to the last passage, which is in .
The last passage is in . After Herod dies Joseph brings the family out of Egypt and then eventually settle in Nazareth. Matthew writes that this was “to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that He [Jesus] will be called a Nazarene”.
After Herod dies Joseph brings the family out of Egypt and back to the land of Israel.
Then he [Joseph] went and settled in a town called Nazareth to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that He [Jesus] will be called a Nazarene.
“to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that He [Jesus] will be called a Nazarene”.
The problem is there is no verse in the OT that actually says the Messiah will be called a Nazarene.
So how can Jesus fulfill a verse that doesn’t even exist?
Matthew is actually putting together several prophecies that people won’t be impressed by this Messiah. This Messiah will actually be despised and rejected.
Do you whats special about Nazareth? Nothing. To everyone Nazareth is like a very “ulu-ulu” place. So to be called a Nazarene isn’t a good thing.
When the apostle Philip told Nathanael: Hey we’ve found the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, remember Nathanael’s reaction?
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”
But you see thats exactly how God works. He does things in ways that are completely opposite to what we expect.
Christ didn’t grow up in the palaces of Jerusalem but in an obscure village.
Christ came to be rejected, to the point that they crucified Him on a Cross.
He didn’t destroy His rebellious people. He allowed them to destroy Him.
By dying on the Cross, Jesus wins!
When they crucified do you remember the sign they put over His head?
This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.
He didn’t reign from a throne He reigned from a Cross.
Remember the sign they put over His head?
This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.
Jesus was perfectly obeyed the Father all the way to the Cross.
Thats how our God works. Turning everything upside down. Humbling the proud and lifting up the humble. Bringing good out of evil etc.
By dying on the Cross, Jesus wins!
Its by being rejected that Christ
Yet its precisely by dying on the Cross, Jesus wins!
So even though that Jeremiah passage just now is describing a sad event, “Rachel crying because her children are no more”, is a chapter full of hope.
Slide: Jer 31:16-17
Even though that Jeremiah passage just now is describing a sad event, “Rachel crying because her children are no more”, is a chapter full of hope.
Matthew quoted vs 15. In the very next verse God says “Don’t cry, I’m going to bring your children back. There is hope for your future”.
And then a few verses later He promises to make a new covenant.
And then a few verses later He promises to make a new covenant. Where He will cleanse His people and forgive them. That He will always be their God and they will always be His people.
The previous passage is found in . In where the previous passage is quoted from the that I ski
See God’s people were destroyed and exiled because they broke their covenant with God.
But God says “Nevermind, one day I’ll make a new covenant. I’ll cleanse them and I will not remember their sins anymore. I will change their hearts so that I will always be their God and they will always be my people”.
The Bible is doesn’t hide about the reality of suffering. The reality of human wickedness.
Where He will cleanse His people and forgive them. That He will always be their God and they will always be His people.
He said “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood which is poured out for you”.
Jacob’s wife Rachel who is buried near there is portrayed as weeping for her children the Israelites because they are no longer in the land.
So what does this have to do with baby boys being killed by Herod centuries later?
But Jeremiah’s message is also a message of hope. Straight away after this sad verse its written:
This is what the Lord says: Keep your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for the reward for your work will come-this is the Lord’s declaration and your children will return from the enemy’s land.
In quoting Jeremiah passage the message of hope that Jeremiah predicted is also being fulfilled. Jesus will really (not just physically) bring God's people back to Him and establish the New Covenant, with His own sacrificial death.
The Christmas story is not just happy and nice e.g Look at how cute baby Jesus is.
No there was great sorrow. Women saw their babies slaughtered right in front of them.
Trying singing carols about that.
In quoting this passage from Jeremiah 31, I think Matthew is giving us clues that even in the face of such evil, there is hope. Jesus is the hope.
Jesus will truly bring God's people back to Him and establish the New Covenant how? By sacrificing Himself.
He said “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood which is poured out for you”.
Its hard to imagine anything worse than losing your own children. But if there is hope even in that tragedy then there is hope for you now.
When faced with pain and loss, remember that Jesus is still King.
And I can understand where they are coming from. Most OT prophecies about Jesus are actually not OT prophecies about Jesus. They are like this verse here.
Jesus escaped Herod here but even when He was eventually captured and killed, death could not hold Him. Death could not stop Him!
He conquered the grave and rose again!
Because He went through all of that to bring us back to God the worst is already over. Whatever tragedy we experience now cannot destroy us, but is ultimately for our good.
Or to put it in more familiar words: Because He lives, we can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone.
The last passage is in .
{pause}
Basically, as the true son of God Jesus came to do what Israel failed to do.
This is just a glimpse of who our KingJesus is and what He has done for you.
{long pause}
{pause}
I seriously doubt that the wise men understood all this. Yet they came anyway. What excuse do we have?
Did the wise men from the east understand all this? I doubt it.
But they still came all the way to joyfully worship Jesus. How much more should we?
Closing Prayer: .
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