-Matthew 2:1-2 2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, ‚ÄúWhere is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.
I try and be TIME conscious when speaking. I did not have time for this Sunday - so here it is .. for anyone interested ..
Title: "It's all about the Star" ....
I didn't have time to give you this info on Sunday ..
Last Sunday .. I spoke from Matt 2 ... primarily about the "wise men" (Magi) - who they were and where they came from ... !!
NOW THE FIRST PART HERE may be BORING - BUT AT THE END - A REALLY UNEXPECTED LEFT HOOK!!!!!
They were somewhat mysterious .. and the Bible gives us little information about them .. so I studied the "global world" at that time .. and the words of 2 secular (apart from Christianity) historians/philosophers and geographers... Josephus, a Jewish historian (who lived during the time and beyond Christ .. and Strabo, (who lived during and until the time Jesus was about 20yrs old) a Greek historian and geographer and the most traveled man of his day ... he even made a map of the known world .. it was really neat .. but kind of funny .. took in the surrounding areas of the Arab and Israeli world and some of Europe, tiny bit of Asia, and Egypt (Africa) ...
The wise men were astrologers - hence, perhaps that is why they so readily recognized a STAR in the sky which was not normally there .. anyway - they were MEDES ... from the Persian Empire - Medes were a defeated lot of revolutionists from Persian .. or "the east" . .. Medes/Persians (Isralites left from the Babylonian captivity )..
NEAT POINT = the WISEMEN were like a 3rd tier JEW . they did NOT have the entire TORAH or scriptures that the Samaritans or Israelites had .... and they were really somewhat . .. somewhat .. unknown .. they became, not unlike the Levites .... a colony of Priests ... although they were wealthy ..
they had an innate desire to find God, more specifically the Messiah ... what did GOD do for these 1/2 Jews .. if that .. little scripture .... lived WAY far away from Jerusalem (Strabo, journeys took him to the border, if not into, what is now called China - with a border of 47 miles to Persia - now Turkey ... SO - they actually COULD ... COULD have come from POSSIBLY inside China .. "FAR EAST"
They carried GOLD among other things.. IT WAS A LONG DANGEROUS JOURNEY .... probably months ...
NOW - The Left Hook ... he gave them a STAR !!!
We have seen it over Nativities .. in songs .. "Star of the East oh Bethlehem Star" .. we read it every year or more !! But a STAR ...
what a phenomena .!!. A STAR IN THE HEAVENS .... REALLY? YES!!!!
If you "hunger and thirst after righteousness" ... The GOD who gives EXTRAORDINARY Stars in the heavens .... Will definitely take care of you ... lead you ? Look for the STAR .... it comes in SO MANY forms now .. but the nature of God ... is to give us the equivalent to the STAR .... something - just unbelievable !!! I really do believe that .. !!
What weighs you down? - you know HIM better than the wise men - HOW MUCH MORE WILL HE HELP YOU AND SHOW YOU THE PATH and the way you should go .. because you hunger for HIM and ... want to FIND His WILL .... keep walking ... you will run into the star .... I promise on the authority of GOD's Word .. The Star of Christmas and Christianity ... is JESUS ... the true STAR .... like the magi, wise men - don't take your eyes off the STAR ... He is ALL that really matters ....
When I was in Alma, MI
pastoring in the 70's .... the local hospital called me at 4am in the morning
... they said "Rev Dougherty" .. "Mr
H_____, who you have been visiting wants to talk to you - he is dying" ..
wow: I was about 24 yrs old .. far from having my
B.A. degree in Bible .. and when professionals address you as "REV"
... they expect you know something
The Setting: Mr H___ - [respectfully] was an arrogant man who perceived himself as knowing all about God - .. hurting and dying - he became increasing difficult and hard to get along with .... until this early morning ...
I walked into the room ... first thing he said was "Gary, I am lost and don't know God ... help me ... how do I find hope, help, and God" .... I immediately showed and read to him 1 John 1:9 "if we confess our sins He is FAITHFUL to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness" - those words really hit home in Mr H___'s heart !! He did confess he was a sinner .. he trusted Christ unconditionally - and proclaimed Christ as his Savior in the stillness of early morning !!!!!
Interestingly, he did not die right away .... he lived a week or so .. or more.
I got another call in the middle of the day ... from Alma Hospital ... it was their Psychiatric and Welfare Dept .. the voice on the other end said "Rev Dougherty, would you come down to the hospital and talk to a group of social workers - several Dr's of Psychiatry and their aids for a few minutes .. " "we have some questions for you" ... nervously ... this 24 yr old preacher said "sure" (reluctantly, but I had to - it was my duty) ...
I got there at the appointed time .. we met in a relatively small office .. I was seated centrally in proximity to about 6 or 7 - Dr's and social workers in white coats .. one individual seemed to be the spokesperson .. they started "Mr H___ was a hand full .... but after you came and saw him when he thought he was dying .... he CHANGED drastically and unbelievably BETTER and good!-- we would like to know "what did you tell him - what did you say ... ?" ... I could only think of ONE THING ... so I said " I introduced him to Jesus Christ! And he confessed his sins and trusted Christ .. and it became apparent that he truly found Christ as his personal Savior which gave him true peace and an outlook/peace not found in this world" .... "he had the assurance of sins forgiven and he was assured that heaven was his home" ... the group of Dr's (and white coats) ... mostly were quiet ... and talked more and further .. and still seemed a little puzzled as they sat there ... quietly pondering what I had just said .... they were kind and respectful .... and thank me for coming and sharing with them.
You see ...
Whatever you are going through .... whatever you have done as a sinner or a saint ... LOOK to the Star of Christianity the Lord Jesus Christ and he WILL NOT FAIL YOU ... cause He is the GIVER of STARS to show you the way .. I promise with all my heart .. I can say from experience and with the Psalmist "I once young and now I'm old .... and I have never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging bread" ...
Follow the Star ..... you'll be just fine!! You'll see it!!