Come To Worship:  The Wisemen  

Introduction:

This week we are talking about the wisemen and the gifts they brought to the baby Jesus. Why do I share this story during the Christmas season? Because this week we are celebrating the Savior’s birth. Christ came into the world to save sinners. What an astounding present God hands to us – the opportunity to know God, the Everlasting Father, through His Son, Jesus. It is a gift worthy of our highest praise and deepest adoration. As we prepare for Christmas, Psalm 95: 6 is especially fitting: “Come, let us worship and bow down.  Let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” The wisemen recognized that this baby born in a manger was no ordinary baby. The wisemen did not cuddle, play games or try to placate Him. They bowed their knee in reverence and worship to Him. 

Bottom Line: Love gives with joy.

Something To Talk About:

Every year around Christmas, we are presented with multiple images, songs, and even movies that depict Christ’s nativity. More often than not, these traditional scenes include three wise men gathered around Jesus in the manger presenting Him with their gifts.

  1. Wisemen came to worship: When the wisemen came on their journey it was for the purpose of worship. They brought with them gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts have a lot of symbolism associated with them. Gold represents wealth. It is a gift fit for a king. Frankincense is the sap of a tree that was dried and hardened and used as incense to worship God. Thus we see a gift for His deity. Myrrh is a fragrant perfume that was used to anoint the dead – to embalm and preserve them. But there is more to worship then gold, frankincense, or myrrh. Worship always involves sacrifice. Was there a price to be paid for the wise men’s worship? Yes. They had given themselves to a long and potentially dangerous journey. Travel in those days was not very comfortable – in fact it could be down right dangerous. The wisemen had sacrificed their own comfort to find the newborn King and worship Him. 
  2. The joy of Christmas: We learn from the wisemen that there are wrong and right places to look for Christmas. They started by looking in the wrong place. The wisemen went where kings should be born – to the palace of Herod the Great in the capital city of Jerusalem. That was a mistake. We too are tempted to look for joy at Christmas in the wrong places. We think by getting or giving the right gift we will be satisfied. We imagine that being with family will be joyful. But what if you can’t afford the right gift. And, what if you can’t be with family during the Christmas season? The wise men looked in the right place when they traveled to Bethlehem. With this new information, they looked again at the star and followed it to Bethlehem until it stood over the house where the child Jesus lived. True joy can only be found in Jesus Christ. The angel announced the source of that joy to the shepherds on that first Christmas night: but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:10-11).
  3. Bearing gifts: The wisemen came to Jesus’ house bearing gifts. The gifts they gave were entirely appropriate. We ought to give appropriate gifts this Christmas as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about material gifts. I am talking about more important things. We ought to give the gift of our love and kindness to our friends and family. We ought to give the gift of our help to those who are hurting. We ought to give the gift of forgiveness to those who have hurt us. And we ought to give so those who have less will have a better Christmas and perhaps hear the saving message of Jesus Christ. And we should give with joy. 

Questions:

  1. What is the worst gift you ever received? Did you keep it or take it back?
  2. We’re told that when the wisemen saw the star “they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” (Matthew 2:10). How does such joy differ from happiness?
  3. Is it possible for joy to co-exist with other emotions, such as sorrow? “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.” (1 Peter 1:6)
  4. Today, God’s “star” isn’t always a bright light in the sky. God sends different “stars” into our lives to guide us to Jesus. What “stars” did He use to initially bring you to Jesus? Having come to Him in faith, are there any stars that He has used in recent days to keep bringing you back to Jesus?
  5. The immediate response of the wisemen was to worship Jesus. How can you move to a greater response of worship right now?
  6. The wisemen recognized that Jesus was worthy of the best gifts they could give to Him. So they presented Him gold, incense and myrrh. What gifts could you present to Jesus this Christmas?

Take One Thing Home with You:

The wisemen had seen Jesus’ star in the east and somehow understood that it appeared as a sign that the King of the Jews had been born. That this was no ordinary star is seen by the fact that it later appeared to the wisemen as they left Jerusalem and journeyed to Bethlehem; it came and stood over where the child was. No ordinary star could do this. I am impressed that the wisemen traveled hundreds of miles to worship the Lord.

If we want to be wise then we would do well to follow the example of these wisemen. Some of us may already feel like we are as we deal with the “Herods” planted in our path. But during this Christmas season I hope we will take a moment to worship our risen Savior. And I hope you will find joy in seeking after the living God and give Him the gift of yourself on a daily basis? Instead of waiting for Him to come to you, be like the wisemen and seek Him out, knock on His door and show Him the personal joy you feel from realizing that He has chosen you to be a part of His kingdom.