************ Sermon on Matthew 2:2 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on December 14, 2008
"The King of the Jews"
Let's play word associations. What word comes to mind when I say "General Motors"? Probably "cars, bailout." What about "Microsoft"? Probably "software or glitchy operating systems." What about "Boeing"? Probably "airplanes." "CHP or California Highway Patrol?" Probably "Ticket or Danny Koetsier and Ron Stout" – the two CHP officers in our congregation. What about "Jesus"? Probably "Savior."
Imagine my surprise when I looked through the traditional Christmas carols and noticed something this week. I just assumed that Christmas songs would say a lot about Jesus as Savior. Instead, our Christmas songs say a lot about Jesus as the new-born King. And, they don't say as much about Jesus as Savior.
I think the Christmas song writers are on the right track. Think of it this way: Christ's work as Savior is temporary but Christ's work as King is eternal. Furthermore, the ultimate goal of Christ's work as Savior is the glory of Him as King; He suffered and died and arose in order to wear a crown.
After this message, the older Sunday School children are going to be singing "One King" – a song based upon our Bible reading for this evening. The focus of the song and of Scripture tonight is Jesus as King.
I The King of the Jews
A Who is that baby in the manger? Or, as Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do you say I am?" (Mt 16:15).
The Wise Men know the answer to this question. "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? (Mt 2:2). Jesus is the "king of the Jews."
When we look over the gospel of Matthew we cannot help but note that this is not the only time Jesus is described as the king of the Jews. When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, do you remember the passage quoted by Matthew? "See, your king comes to you ..." (Mt 21:5; cf Zech 9:9). Remember what Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" (Mt 27:11). Remember Jesus' answer? "Yes, it is as you say." Remember what the soldiers did to Jesus? They put a scarlet robe on His back, a crown of thorns on His head, and a staff in His right hand; then they knelt in front of Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" (Mt 27:29). Remember what was above the cross? There was a sign, reading, "THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS" (Mt 27:37). And, remember the mocking of the priests and elders? "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him" (Mt 27:42).
Who is that baby in the manger? He is the "king of the Jews."
B "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?" (Mt 2:2). Isn't this amazing? Jesus was born to wear a crown. A helpless little baby is the King.
I want to ask two questions. First, what does it mean to be King? The whole world was watching as we elected a new President. They were watching because the President of the United States is the most powerful person on earth. They were watching because the President of the United States is the leader of the world. However, President Bush and President-elect Obama are nothing next to King Jesus. I say that because Jesus is King of the universe. He commands all the affairs of mankind and the intricate workings of the entire creation. Furthermore, Jesus is the sovereign King. His is power and authority. Unlike our President, He exercises supreme authority over His dominion – without any checks or balances restricting or challenging His power. Finally, to be King means Jesus has glory – He is worthy of praise and worship.
Jesus is King.
C Second, what does it mean to be the "king of the Jews?" You need to realize that one of God's promises to His people is that of a coming King:
(Gen 49:10) The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his."Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?" (Mt 2:2). Do you hear what the Wise Men are saying? The Wise Men are saying that Jesus is the hoped for and prayed for "king of the Jews."
(Is 9:6-7) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
(Jer 23:5) "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.
Cf Num 24:17; Ps 2 & 110; Zech 6 & 9 ...
D You know, many people claim to be or are given the title of king. For years, Elvis Presley was simply called "the king." Everyone knew that Johnny Carson was the king of late-night TV. A recently published book about Mohammed Ali has the title, "King of the World." Donald Trump is now known as the King of Clubs because of a series of Golf Courses he owns. This Christmas, the rapper, Puff Daddy, is launching a new fragrance called "I am King" – this new fragrance is meant to appeal to people who voted for President-elect Barack Obama.
Now, none of them were born a king. None of them were born to wear a crown. But Jesus was. He came to earth as a baby, He was wrapped in cloths, He was laid in a manger – and all along He was the King, the King of the Jews.
II Reactions to the King
A I want you to notice the different reactions to King Jesus.
Let's start with the reactions of the Wise Men. Notice what they say and do:
(Mt 2:2,11) "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him" ... (11) On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.Do you see the reaction? They bowed down before a baby, they worshiped a baby, they presented gifts to a baby. A baby. But not just any baby – a baby born to wear a crown, a baby Who is King of the universe.
B Next, notice the reaction of King Herod. He was "disturbed." Agitated. Upset. Angry. Why? Guess what: Herod held the title "king of the Jews." Who was the imposter taking his title, his honor, his place? Was there a pretender to the throne? Was this the start of an organized resistance to his rule? No wonder Herod was disturbed.
How disturbed was Herod? You know the story. Herod sent his soldiers to Bethlehem and vicinity and ordered them to kill all the boys two years old and under (Mt 2:16).
Herod did not bow before Christ, the new born king. Herod did not worship Christ, the new born king. Herod did not present gifts to Christ, the new born king. Instead, Herod was filled with thoughts of murder and outrage.
C Next, notice the reaction of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the city of the priests and teachers of the law. They were "disturbed" with Herod. They were disturbed. Isn't that astonishing? They should have been excited that the hoped for and prayed for King had finally come. They should have welcomed Him with open arms. They, too, should have bowed down in worship. They, too, should have presented their gifts. Instead, they were "disturbed."
Why were they disturbed? Were they upset that they were left out? Were they upset that the King's birth was announced by Gentiles rather than by biblical scholars? Did they have a sense that God was going around them rather than through them? Whatever the reason, they were "disturbed." This is a foreshadowing of their increasing hostility to King Jesus and His ministry and His claims. They were not thrilled by Jesus' birth. They were not excited by Jesus' ministry. And, Jesus' resurrection was met with lies rather than joy.
D "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him (Mt 2:2).
What is your reaction to Jesus – the baby born to wear a crown? That is the question we need to ask this evening. Do you worship and adore Him? Do you sing in exultation and praise to the God of heaven? Do you recognize His worth and His glory? Do you give Him your heart? Do you acknowledge Him as King of kings and Lord of lords? Do you prepare Him room? Do you bring glory, honor, and praises to the infant King? Do you know He is Lord of all? Do you bring Him laud? Do you fall on your knees? Are you obedient to Him?
A baby born to wear a crown. That is what we see at Christmas. That is what we see in our Scripture reading. And, that is what we are going to hear from the Sunday School children as they sing, "One King."
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