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Series A

The Festival Of Epiphany

Option #1: "How the Bible Describes Wise Men and Women"
Matthew 2:1-12
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

I. Based upon knowledge from God’s Word, they seek Him

    A. Daniel had planted the seed of faith hundreds of years earlier while a slave in Babylon

    B. God had given him a vision of the coming Savior-King
       1. Dan 2:44-45
       2. Lk 1:30-33
       3. We are to bow before Him in faith–Phil 2:9-11

II. They have great joy in Jesus

     A. Text, v10

     B. The word for “joy” is CHARA–closely related to “grace”

     C. If we are to have “joy,” it must come from God
         1. It is joy in God’s promises kept–Lk 2:10
         2. It is joy in Jesus’ victory over evil–Lk 10:17
         3. It is joy in a child-like faith in Jesus–Lk 10:21
         4. It is joy in the risen Jesus–Matt 28:9
         5. It is joy in seeing Jesus face to face–Lk 24:41

III. They worship Him

 A. It is said of the Wise Men that they “prostrated themselves” before the Lord Jesus (compare to the Moslem prayer position)

 B. It is the word used by Jesus in response to Satan’s temptation in Luke 4:8: “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only”

 C. Worship (bow down) and service (hired service–work!)

 D. The Wise Men brought the fruits of their labors with their gifts

       1. The word is thesauros–that which is laid before God–which A.T. Robertson explains: opening their treasures–here “treasures” means “caskets,” from the verb (titheômi), receptacle for valuables. In the ancient writers it meant “treasury.” So a “storehouse,” as in Matthew 13:52. Then it means the things laid up in store, treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20), in Christ (Colossians 2:3). In their “caskets” the Magi had gold, frankincense, and myrrh, all found at that time in Arabia, though gold was found in Babylon and elsewhere

     2. We cannot separate service from worship, for worship involves sacrifice–living sacrifices, as in Rom 12:1-2
        a. Song–Ps. 69:30
        b. Repentance–1 Cor 5:7
        c.  Joy–Phil 2:17
        d. A pure and sincere heart–Heb 10:22
        e. Lips that tell of God’s goodness–Heb 13:15
        f. Works of service–Heb 13:16

 Note: so many today have “cheap grace” notions. God’s grace paid the ultimate price–His only Son. Our response is to be costly and extensive in response to God’s costly grace. Cf TLH 128, v3; also Malachi 1:8

John MacArthur writes:

    The Savior of the world is also the true King of the world and He will not be Savior of those who will not accept Him as Lord. As wonderful as Jesus’ saviorhood was to them, the early Christians’ first known creed was “Jesus is Lord,” acknowledging His rule.

    The great British admiral Lord Nelson was known for treating vanquished opponents with courtesy and kindness. After one naval victory a defeated officer strode confidently across the quarterdeck of Nelson’s ship and offered the admiral his hand. With his own hand remaining at his side, Nelson replied, “Your sword first, sir, and then your hand.” Before we can be Christ’s friends, we must be His subjects. He must be our Lord before He can be our elder Brother.

    Frankincense was a costly, beautiful-smelling incense that was used only for the most special of occasions. It was used in the grain offerings at the Tabernacle and Temple (Lev 2:2, 15-16), in certain royal processions (Song of Sol 3:6-7), and sometimes at weddings if it could be afforded.  Origen, the great church Father, suggested that frankincense was the incense of deity. In the Old Testament it was stored in a special chamber in front of the Temple and was sprinkled on certain offerings as a symbol of the people’s desire to please the Lord.

    Myrrh was also a perfume, not quite so expensive as frankincense but nevertheless valuable. Some interpreters suggest that myrrh represents the gift for a mortal, emphasizing Jesus’ humanity. This perfume is mentioned often in Scripture, beginning in Genesis (37:25; 43:11). Mixed with wine it was also used as an anesthetic (Mark 15:23), and mixed with other spices it was used in preparation of bodies for burial, even Jesus’ body (John 19:39).

    Those were the magi's gifts to Jesus: gold for His royalty, frankincense for His deity, and myrrh for His humanity. With their mission of worship and adoration completed, the magi left Bethlehem. But having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.

 +  +  +

Option #2: "Modern-Day Magi?"
Matthew 2:1-12
Rev. Kelly Bedard

A. The text indicates three responses to Jesus

    1. Religion in disguise (King Herod)

    2. Informed religiosity (chief priests and teachers of the law)

    3. Costly yet joyful--"asteronomical"!--worship (wise men)

B. Jesus' response to us

    1. Gives us the royal treatment: gold--daily bread plus!

    2. Makes us into a priesthood of pray-ers: frankincense--a sweet-smelling aroma!

    3. Dies for us: myrrh--and rises, thank God!


1. magos (v1): wise man, sorcerer; a magus; the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, augers, soothsayers, sorcerers etc.; the oriental wise men (astrologers) who, having discovered by the rising of a remarkable star that the Messiah had just been born, came to Jerusalem to worship him; a false prophet and sorcerer

2. tarasso (v3): trouble; to agitate, trouble (a thing, by the movement of its parts to and fro); to cause one inward commotion, take away calmness of mind, disturb equanimity; to disquiet, make restless; to stir up; to trouble; to strike one's spirit with fear and dread; to render anxious or distressed; to perplex the mind of one by suggesting scruples or doubts

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