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Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

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The Scepter, the Scholars, and the Seekers

Matt 2.1-12

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[Have you ever thought about the cost of Christmas?  ]

[Christmas Is Costly]

  • [It cost Mary and Joseph the comforts of home during a long period of exile in Egypt to protect the little Babe.]

  • [It cost mothers in and around Bethlehem the massacre of their babies by the cruel order of Herod.]

  • [It cost the shepherds the complacency of their shepherds' life, with the call to the manger and to tell the good news.]

  • [It cost the wise men a long journey and expensive gifts and changed lives.]

  • [It cost the early apostles and the early church persecution and sometimes death.]

  • [It cost missionaries of Christ untold suffering and privation to spread the good news.]

  • [It cost Christian martyrs in all ages their lives for Christ's sake.]

  • [More than all this, it cost God the Father His own Son-He sent Him to the earth to save men.]

  • [It cost Jesus a life of sacrifice and service, a death cruel and unmatched in history.]

[In this passage we will consider how some are willing to pay the price for Christmas, while other are not.  As we look at The Character of a Seeker] 

In the passage we see three types of people:  

A.  The Scepter (vs 3, 7-8) [- Wicked people in authority.] 

1.   Herod's Embarrassment (vs 3) [- "When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him."] 

a.   [A great caravan had come seeking a king of which he knew nothing.  Certainly this would have been embarrassing to a king who was a very proud man with a very wicked ego as king Herod was.] 

1)   [We traditionally hold that there were three kings, in all honesty there may have been more or less.  Also, there is nothing historical to suggest that these were actually kings.  There is however evidence of a high standing attributed to these men, or else they would not have been granted a standing before king Herod himself.] 

2)   [The truth is that even three kings, priests or ambassadors would have come with a great entourage of support.] 

b.   [They were asking for the "King of the Jews."  That was a title given to Herod by Rome.] 

1)   This was a king who killed his own wife and two of his sons because he thought they were after his throne.] 

2.   Herod's Entertainment (vs 7-8)  [Beware of vicious people they will take you deceit and deception.] 

a.   [He politely enquired of them (vs 7) - When was the child born.] 

1)   [Notice his deception - ". . . enquired of them diligently. . ." - While he probably made himself to look like he was interested in the religious event that these wise men were experiencing.  Herod had a different motivation for the information he sought.] 

b.   [He politically endorses them (vs 8).] 

1)   [Notice his deceit - ". . . bring me word again . . ." - In this political endorsement we see king Herod's deceit.] 

3.   Herod's Enragement (vs 16-17; Prov 6.34; Song 8.6) 

["There is no rage like the rage of a person filled with jealousy and
endowed with unfettered power and authority."]

a.   [The Bible describes jealousy for us:] 

[Proverbs 6:34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. ] 

[Song 8:6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.]  

b.   [Herod is a historical example of jealousy in power (vs 16)] 

1)   [He has all the children under two years old killed in Bethlehem.] 

B.  The Scholars (vs 4-6) [- And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” - Educated people of religion.]  

1.   They were Proficient (vs 5-6) [". . . For thus it is written . . "] 

a.   [They knew the written Word of God.] 

b.   [They were studied men who had turned the Word of God into the traditions of men.] 

2.   They were Ignorant 

a.   [They knew the Word, but they could not see the Word (new born king) around them.] 

b.   [They missed the numerous prophecies that were being fulfilled all around them because they were looking for something that was not of God.] 

C.  The Seekers  

1.   They were Sincere (vs 1) [- "There came wise men from the east to Jerusalem."  It took them approximately two years to reach Jerusalem.] 

a.   [Evidenced by the fact that Herod killed all the male children of two years old and younger in Bethlehem (vs 7; cf16).] 

["You make time for the things that are really important to you."]

["Your actions reveal your heart."] 

b.   [This was probably a large caravan.] 

1)   [We traditionally acknowledge three wise men, but actually the number could have been far greater.] 

2.   They were Sent (vs 2; Num 24.17; Isa 60.1-3) [- "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east, . . ." -  We don't know much about this star that they saw in the heavens.  But we can gather that:] 

a.   [They Expected it in that they were watching for it.  At least two biblical verses could have implied just such a star.] 

[Numbers 24:17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. ] 

[Isaiah 60:1-3 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. 2For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. ] 

b.   [They Embraced its truth by following it.] 

c.       [They Experienced its blessing by finding Jesus and rejoicing (vs 9-10)]  

[Matthew 2:9-10 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.]

["Christians have a future hope.  It's called the rapture.
Are we expecting it as these wise men expected Jesus?]

3.   They were Sacrificial (vs 2, 9-11)  

a.   [They gave of their Time (vs 2, 9) - ". . . the star which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was."] 

1)   [Their Persistence - They knew who they were looking for and they continued until the found Him.  However, long it took.] 

2)   [Their Proclamation - They were not afraid to call Jesus "King of the Jews"] 

b.   [They gave of their Talent (vs 2,11) - ". . . and fell down and worshipped him . . ."] 

1)   [Their Humiliation - They fell down in worship.] 

2)   [His Coronation - By giving Jesus gifts they were proclaiming Him as greater. 

c.   [They gave of their Treasure (vs 11) – “. . . and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” - It cost them a great sum to come.] 

1)   [Gold - The symbol of royalty and divinity.] 

2)   [Frankincense - used as a perfume, and a medicine.] 

3)   [Myrrh - used to embalm bodies (Jn 19.39).] 

4.   They were Submissive (vs 12) [– And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.” ] 

[a.  They were spiritually aware and obedient to God's direction.] 

[Who are you most like in your life’s journey?] 

  • [Are you holding the Scepter of your life – king and lord of your life, not willing to yield to any, not even Almighty God.  Then you are like King Herod.]
  • [Are you the Scholar of your life – having a knowledge of God, interpreted through your traditions and personal aspirations, so that while you know about God intellectually, you can not see Him nor be impacted by Him.  Thenyou are are as these scribes and priests and you are missing the Lord of life and the heart of life.]
  • [Are you as these Seekers – Responding sincerely to the Word of God and the movement of God in our world and your life.  Going where God leads, giving of your abilities, surrendering to God’s will and way for your life.  Then you are as the Seekers in this passages and you will be privileged to see the Lord Jesus face to face and to experience His presence deep within your heart.]



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