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The Message of Christmas

by beatrice ofwona  
12/28/2012 / Christian Living

God's plan for the Messiah was for Him to be the glory of Israel and a light to the world. Mathew 2:1-12 gives an account of the Magi from the East who sought and found baby Jesus. Not much is known about them except that they came from the East. Magi were experts in astrology and dream interpretation, they were what we would call, the kingmakers of the day. Many people think that they may have come from Babylon or Persia which are present day Iraq and Saudi Arabia respectively. Scripture is not specific about how many they were but legend claims that they were three based on the assumption that they brought with them three gifts- gold, incense and myrrh. It is not too far fetched to assume that their arrival, especially in view of their reason for coming into Jerusalem, caused quite a stir. Even Herod got to hear of them! The only sad thing is that no one seemed to know or to care about this very birth of a baby who would save the world from sin.

The Magi saw a unique star and associated it with a unique birth of a King which had been foretold. Balaam in Numbers 24:17, 'I see Him but not now; I behold Him but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab; the skulls of all the sons of Sheth'. Jesus Christ is this star that was prophesied about. The Magi therefore saw the star and associated it with the birth of Jesus Christ.

Mathew 2:9 asserts that the star they had originally seen in the East now moved ahead of them and guided them to where the Messiah had been born. It is not clear how long after Jesus was born that they came to worship Him but Mathew 2:11 speaks, not of a baby, but a child that they saw. Herod was later to order the killing of children of two years and below giving further evidence that by now Jesus was more than a baby.

Herod had secretly summoned the Magi and found out from them exactly when the star had appeared. He was a wicked king whose only intention was to eliminate anyone else on whose name the tag of king was placed. He became antagonistic towards this news that he received concerning the king of the Jews who had been born; a King who was spoken of through prophesies, God's own appointed. Troubled and concerned, Herod told the Magi to heed his command as given in Mathew 2:8, 'Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find Him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship Him'. When the Magi found the house in which Jesus was with His mother, they worshipped Him not them both .After having presented their gifts, they returned to their country through a different route having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod.

.In the above account we see three responses to Jesus which are also common in our world today; they are antagonism, apathy and adoration. Herod was antagonistic towards Jesus because he wanted to remain in control and the mention of any other king apart from him angered him. Similarly today people refuse to surrender to Christ because they want to remain in control of their lives and do what pleases them. Many people just go to church for purposes of formality, culture or because the festive mood of Christmas has hit them. They have no intention of welcoming this Jesus into their lives because they have relegated Him to the periphery of their lives. They keep Him under lock and key until the next Christmas when they remember Him long enough to celebrate His birthday.

Others are indifferent towards Jesus, they are apathetic just like the Jewish religious leaders were and the rest of the people who were asked by the Magi in Mathew 2:2, 'Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews?' My only question is, was there none found in Jerusalem to whom the star could be shown? Was there not one keen man found to whom this particular knowledge could be brought to memory from prophesy? I am reminded of Daniel who, because he was keen and alert to prophesy was able to detect when the time of the children of Israel was up in their land of captivity. Consequently he reminded God of the same; Daniel 9:2-3 gives the account, "In the first year of {Darius son of Xerxes} reign, I Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the Word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last 70 years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with Him in prayer and petition, in fasting and in sackcloth and ashes".

The Jewish leaders knew exactly where to find the answers, they had the Scripture with them. They were not physically far from Bethlehem and could have accompanied the Magi in search of this King that was spoken of in their Torah. But their response was cold, shallow and indifferent. We are told that they were even disturbed about the news together with Herod! Mathew 2:3 says, 'When Herod heard this, he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him'. In our world today, there are churches all over. The message of the Gospel of Christ is being preached everywhere, everyday. There are crusades, conferences, conventions, evangelists, televangelists, missions to different places, door to door evangelism, hose to house missions, writers writing about Jesus Christ tirelessly typing away in the hope that even one soul will hear or read about the message and be transformed by accepting Jesus Christ into their lives. Heaps of websites dedicated to the message of Christ; prints and reprints of literature on salvation. Surely nothing has received this much urgency and attention! Over and over again the message of salvation is preached. But people remain apathetic, neither caring nor stopping long enough to ask themselves, what exactly this message about.

Adoration and acceptance of Jesus Christ is the response given by those that know Jesus Christ or that would like to know Him more. The Gentile Magi had traveled through a tedious journey and brought with them costly gifts for a king they had only contemplated about but never met. Yet their acceptance of Him was instantaneous; in His presence, they fell down and worshipped Him. They believed that the child was indeed the king of the Jews. Their agenda was one and only one: worship! It is not easy for fully grown men to fall down and worship a child, but they did because they believed He was He who had been prophesied about. They did what we too should do, we who have heard so much about His sacrifice for us, we who have even heard of His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven; we who now know Him not as a child but as the King of Kings. He is no longer a child, He is our Healer, our Provider, our Savior, our Sanctifier, our only Hope.

The simple message that we learn from the Magi is that Christmas is for worship. It is also a time for believers to re-engage with Christ in adoration in new ways because we now know Him and of Him. Unlike when the Magi went looking for Him, He now comes looking for us, He is Emmanuel-God with us. And on Christmas day, we fall down and worship this God who has now come to be with us through Jesus Christ.

(Word count 1291)

May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.

Article Source: WRITERS

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