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The Voices of Advent: Magi – A Narrative

Recorded on December 24th, 2020

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  • Sunday Full Service

Expecting a triumphant warrior king, but delivered a baby, listen as Pastor Rothschild delivers a narrative sermon from the perspective of one of the Magi.

Transcript of Sermon:

Before we get to our sermon today i want to remind you to have a candle ready we are going to do our candlelit silent night at the end of the service so make sure you have a candle here i have mine tom has reminded me i tried to give tom a candle at our last candlelit service and he kind of looked at me with the bryce mound pretty much said he can’t play the piano and hold a candle at the same time i think he should be able to but maybe next year so it’s a skill to develop right um we are in this is our last of the narrative advent series so um we are doing our sermon in a narrative scripture style it’s more of a story format so i hope you enjoy that today um it is the story of the magi or the wise men and we’re going to be in matthew 2 1-12 here’s what the scripture says after jesus was born in bethlehem and judea during the time of king herod the magi from the east came to jerusalem and asked where is the one who has been born to the king of the jews we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him when king herod heard this he was disturbed all jerusalem was disturbed with him when he called together all the people’s chiefs priests and the teachers of the law he asked them where the messiah was to be born in bethlehem in judea they replied for this is what the prophet has written but you bethlehem in the land of judah are by no means the least of the rulers of judah for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people israel then herod called the magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared 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 after they heard the king they went on their way and the star they had seen when it rose up ahead went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was when they saw the star they were overjoyed on coming to the house they saw the child with his mother mary and they bowed down and worshipped him when they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh and having been warned in a dream not to go back to herod they returned to their country by another root this is the word of god for the people of god thanks be to god a star a simple little star it’s hard to describe what you can tell by a star or the impact a star can have a star happens to be why i am where i am today and i had no idea when we began this journey why we were even on this journey i was so confused actually when we began the journey and to be honest i didn’t have much of a right to understand i’m just a lowly helper just an aide the wise man that i help the may guy that i am a helper to well he’s a genius he’s one of the best he’s he’s the one that all of the kings look for he is so incredibly intelligent and so it was so troubling to me so confusing to me that he would leave all of his work that he would leave all of his people at the drop of a hat that’s what it felt like it was like one minute we were doing all of this other work and then instantly we had to stop everything we were doing pack up all of our stuff and go on this really strange journey to somewhere i didn’t know where he didn’t know where but to somewhere we were just following a star and along the journey we were joined by other wise men which was even more confusing to me men from the east like my may guy what were we doing why had these really intelligent men dropped all of their really really important work that people live and die over work that people really need in order to follow the twinkling of a star now i know that’s part of their work following the celestial feelings following the movement of the stars in the sky i know that but we haven’t done this before this is all new so as we walked on that road i got to tell you there was a lot of nights where i was really confused but again like i said it wasn’t my job to know it was my job to help but as we walked and as they talked together i started to begin to understand because as they spoke to one another i started to understand that we were following the work of prophecy it seems that all of them individually understood that there was some old prophecy amongst the people called the hebrews the israelites not people i’m real familiar with but this prophecy about a king some king must be a real powerful king and that we were trying to find this king and that the star the star that was guiding us on this journey well the star was leading the way to that king and so that helped it helped a little bit but still i mean they served really wise kings some of them were known as kings in their areas i mean it’s just really anyway so we continued on the journey and as we got closer and closer to what we believed was the place we were supposed to be i heard more about what they believed this king would be a king of all kings a one true king a king to rule all kings this this one really got me a king for all men i’d never heard that before there’s always one kingdom with one group of people and they follow that person and they all have their own ways of living and their own religions and their own gods that they follow but never one for all i found that intriguing i found that intriguing because even though there’s always one god for all when i look around the world because i’ve gotten to see the world because of the wise man that i serve the suffering’s the same you see where we come from the world that we are in [Music] it’s hurting it’s hurting it’s broken and the people are suffering every day suffering to put food on a table just trying every day to make sure that their kids are taken care of or trying to make sure that they can get through to the next day it’s as if this cloud is descended upon the entirety of all the nations and the whole of the nations is buried underneath a weight of weariness and this weight of weariness doesn’t seem to be fixed by any of the gods that i know any of the gods that these other wise men know and so it’s intriguing this idea of one king especially especially because they they added that not only was it one king to rule all but one king who’s the son of god how’s that possible but we continued on and i expected i have to tell you i kept trying not to make expectations but i’m human and so i expected that when we got to this town they would be throwing parties because the prophecy had been fulfilled apparently they had been waiting for this king this they called him messiah savior they had been waiting for this king for over 400 years can you imagine knowing that this was possible i had never even heard about this king and i’m excited a little but they had known about the coming of this messiah for over 400 years they’ve had all of these prophecies not just the ones that my wise men know about but the ones there are more apparently that we don’t even know about and they’ve been following these prophecies and they’ve been listening to them and they’ve been waiting for them to be fulfilled and so