The Visit of the Wise Men (Listen)
2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men1 from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose2 and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
NKJ Proverbs 29:4 The king establishes the land by justice, But he who receives bribes overthrows it.
When the true king reigns, the people rejoice.
It seems like for the past 15 years the news is constantly talking about refuges. Libya, Sudan, Syria, south America, eastern Europe, half the world is trying to get away from their own land and find a different nation with a different king. They are discontent with their leaders, and they have good reason to be. They are seeking a better land.
It is easy for us to be unappreciative and discontent with our leaders over little things. It’s easy for us to forget how lucky we are. It is easy to forget how many blessings come from the Lord through our government even if they are not exactly righteous people. Our land is not without its problem to be sure but so much better than the lands these people are fleeing from. These leave behind lands filled with war and violence and rejoice if they are able to find their way to Europe or America or Canada. They rejoice to find a better “king.”
In the same way we might forget and be unappreciative of the joy that is ours because Jesus is our King. The wisemen left their land and traveled far to find a newborn king and when they did, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. We often forget to rejoice that this king is ours and has been ours since birth.
Psalm 72:2-3 2 He will judge Your people with righteousness, And Your poor with justice. 3 The mountains will bring peace to the people, And the little hills, by righteousness.
Sorrow Not, Rejoice, Jesus is your king.
In our text the people of Jerusalem trembled with fear because their king was Herod. But the wisemen rejoiced with exceedingly great joy because their king was Jesus.
King Herod was an Edomite, a descendant of Esau not of Jacob. He was a cousin to the people of Jacob, the people of Israel, but was not himself an Israelite. He was not an Israelite much less a descendant of David. He had no right to rule Israel but gained the throne by force and cunning. Having gained the throne he tried to win the people over with bribes and with force. Having gained the throne by the sword, he ruled by the sword. He did not have the hearts of the people, therefore there was much sorrow.
Jesus was of the line of David the true king. He was born in the city of David, Bethlehem. Testimony was given, by the star, that he was the true king. He was the son of Mary and the adopted son of Joseph.
Being the true king, chosen by the Father, of the line of David Jesus did not and does not rule by force or fear. The wisemen didn’t just give presents to Jesus, they gave their hearts to Jesus. He rules in the hearts of his people and thus there is great rejoicing for God’s people when Jesus rules as king.
Sorrow Not, Rejoice, Jesus is your king.
Herod gave them everything they could ask for. A great grand temple, a strong fortified land, with a well-trained army, prosperity and wealth. By all accounts outwardly he was a great king and Israel prospered under his hand.
What does Jesus offer? Forgiveness of sins, eternal life, the knowledge of truth. Yet the wisemen rejoiced greatly and the people of Jerusalem trembled with fear.
The same is true in our day. Our government gives welfare, and riches and prosperity such as no nation in the world has ever known. Yet suicide and depression and violence and discontent grow and increase like a disease in our nation. Everything that people could think that they want from a government or a king our nation gives. Yet it is never enough. If you seek joy in earthly prosperity, you will never be satisfied.
Ecc 5:10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income.
Even though they hated Herod, even though they knew the place of Jesus birth, even though they heard about the star announcing his birth, still the people of Jerusalem did not seek out Jesus. If they did not want Herod, they did want his wealth, and there was no room in their hearts for another King.
But the wisemen desired nothing but Jesus as their king. The searched him out from a much greater distance. Jesus offers the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, these are the things that make for our joy.
Sorrow Not, Rejoice Jesus is your king.
There are different kinds of joy. There is the joy of falling in love. The joy of pie or cheesecake. Or the joy of a sunny summer day by the lake. There is also the more subtle and long-lasting joy of living in a land with a good king in days of peace.
Jesus is the true king, the king who rules in our hearts through love not by force, the king who gives peace and everlasting life and eternal joy. Sorrow Not, Jesus comes to rule in peace. Sorrow Not, Rejoice Jesus is your king.
5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jer. 23:5-6 NKJ)