WHEN JESUS WAS BORN
Matt. 2:1 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, 2 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.
Our glorious Lord is so wonderful to present himself within the context of fallen man, and all the consequences of sin! Rom. 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: The first Adam had the privilege of appearing in a world of perfection. But our Lord, the last Adam, as this scripture shows, was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin!
But this was God’s eternal wisdom! For death had not reigned at the time of the first Adam’s appearance. But as the last Adam appears, death had already reigned for thousands of years. For he required death to destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil! (Heb 2:14-15).
In our passage we find that There Were Two Kings! There is listed, “Herod the king,” and the one “that is born King of the Jews!”
One king died so that others might live! The other king lived, so others had to die! One king questioned the wise men for his own selfish purpose! The other directed the wise men for their own good! One interrogated religion and their scriptures! The other brought salvation to those bound in traditional religion, Himself being their Word!
The King of the Jews sent forth his Heavenly Luminary into the darkness of the east, and directed them to the specific house where he could be found! The religion of the other king only directed to a general location – the entire town of Bethlehem! The true King’s star refused to shine in Jerusalem’s religious darkness, only taking up where it left off when the travelers came outside the camp! Heb. 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
For the darkness of the gospel-hardened religious tradition, unlike the darkness of the unevangelized east, makes void the commandments of God! Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
The True King’s star is held in his right hand of power! For they beam forth the power of God unto salvation, which is His glorious gospel! Rev. 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Rev. 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; The Greek word here translated as “angel” is the exact same word “messenger!”
John the Baptist, Christ’s messenger, was referred to by the Lord as a bright shinning light which the religious would not receive! John 5:35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
There Were Two Births! – Just in our two verses listed above, we already have the word, “born” listed twice! This one was ‘born of the Spirit!’ Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Then there is mentioned those other births revealed in Matthew 2:16-18. These are not understood to have been born of the Spirit, but only of their natural parents. And we read in Romans 8:13, For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Lord God was picturing the truth in the gospel of the absolute need of man to be born again, or, born from above! John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
There Were Two Types of Wise Men! There are those from the east – the most obvious. But there are also those religious wise men who had the information as to where the King would be born, (Matt. 2:4-6), but had not the desire to go with the true wise men to worship Him! 1Cor. 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
These latter are those who, all too often, and all to many, who fill the pulpits of traditional religion! 1Cor. 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: Matt. 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Those who have only committed to their memory facts about the Lord, but know him not by experience, are self deceivers, who shall discover that their religion is in vain! James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
The Lord had sent his wise men to Jerusalem as a witness of his coming. But it was as he said in Matthew 23:34, Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
God has not left himself without witness. But most do not want to be bothered with his requirements of sacrificial living! They had rather kill the wise men, and put out the light of God, for they need the darkness as their deeds are evil. (John 3:19). For this reason God sent not just the star to get them to his Son, but he also sent them a dream (2:12) to get them safely home!
Pastor Gene Breed