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Wise men still seek him.

Wise men still seek him.

DECEMBER 21, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / Wise men still seek him.

Steve Brown:
Wise men still seek him. Let’s talk about it, on this edition of Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew, executive producer for the program, and our host is author and seminary professor Steve Brown. The church has suffered under do more, try harder religion for too long, and Key Life is here to proclaim that Jesus sets the captives free.

Steve Brown:
Hey Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey. How you doing?

Steve Brown:
I’m doing good for Christmas week. In fact, I’m feeling even some of the Christmas spirit.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s great. Cause you know, around here, around Key Life, they think that you’re the scrooge.

Steve Brown:
Well, they’re right to a degree, but I’m better, but I don’t want to disappoint them. So I say, bah humbug often. We’re in Christmas week and Pete and I are just looking at the Scripture, but we’re doing that with a prayer, that God’s Spirit comes and takes something that we’ve heard so often and applies it to our minds and our hearts and our lives, and reminds us that this really happened. So, let’s continue with the Scripture and we’ll talk about it.

Pete Alwinson:
All right. The power of the Word of God to continue to speak to us, matthew 2: verse 1.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled in all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘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.'”

Steve Brown:
You know, this, we’re kind of out of chronological order here and it becomes this story of the wise men, such a part of the Christmas story, that sometimes we miss that this incident happened later.

Pete Alwinson:
Yes. In fact, as you look a little bit further down, Matthew 2: verses 19, 17 and following, it really says that when Herod went after the infants, it was two years of age and younger. So, you’re right.

Steve Brown:
So, this was a much later thing, but it has this important statement, for the Christmas story. All of a sudden, what is happening, Jews in a little place, nowhereville, what is happening to Jews has universal, gigantic implications. And the wise men are the way that God communicates in our Scriptures, that the provincialism of religion is dangerous.

Pete Alwinson:
Mm. What do you mean by that?

Steve Brown:
I mean by that, that this is for you. It’s for all of you. It’s for every race and culture and language. It’s for you, the world, for God so loved the world. You know, one of the amazing things about Christmas is that it swept the world. You know, it wasn’t, it didn’t stay in Israel, it took over the entire world. And this is where God begins to remind us that provincialism is not Christian, that racially it’s, racism is a sin, that the kind of thing that we have a tendency to stay with our own whatever is a sin. That this is for you and it’s for the whole world.

Pete Alwinson:
You know, you’re so right and really there’s nobody more racist in the first century than the Jews.

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
And they should have known better from the Abrahamic Covenant way back in Genesis 12.

All the nations of the world will be blessed through you.

But you know, over time they lost completely their unique role.

Steve Brown:
And we do too, don’t we?

Pete Alwinson:
We can too.

Steve Brown:
If we’re not careful.

Pete Alwinson:
We can think that we’re the chosen of God and nobody, God didn’t care about anybody else.

Steve Brown:
And then this story continues and it’s kind of scary. Why don’t you read the rest of the, the rest of the story of the wise men?

Pete Alwinson:
Okay.

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 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.” 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 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. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Steve Brown:
You know, there’s a lesson here, isn’t there? That we need to be very careful. You know, we, you had said on an earlier broadcast that we’re living in a culture where we’re no longer the majority. We’ve got to live as a minority. And one of the problems is, we can buy into the lies that are told. Herod lied, you know, he wanted to kill off this baby that they were going to worship. And in that lie, God intervened and he still does that with his people. We hear so much, especially if you’re in a minority, you begin to think, well, maybe they’re right. No, they’re not. You’re right, if you’re a Christian, that doesn’t mean you’re right politically, about everything else, but you’re right about this and this is absolutely true and it really happened, and I love the fact that God told us about Herod because in telling us that, he warns us about the nature of the world. They really don’t like us very much.

Pete Alwinson:
They really don’t. And Herod is as close to absolute power as anybody came. He was into Rome, but he had control of that whole region.

