Sermon Outline On Matthew 2:1-12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Mary Farwell of Green Castle, Missouri once shared of listening to her 5-year-old son, Matthew, as he worked on his Speak and Spell (TM) computer. He was concentrating intensely, typing words for the computer to say back to him.
Matthew punched in the word “God.” To his surprise, the computer said, “Word not found.”
He tried again with the same reply. With great disgust, he stared at the computer and told it in no uncertain terms, “Jesus is not going to like this!”
Matthew was searching for God. We have at times found ourselves searching for God. Searching for God-searching for Jesus is serious business.
The wise men came seeking the one who would be King of the Jews. Herod sent them to Bethlehem to search for this King. The Messiah had come to earth, and the Magi were searching for him.
People today are searching for that same King. Many don’t even know who or what they are searching for. All they know is life is not complete. All the money in the world or more friends than you can imagine do not fill the emptiness in their lives. They are searching. They are searching for that same King Jesus.
Lloyd John Ogilvie has said, “The institutional church in America is filled with religious people who desperately need an experience of the living, holy, forgiving, gracious God.” If the church is filled with this need, you know our community has the need. People are searching. They desperately need an experience of the living, holy, forgiving, gracious God. They need a Messiah. They need a Savior. They need Jesus.
Searching for the Messiah is not easy. It wasn’t easy for those wise men. How often do we seek that experience of the living, holy, forgiving, gracious God as a “fix” for our problem? How often do people search for the “Handyman” who will take care of their woes? How often is the search a search for a solution to our problems? It has been said, “We shouldn’t use God to solve our problems. We should see our problems as an opportunity to find God.”
Those wise men were searching and seeking. They were trying to find the Son of God. They were searching for the King of the Jews. Little did they know that one day this Jesus for whom they were searching would be entering Jerusalem for the last time. The crowd would be shouting “Hosanna.” They would be waving palm branches, placing them and coats in the path. That crowd would have their own ideas about this conquering Savior. They would have their expectations. They would think that their search was over.
Patrick Morley has suggested, “The turning point in our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.”(4) Searching for the God “who is” is tougher than searching for the God who meets our expectations and desires.
Jim Smith went to church on Sunday morning. He heard the organist miss a note during the prelude, and he winced. He saw a teenager talking when everybody was supposed to be bowed in silent prayer. He felt like the usher was watching to see what he put in the offering plate and it made him boil. He caught the preacher making a slip of the tongue five times in the sermon by actual count. As he slipped out through the side door during the closing hymn, he muttered to himself, “Never again, what a bunch of clods and hypocrites!”
Ron Jones went to church one Sunday morning. He heard the organist play an arrangement of “A Mighty Fortress” and he thrilled at the majesty of it. He heard a young girl take a moment in the service to speak her simple moving message of the difference her faith makes in her life. He was glad to see that this church was sharing in a special offering for the hungry children of Nigeria. He especially appreciated the sermon that Sunday–it answered a question that had bothered him for a long time. He thought as he walked out the doors of the church, “How can a man come here and not feel the presence of God?”
Both men went to the same church, on the same Sunday morning. Each found what he was looking for. What do we look for on Sunday morning? For what are we searching?
Searching for the King of the Jews can be a surprising proposition. Painted on the inside wall of a little church in Yugoslavia were two verses. Isaiah 55:6: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” The other was Matthew 16:24: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Seeking leads to following, and following may lead to places we aren’t sure we want to go.
Yes, searching for Jesus is serious business.