Roger's Postings

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Matthew 2:1-12.                               Which star do we follow???                                        7/1/18

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.

Today we have a challenging, yet encouraging and pointed message for us here. At a time when we in this nation are particularly prone to following the ‘herd mentality’ and doing what the mega stars do, we have a reminder to be very careful in this regard. A small percentage of our population is determining the direction of our nation, and this is doing irreparable damage.

This is even impacting on the church and those who claim to be Christians. We can readily see that so many in this country are turning their backs on the church. Many still claim to ‘believe’ even though they don’t worship; but one needs to seriously question those statements. One needs to look at who they are following and being led by.

Now here in this reading we have these ‘wise men’ coming from the east to search out for a baby, who they believed would one day be a great king. Now we do not know what motivated them to do this, other than, receiving a strange sign from a star that had appeared. We of course, know that it was God himself, who had in some way made this known to them.

But we can readily see that they were not following the ‘mob mentality’. They were searching for something more important. Nevertheless, they go straight to Jerusalem and the palace, thinking that this would be where a future king would be born. Future kings generally come to inherit the position. But this was not the case.

At this news from the ‘wise men,’ the king and the whole of Jerusalem was disturbed. What is going on here? Is there going to some major upheaval and conquest for power? Is there going to be something happen the upsets the normal run of the happenings that make up for a settled society? This is not the way things normally happen.

But in the midst of this thinking, the question arises as to whether this new king might be the Messiah – the one Promised by God that would save and rule over his people. So, there was a search of the Scriptures to see where this Messiah would be born. And sure enough, they came up with the answer that Bethlehem would be the birth place of this king.

With that Herod sent the ‘wise men’ to go and search for this one who may become king at some point in the future. He however has ulterior motives. His ultimate star and guide, is his own position and power. He wants to eliminate anyone who is a threat to what he sees as important. As history went on to show, many innocent young lives were lost. His ‘star’ was to be protected at all costs. Too bad if many children had to die in order for him to have what he wanted.

So, with the leading of the star and God’s Word as found in the Scriptures, the ‘wise men’ set off for Bethlehem to look for this new great King. There they found what they were searching for, and they were overjoyed. They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

These were very significant and valuable gifts. Not just financially. For Gold was very much associated with it divinity and longevity. Frankincense was a symbol of holiness and righteousness; and was used extensively in worship as a thank offering. Whilst myrrh was used for embalming of a body after death. All very fitting for this Jesus and what his life here on earth had in store for him.

So, we see here in the wise men that they did not merely follow the ‘mob’ mentality – the wide and broad road that leads to destruction. They sought after a king who would be the one who brings significant and lasting change for good. They looked beyond themselves and their society for that which would be of help and hope to them.

As well as that, they were prepared to listen to what God’s Word has to say and accept it as is says. Rather than ignore it as some outdated and irrelevant nonsense that can be ignored or changed. Instead they heeded what it said and found Jesus and where overjoyed in doing so.

They had their epiphany – seeking the one who was to go on and be the King of all kings, and Lord of all lords. They received the revelation from God that here was the one who was to be the Lord and Saviour of our world. This Jesus’ life, death and resurrection was to be that which turns life around for us all. Here is forgiveness, salvation and eternal life with God now made possible for us.

Here we all have that which enables us all have life, hope, purpose and a new and better way to live and act. Here now God is with us always, so that the mess of our everyday world, that follows the ‘mob’ mentality, is not the end of the story for us. There is a better future ahead for all who look to and live with this Lord Jesus.

Now in light of all of this, the question needs to be asked of each of us today: whose star do we seek to live under and follow? Are we happy to do our own thing, following the ‘mob’ mentality today? Are we happy to listen to and accept whatever today media says, as if it is all good and right? Do we simply follow and do what the popular people in our society today are doing?

Even within the church are we happy to go along and change things so the we simply fit in with the society that we are living? Changing what God has clearly said in his Word so the we can fit in with the homosexual and women’s rights movements? Do we listen to what God says about regular worship or are happy to simply worship when and where it suits us? Again, who and what is guiding us in this regard?

These are significant Questions that we need to think carefully about. There are many who claim to be ‘christains’ and there is seemingly no attempt to live in, with and under him. We can see by the drop-off in church attendance that many are following the popular thinking that this world. So what the society has to offer is far more important to us than God and what he has to say to us is. There are many today who are going along with the view that life is all about what I think, say and do. Even though we may put a veneer of religious and Christian thinking over it, it is still all about me, myself and I.

Yet here again the revelation is laid before us that it is Jesus Christ who is all important for us and for our future happiness. Ignore that to our peril. For it is there alone in the revelation of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection that true salvation and hope is found. Forgiveness of sins, life and salvation is found nowhere else.

When we are baptised, we are connected to all of this. We then are a part of this Jesus Christ and all that he is and all that he stands for. There we know that we have all that is important for this life and the next.

But there also then, we place our hope and our faith. We trust that he is Lord and that he has given us all that we need. But it also means that we now will live, in, with and under him. He will be all important to us. What he says and how he would have us live is what will be our endeavour. He will be the star that guides us through life.

With this in mind let us also look to God’s Word and let it guide us in all that we think, say and do. There we can led to and find things that are of infinitely great value for us as we live out our lives every day. Take it as written rather than try to interpret and change it to suit the popular ideas of the day.

We know how foolish it would be if someone gave us a cheque for 10 million dollars, for us to put it in our drawer and never cash it, use it, or think very little about. Well here in Jesus Christ we have revealed us that which is of infinitely greater worth.

We too have been led to Jesus, so may we all be overjoyed and worship him. Let us too open our treasures and present him with gifts that befit one who has done great things for us. Let us too allow ourselves to be guided by him, to live and do as he would have us. For He is King of kings and Lord of lords, yesterday, today and forever.    AMEN.

Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish


Post a Comment

<< Home