After Jesus was born
After Jesus was born...
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi
from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
Mat 2 1-12
I suppose that the real “magic” or Christmas shines best in the narratives of Luke. There you will find angel’s voices and bright lights – the manger scene, and visiting shepherds.
Such “magic” as there may be in Matthew’s account is – apart from the star – largely man-made : harsh decisions by Joseph and Gold Frankincense and Myrrh.
I want to turn to Matthew 2, and use the narrative to answer the question “What remains after the Christmas Story?” Some of the remainders are positive –
and some negative:
· A pertinent question v2
· An unresolved conflict v3-7
· A glorious opportunity v9-11
A pertinent question v2
“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
The question asked by the Magi is a question that for many people remains unanswered – and, worse still, unasked!
We should continue to ask it.
It might provoke HOPE, hope that, like theirs – stems from a LONG PILGRIMAGE. Who knows how long they were in coming, nor what a hard coming they had.
But all the way they came – in hope of finding Him.
So – let’s ask the question again for today – as we stand on the edges of the
MULTIPLE MOUSE CLICKS
Where is Jesus now?
Nor do I need a star to guide me – only the Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit by whom He was first conceived.
Not in Bethlehem
Not in Jerusalem – despite the expectations of the Magi
IN HEAVEN’S GLORY – YES
For what He came He did – He lived and died and rose again!
A much more telling question : IN MY HEART AND LIFE.
This is a question I must answer – whether I wish to commit myself to God or not.
For you and I will be judged on what we thought of Jesus whether or not there is indeed room in my heart for Him.
Secondly – An unresolved Conflict
The story Matthew tells in Chapter two is the story of an ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS
The other side of the story.
It is full of all those things that, even now
Mar God’s world,
And cause people to ask:
Has the King really come?
a. A conflict of authority
Herod represents all the political intrigue
And corruption of wordly power – compromised
Until Christ comes again such a conflict persists.
b. Corruption and Cruelty
Herod’s pious words and terrible actions:
Worship that is not worship at all, and enquiry for false motives
Eventually widespread disaster.
16 When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
b. Fear and Distress
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
Wherever such “power” exists there is fear. We see it still today. We know the alternative side of Christmas.
NOT ONLY IN THE “OUTSIDE WORLD” BUT IN THE INNERMOST HEART THE UNRESOLVED CONFLICT PERSISTS:
· Who’s in charge?
· Reluctance to repent…
· Wary of commitment…
· An appearance of faith ALL ARE TYPIFIED IN HEROD
When what God requires is A GENUINE SURRENDER
And that is hard, very hard.
But the narrative show us finally :
A Glorious Opportunity vv 9-11
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the easta went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
At the fresh evidence of His coming
At the renewal of God’s guiding way
At the imminent prospect of finding Him
(poor Joseph get’s no mention)
They were NOT offended
They saw what they had come to see – the evidence of IMMANUEL
That is the reaction God requires of all who come into the presence of His Son.
It is what He intends for His creatures.
They did not consider themselves too high and mighty, too clever, or too good to do anything else but worship.
Yes – this is the part most people still remember – reinforced by Christmas card images and paintings
A meaningful and generous giving.
So WHAT REMAINS?
After Jesus was born….
These things remain still:
THE KING HIMSELF
THE REALITY – Christ Jesus Our Saviour
Find the King, Find Jesus , worship and GIVE
a Or seen when it rose