SPEAKING AT FOUNTAIN GATE CHAPEL – DESERT PASTURES, BOLGATANGA
25TH DECEMBER 2015 – CHRISTMAS SERVICE
TOPIC: There Came Wise Men From The East To Jerusalem To Worship
As we are drawing close to the end of the month of the unlikely worshipper, I want to reiterate that right from creation through all 66 books of the bible, no single worshipper of God can be considered a “worthy worshipper” or a “qualified worshipper” or a “righteous worshipper.” Adam and Eve gave it all away by eating the fruit, Abraham had an illegitimate child, Isaac showed favoritism as a father – he love Isau and his wife loved Jacob, Noah became a buzz man, a drunk, Moses had anger problems, David had an affair, as for Solomon, the least said about him, the better, Elijah retired prematurely, Elisha had no successor, Gehazi was covetous, Jonah was a runaway prophet, Zechariah (father of John the Baptist) was a doubter, Mary questioned God, Joseph contemplated divorce even before marriage, John the Baptist questioned the authenticity of Christ claims, the disciples went back to fishing, Nicodemus came by night, Joseph of Arimathea was rich but a coward, Zacchaeus was short, Mary Magdalene was a retired prostitute, Paul was the chief of all sinners and also had a thorn in his flesh, Timothy had a stomach infirmity. Who else ….. you can add to the list.
This shows that we cannot of our own offer God worthy worship. Therefore Jesus Christ through His finished work on the cross offered Himself before the mercy seat in Heaven to purchase our redemption and to put us in the RIGHT place so that we can “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
It is with this understanding, I believe, that the WISE MEN from the east, upon getting a clue of the birth of the MESSIAH, did not hesitate to move to Jerusalem to worship him.
1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
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.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
SOME USEFUL THOUGHTS TO SHARE:
THE WISE MEN: – Who were they?
“Magi” (specialists in astronomy) – were pagan astrologers whose divinatory skills were widely respected in the Greco-Roman world. Everyone agreed that the best astrologers lived in the East. More likely they were Gentiles of high position from a country, perhaps Parthia, northeast of Babylon, who were given a special revelation by God of the birth of the King of the Jews.
They were wise, not so much for their learning, but because they sought God diligently. Wisdom does not make unbelievers, but folly.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THESE WISE MEN?
They were earnest seekers.
They sought Christ reverently.
God assisted them in the search.
That should tell us that wisdom that turns us away from God is not wisdom, Wealth that turns us away from God is not wealth, love that turns us away from God is not love. Fame or any other achievement that turns us away from God is bogus.
THE CHRIST THEY FOUND?
A person – at least, that person must be:
A king – but shockingly, they found out that the king they were seeking was
A child in a dirty smelling manger – rather than being disappointed, frustrated and despising Him, they They Worshipped Him and in worshipping Him, they gave Him
THE CONTENT OF THEIR WORSHIP:
They fell down and worshipped,
They presented Him with gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh, the most fitting gifts of worship which the world contained.
THE GIFTS: What is their significance, symbolism or representation? (Giving to a purpose)
GOLD: – The gift of gold was the most appropriate for both honouring a king and worshipping him. Gold is symbolic of Divinity. It is symbolic of wealth and royalty. The essential symbol identifying a king was a golden crown on his head. God is the ultimate Sovereign and His Son is the King of kings (Revelations 17:14).
The gift of gold was therefore symbolic of the divinity of Christ – God in flesh. It was also symbolic of his royalty and kingship.
When God instructed the children of Israel to build the tabernacle in Exodus 25, gold was one of the prominent things that was required. The same is true of Solomon’s temple.
Notwithstanding, these beautiful and meaningful edifices were only prototypes or symbolic of Jesus and His heavenly kingdom and our future home (Revelations 21:18, 21).
Revelations 21:18-19, 21
18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
FRANKINCENSE: – Frankincense is a white resin or gum obtained from the bark of a tree by making incisions on it for the gum to flow out. It is highly fragrant when burned and was therefore used in worship where it was burnt as a pleasant offering to God (Exodus 30:34).
It is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. The gift of frankincense to baby Jesus was symbolic of His willingness to become a sacrifice, wholly giving Himself up as a burnt offering for you and me.
MYRRH: – Was also obtained from a tree just like frankincense. It was a spice and was used in embalming. It was also sometimes mixed with wine to give it an anesthetic quality. That is what was given to Christ when He was about to be crucified (Mark 15:23, Matthew 27:34).
Myrrh symbolizes bitterness, suffering, and affliction. Baby Jesus will grow up and suffer greatly for you and me.
From the Bible Knowledge Commentary, the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were gifts worthy of a king and this act by Gentile leaders pictures the wealth of the nations which will someday be completely given to the Messiah and by extension to His church (Isa 60:5,11; 61:6; 66:20; Zeph 3:10; Hag 2:7-8).
Isaiah 60:5, 11
5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
11 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
6 But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.
10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.
7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.
8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.
Therefore, the gifts were significant in reflecting on the character of this Child’s life. Gold represents His deity or purity, incense the fragrance of His life, and myrrh His sacrifice and death. These gifts were obviously the means by which Joseph took his family to Egypt and sustained them there until Herod died.
This story of THE WISE MEN reveals that the gospel triumphs over the world where it is most influential, and reduces the wise, rich, and great into willing subjects of Christ.
It also reveals that Science helps and should strengthen faith. Scholarship is not antagonistic to Faith. Eastwood Anaba says that “when spiritualism marries intellectualism, a higher realm of living is produced. Finally, we are reminded from this story that knowledge requires action. Faith without work is dead. LET’S THEREFORE GO AND DO LIKEWISE.