Journey to the Savior

Bible Book: Matthew  2 : 1-12
Subject: Christmas, Worship; Wise Men; Stewardship

After the birth of Jesus, there arrived in Jerusalem certain wise men, or magi. Their unexpected appearance aroused considerable interest which Matthew wants his readers to share.

Who were these wise men who came from the east? There is much speculation as to their identity. Some have gone as far as to name them: Melkon, Balthasar and Gaspar. The fact of the matter is that we cannot be certain of their names, nor their actual number.

We can feel safe in asserting a few known facts of the Magi:

1. The probably originated from the regions of the Medes and Persians, (Modern-day Turkey, Iran and Iraq) and perhaps as far as China.
2. The Magi were learned men who were skilled in philosophy, medicine and natural sciences. They were also involved in astrology and believed that they could foretell the future from the stars. They believed that a man’s destiny was settled by the star under with he was born.

It is not the identity of the men which Matthew wishes to focus on. Instead, the focus is on the journey which brought these men to Bethlehem. The wise took a journey to the Savior. It is a journey which we all must take.

I. The Journey to the Savior was Made With Diligence

The distance traveled by these men was great. At the very least, it was a 500-mile trek which would have taken 160 days. However, many believe that these men traveled 2-3 years. In this journey, they experienced untold hardships and dangers.

The diligence known to these men is unheard of in America. We are called to seek Jesus, no matter the cost. Our mindset is that we will seek Him if it is easy, convenient, and does not cost. The fact of the matter is that, when it comes to the matter of spiritual things, we are lazy and apathetic.

II. The Journey to the Savior was Made in Faith

Why did these men risk their lives and possessions to make such a journey? There was, at the time of Jesus’ birth, a strange feeling of expectation in the world of the coming of a great king. The Roman historians, Suetonius and Tacitus speak of the belief and expectation. Not only were they expecting a king, but he would come from Judea.

Coupled with this expectation was the appearance of the star. For these men, the stars pursued an unvarying course; they represented order in the universe. If there suddenly appeared some brilliant star, if the unvarying order of the universe was broken by some special phenomenon, it appeared that God was breaking into His order announcing some special event.

When Jesus Christ came into the world, there was an eagerness and expectation. Men were waiting for God, and the desire for God was in their hearts.

These men acted on what some would say was a folktale. It was a natural phenomenon which appeared for a short period of time and did not appear again until their arrival in Jerusalem.

Can you imagine the ridicule that these men received when people inquired about their journey, and the answer that they gave them? I am sure that they endured ridicule, scorn and humiliation.

The act of their coming was an act of faith. God bore in the hearts of the magi the truth of the event. By faith they came.

The same is true today. All who come to the Savior come by faith. Certainly there is much evidence pertaining to the reality of God and the fact of Jesus. Yet, to accept or reject Jesus is done so by faith. Note Hebrews 11:6.

As you take this journey, you will be persecuted, scorned, maligned and laughed at, but you take it because in your heart you know it is true.

III. The Journey to the Savior was Taken for Worship

In verse 3, the magi told Herod that the reason they came was to worship the new King. It is interesting that the only act appropriate for Jesus is to worship Him. When people recognized Jesus as the Savior, they worshipped. All people will worship in the end.

Christmas is certainly the most appropriate time to come and worship. To worship is to rule our hearts at all times.

IV. The Journey to the Savior Concluded by Giving Gifts

A. Gold is the gift for a King.

It was the custom that no one could ever approach the King without a gift. Gold, the king of metals, is the gift for the King of men.

Jesus was born to be a king. He reigned no by force, but by love. He was to rule over men’s hearts; not from the throne, but from a cross.

We do well to remember that Jesus is King. We can never meet Jesus on terms of equality. We must always meet Him on terms of complete submission.

B. Frankincense is the gift for a priest.

Frankincense is a juice that is white or somewhat milky and is taken from trees in South Arabia. It was in the temple worship and at the temple sacrifices that the sweet perfume, or frankincense, was used. It was the function of the priest to bring men to God; a sort of bridge builder.

C. Myrrh is the gift for one who is to die. It was used to embalm the bodies of the dead.

Jesus came to the world to die. He came to live for men, and in the end, to die for men. He came to give His life and His death for us.

Gold for a King, frankincense for a priest, myrrh for one who was to die: these were gifts of the wise men. Even at the crib of Christ, they foretold that He was to be the True King, the perfect High Priest, and, in the end, the Supreme Savior of us all.

The question is: what gifts do we bring today? The only gift worthy of Jesus is yourself.