Come, Let Us Worship Him

Matthew 2:1-12

By Daniel Mayfield

There are six truths, I think, that can be found from the text that was just read a moment ago. And so, I’m going to give you a brief overview of them, and then we will try and unpack them individual as they appear in the text. 

 

  1. Jesus is to be worshiped because He is the Christ

  2. The reign of Christ is not bound by geographical borders or particular ethnic confines 

  3. The worship of Jesus is troubling to many, and as a result, a threat to those who do receive Him.

  4. God will bend laws of nature in order to get people to Jesus 

  5. The catalyst behind true, God-glorifying worship is joy 

  6. A sincere reception of Jesus is to be met with the relinquishment of perishable treasures. 

 

 

  1. Jesus is to be worshiped because He is the Christ

    1. Read with me in verses 1-2: “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.’” 

    2. First of all, we don’t know exactly what star was seen by these wise men. We don’t know how they knew to come and worship Jesus by seeing a star. So, let’s not get hung up on what exactly happened to draw their attention to Jerusalem. The point is that they came to worship Him because He is the King. 

    3. The question is, why is it that His kingship led to a desire to worship Him? Why would the qualifier of Jesus-worship be that He is king? 

      1. Immediately in the context we read of another king named Herod. And 40 years earlier than this point the Romans decided he would be king. So, if he was king of the Jews, then why wasn’t he being worshiped? 

      2. In addition to this, Jesus was a baby! So, what about Him would demand that He be worshiped? 

      3. You’ve got several potential kings in their childhood state at any given time, and you don’t see people traveling to worship them. Further, you’ve got a king right here in the context, Herod, and nobody is worshiping him! So why Jesus? 

      4. Well, the answer is given in chapter 1 when the prophecy is foretold that His name would be “God with us.” He was the product of the Holy Spirit entering Mary’s womb and then producing a child! He was God! 

        1. This baby didn’t begin his existence in 0 AD! 

        2. Read with me in verse 4. After the wisemen told Herod that they were seeking to worship Jesus, this was Herod’s response—“and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.” 

        3. Now, where did he get the idea that this king was referencing the Christ? Well, he probably got it from the wisemen! Even he knew that you wouldn’t just worship any old king. So, to him, this must have meant that the Messiah was coming. Christ means messiah in Greek. 

        4. Now, after Herod inquired as to where the Christ would be born, the chief priests and scribes answered him and said in verses 5-6, “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.’”

          1. Now, Herod’s question only pertained to where the Christ was going to be born. So, they only quoted the portion of Micah’s prophecy that dealt with where this would take place. 

          2. But a better question of Herod would have been, Who will the Christ be? And if he would have asked that additional question, they would have been able to continue reading in Micah 5, which proceeds to say, “from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (S0, this adds some context to ‘God with us’ being His name. Ancient of days! John tells us that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.)3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. 4     And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. 5 And he shall be their peace.” 

        5. Jesus, the Messiah—the one whose coming forth is from ancient of days, the one who rested the government on his shoulders, the one who would sit on the throne of David forever, the Christ—is to be worshiped because He is the decisive king to end all kings! 

      5. Now, I know that there are some who are confused and uneasy and don’t want to step outside of the confines of scriptural authority, and they ask if we are able to sing praises to Jesus, or if we are able to talk to Jesus by name in prayer. Well, this passage is the answer! Not only can we worship Jesus, but we are demanded to worship Jesus, if it truly is the case that He is God with us, the king of Israel! 

    4. He’s to be worshiped because He is a king unlike any other king. 

  2. The reign of Christ is not bound by geographical borders or particular ethnic confines 

    1. In the states right now there is a big controversy on immigration policies. Up till now our borders have been pretty well unprotected, and many many many people have crossed over illegally. And the debate has multiple layers, but some say we should grant these immigrants amnesty, and others say we should send them back to their countries. Some are saying we should tighten our borders and prohibit this continual influx of foreign nationals.

    2. You know, we live in a world where boundaries are very often determined by manmade lines. You know, this is MY property. This is MY land. This is MY country. This is MY president. All of these lines drawn up. And for a long time Israel had the understanding that God only cared about their tiny little geographical speck in the world’s landscape. 

    3. Well, Matthew sort of opens his gospel by leaving that mentality open to debate. The text tells us in verse 1 that wise men from the east came to Jerusalem. 

      1. The word translated as “wise men” is the Greek word “magoi,” which, according to BDAG, means a Persian who was especially skilled in astrology and very knowledgeable of other religions. These are very well studied people. 

      2. But, they are Gentiles! You’d expect that the first people to worship Jesus would be the Jewish men and women who had been waiting for the coming Messiah, but Matthew instead points out these unclean Gentiles. 

    4. Why is it that the first account of worship in Matthew’s gospel involves unclean, dirty Gentiles? Because he’s making the point that Jesus Christ is not going to only be the king for Israel! The belief that God only cared about this tiny little rectangle along the Mediterranean Sea is going to now be put to rest. Although, they should have known this from multiple prophecies. 

      1. Micah 4:2 says, “and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” Notice, MANY nations will go to the mountain of the Lord.

      2. Isaiah 2:2 says, “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it.” 

      3. Now, you KNOW we are talking about a spiritual kingdom there! We know this because rivers don’t ever flow to the mountains! Rivers flow DOWN the mountains. 

