Jesus, the King of the Jews
Matthew 2:1-23 (Key Verse 2:2)
Merry Christmas! The Christmas season is in full swing. Celebrating Christmas is not only about decorating a Christmas tree or buying gifts for one another. At this time, we would like to think about how to celebrate Christmas correctly through the Magi. They made Christmas as the time to seek and worship the King of the Jews. Hence, the title of my message is, “Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Let’s read verse 2, the key verse please, “and asked, 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.” Worshipping Baby Jesus is the true meaning of Christmas. Let us be like these Magi and become true Christmas celebrators. My message has four parts. Let’s pray. Dear heaven father, may we learn how to true Christmas celebrators from the Magi. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Part I - Magi Came to Worship King Jesus
Look at verses 1 and 2. From these verses, we can see that while Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Magi came to Jerusalem to find him, following the star. How could the Magi know the star? How would the Magi give up everything to follow the star, believing that this star would lead them to Baby Jesus? The star was from the prophecy of Balaam that a star would come out of Jacob and defeat the enemies of Jacob, at that time, Moab. This prophecy looked forward to coming of the King of the Jews. The Magi observed that a star of the Messiah as prophesied and moved to the west. They believed that it was the star mentioned in the Old Testament. So, they packed everything and followed the star, to meet the King of the Jews for 2 years. The star became like their GPS.
The earthly king of the Jews at that time was Herod. And as king, Herod resided in the capital city, Jerusalem. The Magi casually thought that if a new king would be born, it would be the capital, that is, Jerusalem. As they came closer to Judea, they lost the star and went to Jerusalem to ask where the king of the Jews was to be born. They could no longer find the star on their own, so they went to Herod to locate where the new-born king was born.
It is significant to know that the Magi came only to worship Baby Jesus, the King of the Jews. This means Baby Jesus is a worthy king who would be the savior for the entire world. This also means that most privileged and learned people like the Magi could not be satisfied by their knowledge and position. We can be truly happy and satisfied when we meet the true object of worship.
Personally, as a servant of God, I need to repent of my sin of selfishness and worshiping material things such as business, work, school, and myself. Rather I need to worship Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews. I must learn how to be like the Magi who were using the star as a GPS to navigate them to Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews. To me, the star is the word of God.
Part II – King Herod and All Jerusalem Were Disturbed
Look at verses 3 through 8. King Herod was an evil king who had no desire to let go of his throne. King Herod murdered his own wife and son to keep his throne. So, as soon as he heard about the birth of the king of the Jews through the Magi, he was disturbed thinking that a threat had appeared. He then immediately planned to kill Baby Jesus. What about all Jerusalem? Why were they disturbed? They might not want to be bothered by a new turmoil with King Herod’s insecurity. They just liked the way they lived without God. They did not want to leave their life of sin, and did not want to be disturbed about the news of the Messiah’s birth. There are two types of people, one kind is like Herod who does not want to give up his kingship but does everything he could to keep it, even killing baby boys. Another type is like the people of Israel who do not want to leave their life of sin and comfort. They do not want to be bother by the good news of the birth of King Jesus. Either way, these kinds of people do not boost up the true Christmas spirit but destroy it.
King Herod summoned the religious leaders to find out the exact birthplace of Baby Jesus. He then called the Magi secretly to find the exact time the star had appeared. He also sent the Magi to Bethlehem, asking them to search for the child and report back to him so that he too might worship him. He said this to trick the Magi. He had no intention to worship Baby Jesus. He was the embodiment of evil.
Part III - Magi Were Overjoyed and Presented Gifts
Look at verses 9 through 11. After the meeting with King Herod, the Magi got the right information to find Baby Jesus. On top of this, God’s hand was with them again through the star. The same star they followed, went ahead of them until it stopped where the child was. At this sight of the star, the Magi were overjoyed. This joy was incomparable to anything in this world. Even getting their Ph.D. in their fields did not match this joy because this kind of joy satisfies the spiritual gap that was missing in their hearts. Personally, for myself, the joy of meeting Baby Jesus is life-fulfilling compared to completing my Ph.D in Business Administration because Jesus fills the spirit gap, missing in my heart. This joy came from their deepest heart, giving them peace and relief because they saw their spiritual king Jesus.
Like the Magi, when we find the star of Jesus in our hearts and follow it to the end, then we can be overjoyed because we know we will have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life through Baby Jesus. This Baby Jesus is the sign that God is with us. With their joyful hearts, the Magi entered the house and met their spiritual king, Baby Jesus in-person.
Then they bowed down and worshiped him. Their worship was not without their gifts. Here we can know that giving what is precious to Baby Jesus is part of worship. It is returning what Jesus has to offer to us, that is, his own life. What are the contents of the gifts? First, gold. Gold represents the kingship. Richness and glory, all belong to our king, Baby Jesus. Second, frankincense. This represents his priesthood as the priests would burn incense in the temple as they prayed for people. Third, myrrh. Myrrh represents his sacrifice. Myrrh was used to embalm the dead body. Jesus would die on behalf of us as the sacrificial lamb. In all, those gifts exemplify what we can present to Baby Jesus. We know exchanging gifts is part of the Christmas season. Then, why not we give something special to Jesus? Jesus is not only our savior who suffered and died for our sins but also our King whom we serve and the High Priest who prays for us even today and forever. That would be how we can best celebrate Christmas. May this Christmas be all about worshiping the King Jesus, who is to be praised, glorified, and honored. Amen.
IV. Fulfillment of Gods’ Prophecy
Look at verses 12 through 18. Right before they went back home, the Magi were warned not to go back to Herod. So they used another route. After the Magi left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in dream and asked him to take Mary and Baby Jesus to Egypt. The angel warned Joseph that his baby would be in danger because of Herod and escape to Egypt and stay there.
Joseph obeyed this angel’s instruction and left for Egypt. This shows what kind of man Joseph was, a man of reverence. This act of fleeing unknowingly fulfilled the prophecy about Baby Jesus. Then, Herod got furious and ordered the massacre of the boys two years and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity. This act of madness also unknowingly fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah. Finally, the evil king Herod died. After King Herod died, the angel of the Lord appeared again to Joseph in a dream and asked him to take Mary and Baby Jesus and go back to land of Israel. So Joseph again obeyed what the angel of the lord told him to do. But while proceeding back to Judea, Joseph was warned in a dream that Archelaus was the new King in place of his father Herod, so he was afraid and withdrew from that location and went to live in the town of Nazareth where the fulfillment of the prophecy concluded that Baby Jesus would be called a Nazarene. Our God is the sovereign ruler who fulfills His world salvation plan in spite of evil rulers of the world.
To sum up, this passage has taught me that the Magi who were in search of the star to meet the King Jesus should be the object of my worship. I need to worship the King Jesus everyday of my existence because He is the reason why I am alive. I repent of selfishness and make the decision by faith to give my gifts to my King. I decide to practically give my offerings and tithes to Jesus Christ as my worship and reverence to him. Lord, I repent of my spiritual laziness of not giving my offering and tithes to you as my true worship.
In this Christmas season, let us celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in a right way just as the Magi, that is, worshipping Jesus, the King of the Jews. Jesus gave us His precious life. In return, we give our precious things as gifts to him. And let us be people of obedience so as to fulfill God’s will for us. In summary, let’s be reminded that we are to worship our King, Baby Jesus, repenting our sins of selfishness like King Herod and people of Jerusalem. As the Magi were overjoyed and presented gifts to Baby Jesus, let us give our precious gifts to Jesus and to those who are in need. May God bless our gifts to fulfill God’s world salvation plan. Let’s pray.