Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas: Magi come to worship Jesus

1. Lesson
  • We’ve been looking at various Biblical prophecies about Jesus’ birth: 
    • A Messiah from the line of David will come 
    • A virgin will be of child
    • The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem

  • Today we look at another essential part of the Christmas story — the Magi/ Wisemen / Kings that visited Jesus (Matt 2:1-16)
  • Usually in Christmas cards and nativity plays, we see a picture of 3 Wisemen who visited baby Jesus in a stable, together with the shepherds.
  • But in reality:
    • We don’t know how many there were; at least 2 or more (Matthew uses the plural “we”). There were 3 gifts mentioned — gold, frankincense and myrrh — hence the idea of 3 kings. 
    • The wisemen visited Jesus in a house (Matthew 2:11), not the stable. So it was not at the same time as the shepherds.
    • Jesus was probably aged between 40 days to 2 years old at the time of the visit.
  • The wisemen from the east travelled to visit Jesus because they saw a sign — a supernaturally bright star. They entered Jerusalem and asked around, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 
  • The star led them ahead and stopped over the place where Jesus was staying. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
  • This fulfilled the prophecies by Isaiah and Solomon — Kings will worship the King of Kings
    • Isaiah 60:3, 6 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn … Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord
    • Psalm 72:10-11 May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores bring tribute to him.May the kings of Sheba and Seba present him gifts. May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him.
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  • The gifts that the wisemen gave Jesus were also prophetic in nature: 
    • Gold: symbol of Kingship — Jesus is KING and GOD 
    • Frankincense: used in temple worship — Jesus lived a HOLY and RIGHTEOUS life
    • Myrrh: used to embalm the dead — Jesus was born to DIE for us so that you and I can live!
  • Conclusion: 
    • The wisemen brought gifts for Jesus. We all love to receive gifts at Christmas, don’t we?
    • That first Christmas day, we had the biggest and greatest gift in the world! His name was Jesus. 
    • This Christmas season, with all the beautiful and wonderful presents we’ve received, let’s take some time to remember that it’s all about Jesus — the best present of all!
    • Video: Best present of all
    • As this is the last lesson of the year, take time to break into small groups and get them to share what it means to have Jesus in their hearts. If there are any who do not yet Jesus, lead them to accept Jesus, the best present of all.

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