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
And you’re right. And so, we tend to cringe under power, when we’re the minority, as did the Jews, to some extent.

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
And so, we have to remember the truth, what we learned in the light. How does your phrase go again?

Steve Brown:
Don’t doubt in the dark what God taught you in the light. That’s not mine.

Pete Alwinson:
I started to say it and then I realized I didn’t have it.

Steve Brown:
Well, you can reverse that too. Never doubt in the light what God taught you in the dark.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, that’s true. Yeah.

Steve Brown:
Because you learn a lot in those places. Were the wise men astrologists?

Pete Alwinson:
They may well have been, you know, they read the, they watched the stars, they may have really been immersed in the pagan ideology of their day. And, which is fascinating and really.

Steve Brown:
It really is.

Pete Alwinson:
It really doubles back to this whole idea for God’s so love the world that, and that phrase in John chapter three means that he doesn’t just love Jews. God loves the world. He loves people of every kind of ethnicity. And so, these guys, God got their attention in a very unique way.

Steve Brown:
In a forbidden way, by the way. The Old Testament is clear about this isn’t something that God’s covenant people should mess with, and yet God uses everything to glorify himself, even pagan philosophy.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. So, at Christmas, as we think of the gift of Jesus for our salvation, we could also think of the gifts of the circumstances that he has used to bring us to the end of ourselves, to bring us to really understand who Jesus is. And Christmas is kind of a, it’s not only the birthday of Christ, but it can be a reminder of our story as well. And what God used, like he used this radical thing in the lives of these white men.

Steve Brown:
It’s happened and it happens, I bet you if we took time to think about it in our own lives, we would know places, as we look at our own story, where God used really crazy things. Things that weren’t Christian, a song, a film, a book that we read to begin to plant in us the desire that we would know the truth. And that’s the truth of Christmas.

Pete Alwinson:
Wow. So powerful. And we sometimes bemoan our story and the things that happen to us in childhood, when God often uses those very things, an out of control dad, an absent mother, or a childhood sickness to prepare our hearts to receive the good news of Christ.

Steve Brown:
And so, a part of Christmas is a time when we remember God’s sovereignty over everything, that God is working his will and his way. When you look at world history, when you look at wars and hunger, when you look at the hatred and division, just remember that all of it has a purpose that will eventually glorify God and eventually bring us to another Advent.

Pete Alwinson:
Absolutely.

Steve Brown:
We do at Christmas. You know, we call it Advent, the weeks that precede it, but it’s not just the first Advent we remember, it’s the second.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, we’re getting ready, this one prepares us for his second coming.

Steve Brown:
And that is just as true as the Christmas story. As a matter of fact, Jesus came once as a baby, weak, suffering, hung on a cross, but when he returns the next time, he’s going to return with power and might, and he’s going to clean up the mess. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
That was Steve Brown and our friend Pete Alwinson, continuing to discuss the wonder of Christmas and the idea of thanking God for the circumstances that bring us to him. And once again, our text today was Matthew 2:1 through 12. So, as we rapidly approach the end of this year, we’d just like to take one more opportunity to say thank you for faithfully visiting us at Keylife.org. We’ve made a lot of updates in 2022 to keep the website fresh with new features, and I’d love to tell you just about some of those. If you go to keylife.org/biblereading you’ll find a very cool new project. It’s Steve reading entire books of the Bible. Also be sure to check out Keylife.org/simplysermons that’s our latest podcast, and it features digitally remastered, full link sermons from Steve. Oh, and if you’re looking for a thoughtful Christmas gift, stop by the Keylife.org/store you’ll find Steve’s newest book there, Laughter and Lament, plus a whole bunch of other cool stuff. And of course, all of these features are free, thanks to the generous support of listeners just like you. If you’d like to donate, just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. If you’d like to send your donation by mail, just go to key life.org/contact to find our addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Or e-mail [email protected] You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. And of course you can now gift safely and securely just by texting Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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