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Christmas for the serious seeker

Christmas for the serious seeker

Dec 24, 2018

Passage:Matthew 2:1-12

Preacher: John Welborn

Series: Christmas Outside the box: Expect the Unexpected

Detail:

Christmas Outside the Box: Expect the Unexpected

Christmas for the Serious Seeker

Matthew 2:1-12

Absolute Truth: Everybody is looking for something this Christmas season! Maybe a gift or a person, a feeling or a bonus, an experience or peace of mind...we are all “seekers” this Christmas season. This fact leads us to...

Main Question: What Are You Looking For This Christmas?

“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, 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.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘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.’’ Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 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.’ 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 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. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.” Matthew 2:1-12

Main Question: What Are You Looking For This Christmas?

Consider Three Types of Seekers...
I. Serious Sign Seekers 

“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, 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.’ Matthew 2:1-2

Wise Men: History tells us that these men were astrologers, teachers and instructors of the Persian kings. They were skilled in philosophy, medicine & natural sciences. They were soothsayers and interpreters of dreams.

“They believed they could tell the future from the stars & they also believed that a man’s destiny was settled by the star under which he was born.” W. Barclay

Sign-Seekers: We have no indication that they were looking for a Savior or someone to whom they could confess & repent of their sins. They wanted to pursue this spectacular sign, pay appropriate homage to the king & return to their lives. By all accounts, they were sign-seekers more than Savior-seekers.

“You will seek me & find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jr 29:13

What Are You Looking For This Christmas? 

II. Serious Self Seekers

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘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.’’ Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 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.’ Matt 2:3-8

  • Brother in Law: High Priest Aristobulus (Drowned by Herod, but then attended the funeral and grieved as a charade.)
  • Wife: Mariamne (killed by Herod because of suspicion) Mother-in-Law: (killed, can’t find a reason) 
  • Herod’s Three Sons: (Killed, so they wouldn’t take his throne) 
  • The most distinguished, popular citizens of Jerusalem: Imprisoned shortly before Herod’s death with the explicit instructions to kill them all the moment he died so that people would mourn this day. 
  • “Rather be Herod’s swine than Herod’s son.” Caesar Augustus

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.” Matt 2:16

What Are You Looking For This Christmas? 

III. The Greatest Seeker of All

“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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 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. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.” Matthew 2:9-12

“For the Son of Man came to seek & to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

The story of Christmas is not primarily about people finding God; it’s about God coming to His people! You see, this is what makes Christianity anything but just another religion. Following Jesus is very different!

Religion: People trying to get to God, people doing things for God!Christianity: God coming to People; doing something incredible for People!

What Are You Looking For This Christmas? 

Sources and Further Reading Opportunities:

  • Strong’s Concordance – James Strong (1890)
  • Tony Evans Book of Illustrations – Tony Evans (2009)
  • Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes – Charles Swindoll (1998)
  • Bible Exposition Commentary – Warren Wiersbe (1996)
  • New Bible Commentary – Carson, France, Motyer & Wenham (1994)
  • Holman Old Testament Commentary – Max Anders (2004)
  • New American Commentary – Robert H. Stein (1992)
  • Daily Bible Study Series – William Barclay (1975)
  • Wilmington’s Bible Handbook – Harold Wilmington (1997)