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"The Phenomenon of Christmas"

By K.B. Murray

Millington St. Baptist Church, Winfield, KS

Text:  Matthew 2:1-12

Introduction:   As I waited upon the Lord for his message to our hearts today, I found myself intrigued with the many things about the Birth of Christ that are far beyond the ordinary, out of the normal and extremely unique.

It is not my purpose to try to point out all those unique things but rather to get us to see that something extra ordinary happened that day long ago and that it deeply concerns each one of us today.

The Lord said to Isaiah many years ago, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."  Isa.55:8-9.

That sets the stage for this message about the Phenomenon of Christmas.

The word phenomenon  means, "something appearing or observed, a remarkable person or thing, something exceptional."

I want to tell you that there was great phenomena occuring at the events surrounding the Birth of Jesus Christ. Something exceptional was taking place.
 

I. THE PHENOMENON OF THE WISE MEN APPEARING. v1.
 

We read the text and it means so little to us that we conveniently slip on to the other details.

To endeavor to get us to see the phenomenon that is occuring, let me suggest that we consider the following thoughts.

    A. Who were these 'wise men'?

            1. Of course the Bible does not tell us and secular
                history leaves no clear record of exactly who they
                were. However, we have some facts which we can
                share with you.

            2. They were Gentiles, probably from ancient Persia,
                and their expertise was in the area of astronomy, the
                science of the study of stars in the heavenly bodies.

    B. How they knew about this star?

            1. It seems they knew something of the Jewish Scriptures
                especially of a prophecy made hundreds of years earlier
                by Balaam in Num.24:17.

"...there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel..."

cf Perhaps they were also fulfilling Isa.60:3. "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising."

            2. But we must recognize that they had received some
                kind of revelation from God regarding the fact of the
                birth of this 'King of the Jews.'

                a. They did not come looking for him to be born.

                b. They came looking for him who was born.

            3. You will also notice that it was after the birth of Jesus
                that they came from the east. cf v1.

            4. It seems to me that this tends to credential the fact that
                they had received revelation from God not only to the
                fact that He would be born, but also as to it's timing,
                that is, that He was already born.

    C. How they came to the house and not to the manger.

            1. They became knowlegable after the fact and then had
                to set out for Jerusalem.

            2. Traveling by camel over such a long distance would
                take a great deal of time.

II. THE PHENOMENON OF THE STAR THAT LED THEM. v2.
 

Men of lesser calling would have been mocked by Herod and others for having pretended that a star had led them.

The fact that these men were not mocked but were received and their questions answered proves that they were men of great respect and sincerity.

    A. The Star's place in the east. v2.

It seems that this is the only place that the star had been appearing and that these Wise Men were the only ones to whom it had revealed itself.

    B. They call it, his star, not 'a' star. v2.

            1. Signifying the insight of Divine revelation again.
 
            2. No other star has ever been called, his star.
 

    C. It leads them from the east to the west, but only as far as Jerusalem. v1-2.

Certainly we all know that this is the natural travel of the heavenly bodies, but this is where it's naturalness ceases.

    D. Next, we find this star traveling to the south to Bethlehem and stopping over where the young child was. v9.

    E. I submit to you that this was no ordinary star, no conjunction of planets, no super nova.

    F. This was a special star, perhaps the Shekinah Glory of God uniquely revealing the Christ child to these seeking wise men.

            1. This Shekinah glory had led Israel in earlier
                hours out of her bondage in Egypt.

            2. Perhaps this Shekinah glory is now leading the
                world to behold this one born of Israel who is
                Christ the Lord.

            3. I think this is the reason that astronomy has never
                been able to discover what happened there so long ago.
 

III. THE PHENOMENON AT THE HOUSE. v9.
 

    A. The Star that stood. v9.

            1. Again, we all know that this is contrary to the natural
                movement of the heavenly bodies, and,

            2. This star seems to have been shining during the day
                light hours which further demands that it be something
                special from God.

    B. The rejoicing that came. v10.

            1. Read this verse carefully and you will find that the
                rejoicing was couple to their seeing the star again.

            2. At this point they have not yet seen the Child, only
                his Star, yet they are rejoicing.

    C. The worship that ensued. v11a.

            1. Once inside the house they saw what they had
                traveled for so long to see.

            2. They fell down and worshipped. v11b.

                a. Worship is being given to a young child by these
                    wise men.
                b. Worship is being given in the presence of Mary
                    this child's mother.
                c. All of this speaks of great humility and understanding
                    of that Divine One before them.

    D. The prophetical gifts that were bestowed. v11c.
 

            1. Gold -- speaks of the Diety of the Christ child.

            2. Frankincense -- speaks of the sweet savor of his life.

            3. Myrrh -- speaks of his sacrificial suffering and death that he would die for us.
 

IV. THE PHENOMENON OF THEIR DEPARTURE. v12.
 

    A. These had been guest in Herod's domain.

            1. Likely they had been entertained by him.

            2. We definitely know they had been instructed by him
                in the matter of returning to him.

            3. They were under obligation to return to Jerusalem.

    B. But God ...

            1. They were warned by God.

                a. There are so many things in life that would turn
                    out so differently, except God.

                b. God is always the part of the equations that cannot
                    be figured, planned and legislated.

            2. They departed another way.

                a. Herod is incensed with anger and rage. v16a.

                b. His real intentions are quickly discovered. v16b.

    C. The marvel remains today that the Wise Men came they found the Child, they worshipped Him, and, they ignored Herod and returned home another way.
 

CONCLUSION: The Phenomenon of Christmas
 

These Wise Men traveled far --

They did what no others were doing --

They found their needs met in Jesus Christ, the Son of God --

Will you be a wise man?  A wise woman?  A wise young person?

Will you come to Christ today?  Accept him as your Savior?
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