Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Wise Men Who Missed The Savior

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” (Matthew 2:1-12)

Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the story of the wise men that traveled from the east to Jerusalem in search of the Christ child. It is a favorite subject of many Christmas sermons, children’s plays, and holiday television specials.

According to the story:

• The wise men followed a star in the sky – a star known as the Star of Bethlehem.

• They first went to Jerusalem to ask where the “King of the Jews” had been born.

• They were secretly brought before King Herod who questioned them thoroughly about their quest.

• King Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem in search of the child, and he requested they tell him of the child’s whereabouts.

• The wise men found the young Savior, and they presented him with three gifts -- gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

• The wise men were warned in a dream not to return to King Herod.

Yes, we know about these famous wise men that traveled from the east in search of the Savior. However, there is another group of wise men who did not go to Bethlehem in search of the Christ child. In fact, these wise men missed the Savior all together.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fear Not, Joseph

“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:20)

Most of us have experienced fear at one time or another. Some of us are afraid of lightening storms. Others are afraid of heights. Then there are those who fear taking tests, public speaking, and some even fear bees.

The Bible contains many instances of people who feared one thing or another. However, in many of these instances God told them to “fear not.” Here are some “fear nots” of Christmas.

First there is a “fear not” for Zacharias. You may recall that Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth wanted to have children, but Elizabeth had been unable to get pregnant and they were now both up in age. Luke 1:13 tells us that God sent an angel to him and “the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.”

There is a “fear not” for Mary who was told that she would bear a child even though she had not known a man. Luke 1:30 reads, “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.”

And, there is a “fear not” for the shepherds who were watching their flocks in the fields the night of Jesus’ birth … “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10)

Know that Joseph also needed a “fear not.”

Everything in Joseph’s life had been going well for him. He was engaged to the girl of his dreams. They were making plans for their future. In his eyes life couldn’t get any better.

But then, he discovered that Mary was with child, and he knew he wasn’t the father. He instantly believed that the woman he loved and planned to spend the rest of his life with had betrayed him. Suddenly his world came crashing down around him. Instead of being excited for the future, be became full of fear.

There are times in our life when we too become fearful like Joseph. We become fearful when we’ve been let down, when we worry about public opinion, and during times of mental anguish. Today I am going to share some “fear nots” for times when we feel like Joseph.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Why a Manger Instead of a Palace?

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:4-7)

Every now and then we hear a story about a mother giving birth in an unusual place. Some of these events have even made the news.

• There was a woman in San Antonio who gave birth to her baby at a BBQ restaurant
• There was a woman in New York who gave birth while her cab was stuck in traffic at a tunnel toll booth.
• And, there was a Utah woman who gave birth to her baby in the bathroom of a local Wal-Mart.

By our standards the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ in a room designated for keeping livestock could be considered an unusual birth, and might even initiate a call to Child Protective Services.

But, have you ever wondered why Christ was laid in a manger, rather than in the comfort of a cradle in a palace? The answer can be found in three words: rejection, redemption, and reachability.