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December 25, 2016

Sermon: Gifts at Christmas: From the Wise Men

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Scripture Lesson

Daniel 2:1-3; Matthew 2:1-12

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed such dreams that his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. So the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, ‘I have had such a dream that my spirit is troubled by the desire to understand it.’

The Visit of the Wise Men
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.

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Sermon Outline

Rev. Jonathan Swanson
Gifts at Christmas: From the Wise Men
Daniel 2:1-3; Matthew 2:1-12

I. Introduction—Calvin and Hobbes, YouTube
II. Series: Gifts at Christmas
III. A familiar story
     A. Three kings presenting gifts
     B. What if it did not really happen that way?
IV. Who were the “wise men”?
     A. Magi (2:1, 7; 8 times OT, 2 times NT)
     B. The opponents of the people of God (Dan. 2:1-3)
     C. What are they doing in the story?
V. What did the wise men give? (Matt. 2:1-12)
     A. They counter conventional wisdom
     B. The sincerely search for the Christ child
     C. They accept God’s guidance
         1. The “star” (2:2, 9, 10)
         2. The prophecy (2:6)
     D. They worship (2:11)
     E. They turn the world upside down
VI. What can we give?
     A. Look for God in unexpected places
     B. Listen for and accept God’s guidance
     C. Worship
     D. Turn the world upside down
VII. Conclusion: “The Little Drummer Boy,” “The Juggler of Our Lady”


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