Roger's Postings

Friday, January 06, 2012

Matthew 2:1-12.                                 Under whose star???                           8/1/12

 1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 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.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel’ 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 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. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

 The wise men saw the star of Jesus and followed it in order to come and worship the king. They read the signs that were given to them and heeded the message that they received through it and so worshipped the Lord of life. While on the other hand, King Herod and his merry men lived under a different star and followed different pointers in their life. We would have to say that in many ways they were star struck: his only ambition and thought in life seems to be power and holding on to it at all costs; and as a result clashed head on with God and his ways.

 Now this raises an important issue for us here to contemplate: one the affects our whole way of life. The question for us is; under what star and sign are we living? What is giving us our direction for living? These are serious questions, because although we can claim to be Christian, we need to be aware of who and what is directing our life and so what signs we are following.

 Today there are many and various stars people are following and worshipping. Take for instances the sporting and movie or pop-singing stars and see how they are looked up to and followed and the effects it having on many people’s lives. Or look at those that are living under the influence of the star of the almighty dollar and who as a result are allowing economic rationalism and the like to determine their every action; and see also the effect that this is having on life. Others again look to the star of self and rights and so chase after the pleasure this promises, and see how they are reaping the rewards of short term happiness and yet long term heartache. While still others, like Herod, live under the sign of success and power, where to lie, cheat, kill and almost anything else can be done in order to gain success and power, and to keep it. Again see how so many lives are hurt and destroyed as a result. And I could go on and on with signs and stars, one after another, that people today choose to live under and the results that follow.

But the question is, are they really all that wise, or do they end up being fools and who also lead many others into trouble as well? Is it, as many say today, that it doesn't really matter - each one to their own - as long as we claim to be sincere or Christian and that is all that matters?

 Well, let’s think of Herod who claimed to be one of God's people and see what a fool he made of himself by giving himself over to the hunger for power and glory. He had many innocent children killed just in case; in order to protect himself from any possible threat to his leadership years down the track. His hunger for power and glory squashed every sign and pointer that were there to lead him back to God and ultimately to our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ.

 So also, we will find that every other star - every other sign that we might live under will in the end make fools of us if we follow them regardless. Money, sport, self, power, astrology, whatever will all make a mockery of us if we don't see and heed the pointers to Christ and a God-fearing life. Every attempt that we make to solve our problems and give ourselves happiness, peace and security without God as an integral part of it, will end in folly. If we fail to come under the light of Christ and the forgiveness and guidance that he gives, all our strivings for pleasure and a contented life will fail. And if we make those things our be all and end all, not only will we, but also many others, be hurt and even destroyed along the way.

 However, there is another way - another guiding star - that makes us wise and leads us to all that we really need in life and which gives real hope, security, peace, happiness and much more. Those wise men from the east were called wise not because they were astrologers who predicted events by the stars or because they perhaps were highly educated and wealthy men. They were counted as wise because they saw a new star that was a sign of a new and great king – the king of life – and they went out in search of him and worshipped him. In the process of their life they saw the pointer that led to their salvation and instead of being like so many others and poo hoo it, disregard it and seeing it as of little importance, they went out and made the most of their discovery.

These men were wise because they did not refuse see the signs and pointers that lead to Jesus Christ. They did not let their astrology, education and self-importance get in the way of worshipping him. In fact they went across deserts, foreign countries, and made inquiries in order to reach and worship this new king Jesus – the King of kings and Lord of lords. Then they went on their way happy and contented, knowing in the full sense of the word, that one who makes all the difference.

Now today, it is no different. The wise are those who look to Jesus as Lord and saviour and worship him. They see the signs and pointers - hear message – and they do not ignore it; but live under his guidance and direction. So no matter who they are or what they face in life all are shown the sign, Jesus, and all have the opportunity to hear the message of him and what he has done for our salvation. It is the wise who heed the message and let nothing distract them from worshipping him and following him; living under his direction. They know this Jesus is for real and that he is to be taken seriously.

 This Jesus even though he was only a little baby; even though he only looked to be an ordinary human being; even though he was hanging on cross, dying a criminals death; here is God’s Son sent into our world to do what had to be done so that we can have hope in the midst of a hopeless, and yet ever-searching world. This Jesus has done what was needed so that forgiveness of sins, life and salvation might now be there for a world that continually messes things up for itself. We today have the added proof that all of this is for real, in the fact that this Jesus not only died on the cross but he rose again three days later from the dead so that we can know for sure. So this Jesus is the Lord of life and death; he is our saviour and redeemer; he is God Almighty himself come to our rescue and to rule over us.

 So now we can see and know that this Jesus Christ is the one who is all important in life for us. He is the one who truly is able to help us in our need and be able to bring us to eternal life in heaven. He also is one we can look to for our directions for daily living, for his ways alone are what are good and right for us, for he is our creator and redeemer. Here is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

So let us here be wise also. Let us look to the Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords; and allow him kingship over all that we do and say. Let us look to our God and his ways to solve the problems of the world so that he can give us the peace and security that we need. To do that, let us live under his guidance and direction; letting nothing stand in our way from following and worshipping him.

Let us not get caught up in the foolishness of much or our present day thinking, following all kinds of false signs and wonders. Instead, always keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord of life; let us go forward into tomorrow knowing that it is there alone in Jesus that we will find all that we need for life. Then as we go let us encourage others too, to seek and live under this true sign – the real Star – the Lord Jesus Christ. After all he is the Lord of the whole world – the only One who has and will continue be relevant to all our needs. He is King of kings and Lord of lords, yesterday, today and forever.    AMEN.

 Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish


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