Why We Three Kings is my least favorite Christmas Song.
- More than three people traveled from far away lands to find Jesus, the newborn King. A huge caravan was needed to make the long trip. It was large enough and grand enough to get King Herod’s attention when they came to Jerusalem.
- They brought more than three gifts. They opened treasure chests of gifts (Matthew 2:11) which included gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
- They weren’t kings. The Magi were an ancient combination of scientist and priest. They were wise interpreters of dreams and studied the heavens for answers and signs. They were educated, respected, powerful, well connected, and influential, but not kings.
- By the time the Magi planned their trip, financed the trip, and completed their long and difficult trip, Jesus was no longer a babe in the manger. He was a year or so old.
The Wise Ones are seeking. They are doing the best they can to figure out the answers, and so are we. God honors and answers our seeking.
What do they bring?
- Gold- They expect to find a king. They were searching for a leader who is worthy to be followed, worthy to give our allegiance.
- Frankincense- Used to offer prayers. In the ancient world many rulers, like Caesar, proclaimed themselves gods. They were searching for something greater than themselves, the Divine, one who is worthy to be worshiped.
- Myrrh- Used for embalming and used as medicine. They were looking for one who would bring them healing and wholeness.
We’re looking for the same things.
Like us, the Magi go to the logical place looking for those answers. They go to King Herod, the bearer of empire and worldly power. Herod the Great, the one who rebuilt Judea, brought relative peace to the region and rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem, a wonder of the ancient world.
Herod was also a literal madman. Paranoid of any threat to his power and position, he had multiple family members murdered including his wife, mother-in-law, a couple of brothers-in-law, and three of his children. Herod is the villain of the Christmas story. The only things we find with him are deception and violence.
The Wise Ones eventually make their way to Bethlehem. They find the Child and they find what they are looking for.
- They find One who is worthy to be followed. Jesus, the One who will shepherd the people, who will tend the flock. In the city of David, they find One who is a good shepherd, a servant King, who will lay down His life for the sheep.
- They find One who is God, who is worthy to be worshiped. Not someone who is pretending to be God, nor someone who sits on the throne of his own heart. Jesus, the One who is worthy to sit on the throne of our hearts. The Word of God made flesh. The Love of God made real. The One who is always near, always good, always strong.
- They find the One who brings us hope and light and healing and wholeness. Truth, not lies. Life, not violence and death.
What do they do? They lay their gifts before Him and they lay themselves before Him and they rejoice with exceedingly great joy for they have found what they are looking for.
The good news my friend is Jesus will still be found. God honors and answers your seeking. Jesus is what you’re looking for.
The Wise Ones do not return by way of Herod. They return home new and by a new road. Let us do the same.
This sermon recording concludes with a time for prayer and a Great Thanksgiving before Holy Communion.
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.
sermon © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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