The Far Off Brought Near
How many times have I stood and gazed into the night sky, wondering about my insignificance in the immensity of time and space? We know so little about the universe, other than that it is too immense for human understanding. Scientists study the mechanics of space in an effort toward understanding how it came to be and how it continues to evolve. Christians are less interested in the how than the why, for we know our God has a purpose for everything He creates. We know very little about either of these questions except that we are not the first to ask them. Two thousand (2,000) years ago a group of men must have been observing the night sky when a miraculous event occurred. A bright light appeared in the sky, and whether these men knew the prophecy of Balaam or simply had a deep spiritual insight, they recognized that a unique person was about to be born.
An amazing fact of our Lord’s life is that there was always a stir created by His actions. Men like Simeon and Paul would bow down before him as their Messiah while others would seek to find fault and ultimately plan to take His life. Even before His birth men were divided in their loyalty and still today He faces people with choices that cause lives to be turned upside down. Whenever Jesus is born into a life, a city, or a town, there is inevitably a stir created. For some He is the Savior and for others a stumbling block over Whom to stumble is to perish.
I have been preaching the Gospel for 35 years and never cease to be amazed at those that find Christ. It often seems a paradox: those whom we pray for and earnestly believe will be saved never are while those we believe beyond hope may be called to repentance and salvation. Such a story is that found here in Matthew’s account of the Gospel.
I. Those From Afar Brought Near
A. They were very intelligent
1. Many intellectuals decry Christianity as foolishness
2. The Wise Men recognized the futility of wisdom apart from salvation
B. Not many intellectuals come to Christ
1. For them, the Gospel leaves too many unanswered questions
2. They accuse believers of close-mindedness yet it is they that will not give Christ a chance
3. There is no place in their philosophy for belief
C. Those that do come often do so the long way around
1. The Magi looked in the wrong place – using their heads and not their hearts
2. They went to the palace and not to little Bethlehem
D. God will use unusual means to accomplish His purpose
1. No one is beyond God’s reach
2. He will use extraordinary means when necessary
E. It is important to act upon the Spirit’s leading
1. The Magi greeted the King at His birth and not at His coronation
2. Today is the day of the Lord
II. Many That Are Near Never Find Him
A. All of Jerusalem was troubled about Jesus and would remain so forever
1. Herod had nothing to fear from Jesus
2. The region was afraid of what Herod might do. How many relationships are troubled when someone finds Christ?
B. Even religious people are troubled
1. The scribes knew where to find Him but did not make the effort
Many live in the shadow of the steeple and die without ever seeking Him out!