i’m expecting when we show up in this town for there to be a great expectation great parties great jubilation great joy i kind of actually think that when we get there there’s going to be a a throne in the middle of the town kind of like you know a town square and right in the middle there’s a chair and you know there will be the king and they will all be around him and celebrating and worshiping him because that’s what my wise men want to do they want to go and they want to worship worship this man can you believe that these men who are worshipped themselves who have every right to be worshipped themselves because of who they are are going to go worship this foreign king they are traveling all of this distance to worship a foreign king so i can’t imagine what people who grew up expecting this king are doing right now that’s what i was thinking the whole time we were walking i was expecting that there would be all this food i was expecting there would be all of these parties and then we show up to the town we get to this place this place where these hebrews live and there’s nothing but normal there’s nothing but despair there wasn’t hope and joy and exuberance there was just tiredness and bleakness that same cloud of weariness was hanging over that town just like it did every other town i’ve ever been through and i thought for sure this star must have guided us to the wrong place because really a star could a star really lead us to hope and i thought this was definitive proof that the star could not lead to hope so as we for received were received in this town the wise men asked of their king what the prophecy said where they could find this king and as they scrambled about because they all seemed to be pretty darn surprised that there was a king among them my wise men were certain these locals were surprised but sure enough in the town of bethlehem just six miles six miles from where we were with this king and these people was supposed to be this king this savior their messiah the one they’ve been waiting for for 400 years how could they not know how could they not see how could they not all be going there themselves by throngs why isn’t there a waiting line miles long i wondered what my wise men thought about that i don’t really get to ask but i wonder i wonder if he’s surprised by the humanity of people but we took the six mile journey but we didn’t have to take it alone because that star a star as we set out towards bethlehem it’s shown brighter than ever and it went right above the place where we were to meet the king and as it took its space right above where this king was residing i was again again surprised because it wasn’t a luxurious home it wasn’t filled with the finest linens and the greatest of tapestries it was merely i don’t even know how to describe it could it even be a home it was like a hovel it was a place where animals live and there in that manger where animals eat was a baby not a grown man not a boy but a baby and it was to this baby that the men who had brought their gifts of the gold and the frankincense and the more these men that i looked up to this this man that i had served for so long in my life that i’d watched do miraculous things the wisest man that i know got down on his knees and bowed his head to the floor at the foot of this baby and i thought surely not a child an infant a king [Music] this is what the star of hope was bringing us to a baby this star of hope how is a baby going to do anything much less a baby surrounded by animals not a baby surrounded by warriors a baby surrounded by men who can win wars and fight fights and make nations come into line how can a baby surrounded by animals lying in a manger do anything that’s worth anything and why does the man that i serve care about this baby yet as he stood from worship and the look in his eyes as he looked at the child’s mother i began to see something different and as i glimpsed into the face of that child myself for the first time i don’t know how to describe to you but i had nothing in me but to get down onto my knees and put my head to the ground and to worship that king and as i worshipped that king that inside of me went from despair and from pleading for help and filled with the gas of hope i had never felt such hope before i had heard of hope before i had heard people speak of hope i had heard people speak of change i had heard people speak of the ability of things to be different i had heard that life didn’t have to be this way but i had never experienced it before in my life and as i look back on it now and as i experience this as in retrospect and looking back i think i understand what the difference is you see the star is a marker of hope of where hope resides it pointed us in the right direction it pointed everyone in the free world in the right direction even those who claim to be this king’s followers it pointed them in the right direction but the only way to receive the gift that that child had to give was to sit at that child’s feet was to rest at the feet of the infant king into worship and the wisdom the wisdom of foreigners maybe that’s why they call them mega maybe that’s why they’re wise men and i’m not the fact that they were smart enough to realize how important this moment was the fact that they were smart enough to pack up everything in an instant to follow that star to where it was to worship that king instantly the moment that they could because they knew that in worshiping that king everything would change and for you and me the same is true hope is real hope is available hope is ready hope has been born into this world on that blessed morning when that mother had that child hope came to live with us just like the prophet said hope came into the world but we cannot experience that hope we cannot live into that hope we cannot have that hope as our own unless we’re willing to bow down and worship to the baby king to the christ king to the infant who was willing to come and live with us and as we recognize the power of the infant lowly in the manger that power begins to change who we are on the inside it begins to give us hope like we’ve never known before that was my experience that was my experience and i’m a foreigner i’m a foreigner i’m not a wise man i just happen to be there but the same can be true for you today hope is real that star [Music] is pointing you in the direction of a hope that is very real that has real power for every life but in order to access that power you have to sit at the feet of jesus and accept his kingship over your life that’s what the wise men did the insiders failed to even recognize him as king the question is what will the rest of us do will we allow this child to come and take root in our hearts and allow the world to change or will we keep looking for another answer when the star is clearly shining away let us pray god we thank you for sending us a baby we thank you for giving us your son to walk with us to care for us to love us god the hardest thing in our lives as individuals is to recognize the presence of jesus to accept the work of jesus in our lives sometimes because we can get so caught up in our own selves we can get so caught up in the world god help us today to give our worship not to the world but to jesus amen.