    5. Now, later on in Matthew 15:24 the point is made by Jesus Himself that He came to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel. So, how does that jive with the point that His reign will not be bound to Israel? Well, the answer is that during his earthly, physical ministry he was only dealing with the people of Israel. But notice what Jesus says after He’s been raised from the dead in Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” 

      1. While his earthly ministry may have involved a specific group of people for a specific time, Jesus has now been raised high above all of His enemies, and He’s standing and reigning over Satan and over the demons and over death itself and over every earthly kingdom, and He’s saying, “Go into the whole world! Let every tribe, tongue, and people come unto me as their king.” 

      2. And here we are, 2000 years since Christ’s ministry, and we are proclaiming Christ as our king as we worship Him on this tiny little island of Grand Cayman. We could only do that if His kingship extended into all the world. 

  3. The worship of Jesus is troubling to many, and as a result, a threat to those who do receive Him.

    1. While the Gentiles win the day for being righteous and pious in their attention of some obscure star, and their desire to then go and worship the King, we see two other responses to the birth of Jesus here in Matthew’s account. 

    2. Read with me in verse 3: “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

    3. They were troubled. All of Jerusalem was troubled, along with Herod. I suspect Herod was troubled because a new king meant some kind of threat to his throne, but the rest of Israel was troubled because they knew what kind of lunatic Herod was. He was a paranoid madman. 

    4. Anyways, the chief priests and scribes told Herod that Christ would be born in Bethlehem, in the land of Judah. So, wouldn’t you expect that with this knowledge of the star that some of these people would go to search for the baby? Do you know how far away Bethlehem was from Jerusalem? 5 miles! The wisemen coming from Persia have traveled at LEAST 400 miles to see the Christ. And you’ve now got the Christ born 5 miles away and nobody is going to see him. Apathy. That’s non-worshipful response number 1. 

    5. And non-worshipful response number 2, if not apathy, is hostility. 

      1. “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.’” 

      2. Now drop down to verse 13: “Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’” 

    6. If your response to Jesus is not to come and worship, it will always be one of those two responses, either apathy or hostility. 

      1. “I don’t care who Jesus is, I don’t need Him. I’m just fine without Him, etc.” 

      2. OR, you may not be able to kill Jesus—you can’t—but you might seek to destroy him by shutting down a message that is coming in his name. I was out door knocking recently, and the lady after hearing why I was at her door, looked at me disgustingly as if I had spoken something vile to her, and said, “ABSOLUTELY NOT!”, and she slammed the door in my face. 

      3. But, we are going to see in Matthew that any attempt to destroy Jesus only aided God’s eternal plan, and any apathy towards him would be their downfall. 

      4. One would seldom find a hostile to Jesus person sitting in a church pew, but I believe that apathy probably creeps in among some of you at times, and if this is you, pray that God open the eyes of your heart to see Him in all His glory. 

  4. God will bend laws of nature in order to get people to Jesus 

    1. Verse 9 says, “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.” 

    2. I was looking at some explanations for this star online, and the theories are many. Some say that it clearly wasn’t a star because stars don’t move south, they move west, and Bethlehem was south of Jerusalem. Some say it couldn’t have been a star because stars don’t just settle over houses. 

    3. Others say that it was a supernova, or a comet, or some massing of planets. 

    4. And you know what? Some get so caught up in these types of things that they totally miss the point! We don’t have a clue what it was in the sky. But the point is quite simple—God bent the laws of nature in some way or another to ensure these men got to Jesus! 

    5. It just baffles me that some Christians would argue that it couldn’t have been a star because stars don’t move south; they move west. It baffles me! God is going to take a man who has totally crippled legs in this gospel and he’s going to call him to stand up! 

    6. You know, there are many people in the world that don’t know Jesus today. And that’s sad to me. But the principle of this text is that anybody searching for truth is going to find it. God is big enough to provide a way, even if he has to bend the laws of nature to make it happen! 

  5. The catalyst behind true, God-glorifying worship is joy 

    1. Verse 10-11 says, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they fell down and worshiped him.” 

    2. They didn’t just rejoice! They didn’t just greatly rejoice! They rejoiced exceedingly with great joy! Matthew used four descriptors to make crystal clear the disposition of these wise men. 

    3. Can you imagine these giddy ol’ pagans jumping and shouting for joy as they left Jerusalem to go and see the king Jesus!? 

    4. Shouldn’t this be our attitude about coming to worship Him? I mean, why would we ever complain about coming to see Jesus!? At the heart of any real and meaningful worship is an exceedingly great joy that we get to lift up the king! 

    5. They rejoiced with exceedingly great joy! A quadruple level of joy. 

  6. A sincere reception of Jesus is to be met with the relinquishment of perishable treasures. 

    1. “they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

    2. Now, question: And I know you’re thinking this, but what kind of gift to a baby is perfume and metal? Did they offer these gifts because the baby Jesus needed them? Well, I don’t think so. And Matthew’s inclusion of this event is intended to teach us a lesson. The greatest valuables of this earth are worth releasing in order to obtain Christ. The scriptures say that God does not need anything, and all things belong to him (Acts 17:25)

    3. We do not release our greatest valuables into the hands of Jesus because He needs them, but because the act of relinquishment expresses to Him our greatest trust! And this is worship! The woman gave two small copper coins, and Jesus said she gave more to God than any other! This was obviously not because the earthly value was great, but because her actions expressed a deep trust in God. 

    4. When we come to Jesus and see Him as He truly is in all of His glory, the natural response is to release our grip on those other perceived valuables and leap towards him to wrap our arms around His neck! Jesus doesn’t place a price on how much we ought to give to Him, because those who truly love Him will have no problem releasing their treasures in order to obtain Him. And oh what a gift He will be! 

    5. Later in Matthew 6:21, Jesus says, “19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

      1. Where did the wisemen place their treasure? With Jesus! So, their heart was clearly with Jesus.

 

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