Tag Archives: Magi

The Visit of the Magi cont.

The Visit of the Magi cont.
This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Christmas

In the previous posting, we covered the beginning of the story of the 3 Kings’ visit to find Jesus. So we continue with the excerpt from the Christmas Eve message by Chuck Foreman at First Christian Church of Phoenix:

Unintended Destination

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. ~Matthew 2:10-11a

“…and they came into the house…” Wait a minute—I thought Jesus was born in a stable? He was, but contrary to tradition, these Eastern Astronomers showed up some time after Jesus was born. But even a house in little Bethlehem Town that a lowly carpenter could afford was not exactly where they expected to find this new king. If you were looking for a king, where would you go? That’s what these guys thought too. That’s why they went to Jerusalem first—to the king’s palace…. Bethlehem was definitely not their intended destination!

A lot of us are like these Wise Men. We’ve been looking for, hoping for a palace, but we’ve wound up at a house in Podunk Bethlehem, or worse yet, a stable. Things haven’t worked out so far for us in life like we had hoped—in the pursuit of our dreams, our jobs, our marriages, our relationships. God has kind of let us down, we think.

See, God wasn’t in the palace. In fact, you’ll rarely find him there. He was in the stable—and he always has been! People, Jesus Christ, Emmanuel—“God with us” came to us in the most humble, demeaning way imaginable! You’ll find him in the stable, in the humble house. That’s the whole point of the Incarnation—The Word becoming flesh! What Jesus wants you to understand is that He gets down on your level. He meets you in your problems, in your crushed dreams, and in the challenges of life like no one else. When you’re willing to meet him there, he can change your life, like he’s able to do in no other place!

He’s not in the palace. He’s in the stable. He always has been. Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know him there—just as he is, just as you are.

Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.~Matthew 2:11b

The Magi - the first worshipers of ChristUnexpected Worshippers

Do you realize that this is the 1st recorded incident of anyone actually worshipping Jesus? He was still a baby boy. These men were foreigners, probably not too well received in Jewish territory by anyone but Jesus and his parents. They weren’t familiar with the ways of God or His People. They were likely idol worshippers, but they were able to recognize God when there wasn’t anyone or anything else in the way. And there He was—having humbled himself and become flesh—one of us; Emmanuel—God with us!

And did you notice that they bowed down to worship him? When was the last any of us did that? Do we even know what it is to worship anymore? They bowed down and presented him with treasures! Could it be that it might take some pagans like them to teach us how to worship our own God? I think Matthew thought so.

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.~Matthew 2:12

Get back home another way…

They couldn’t get back home the same way they had come. They knew what Herod had up his sleeve. They had to go home another way.

We’ve been talking about Going Home for Christmas lately here at FCC—home to God. Too often in life we seem to move away from God instead of toward Him. If you’ve drifted away from God, you’re not going to get back home to Him the same way you’ve come. You have to take a different route.

The Story of Christmas is about the God of the universe—Creator of the stars & the angels who announced the birth of His Son—Revealer of His cosmic plan even to pagans. He left His throne in heaven to be born in a stable, people! He wants you to get the significance of that!

And he wants to meet you, as He really is, right where you are.

Come home; come back to GOD this Christmas. I think He’s been waiting just for you. AMEN! [Right on!]

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Check out Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

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The Significance of the Magi

The Significance of the Magi
This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Christmas

Here is the excerpt from the Christmas Eve message by Chuck Foreman at First Christian Church of Phoenix:

3 wise menThe Magi

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” ~Matthew 2:1-2

The Magi— A Greek word used to describe educated men who specialized in magic, sorcery, enchanting, astrology, and interpreting dreams. But we can tell that these guys were actually scientists, astronomers. Probably from Persia or Babylon. They were historically enemies of God’s People. The Babylonians had conquered and taken Israel captive 800 years B.C. And the Jews never forgot!

What about—The Star?

We actually have software now which enables us to look at what’s happening in the sky 2-3 years prior to Herod’s death. The heavens were full of activity! And here are some of the coolest astronomical occurrences: During this time period, the star Regulus (King) lined up with Jupiter (King Planet) 2 times—once on Sept. 12, 3 BC and again on Feb. 17, 2 BC. Then on June 17, that same year, Jupiter (King Planet) & Venus (Mother Planet) aligned. This would have looked like the largest star you’d ever seen! By God’s design, the Heavens were telling about the coming of a King.

It just so happened that some astronomer dudes in Babylon were watching. Get this—when this alignment of the King & Mother planets occurred, it happened w/in the Constellation Leo (the Lion). The Lion, is the symbol of Judah, which told these eastern astronomers right where to find this new King.

A Disturbing Visit

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. ~Matthew 2:4

Why?  We know why Herod was disturbed-jealousy. He wanted no rivals to his throne.  (After the Eastern Astronomers left, he sent soldiers to Bethlehem to kill all the boys 2 yrs. & under.)  But why was all Jerusalem disturbed?  I’ll tell you why—it was that the news of their long awaited Messiah was brought to them by these uncircumcised foreign heathens!  How dare God reveal the birth of His Son—the Messiah—to such people!

What do they know?!  What part could they possibly have in our  Messiah?!

But you see, I think that for the same reason Matthew included women—and not just women, but unmentionable women—in his genealogy of Jesus, he also included these Eastern Astronomers in the Story of Jesus.  God’s gift of Himself was not just for the pretty people—not just for the Chosen People, it was for the messy people, the foreign people, the most unlikely people.  Just as Luke’s poor, dirty, smelly shepherds were told by the angel, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL PEOPLE!  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord!” –so also God revealed the cosmic arrival of His Only Son to these outsiders.  He told them  before He told those who considered themselves to be God’s Chosen People!

Micah’s Prophecy and Herod’s Treachery…

When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”~Matthew 2:4-8

Yeah, right!

A Traveling Star?

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.~Matthew 2:9

Really? This is the part I had trouble swallowing. But look…We now know that On Dec. 25, 2 BC, Jupiter went into retrograde motion [motion which is contrary to the rotation of the primary]. From a person’s vantage point on earth, who might just happen to be in Jerusalem, it would appear that Jupiter had actually stopped in the evening sky right over a little Judean town called—Bethlehem.

Next: The Magi found Jesus in a house…

Unintended Destinations – part 2

Unintended Destinations – part 2
This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Christmas

This is a continuation of Unintended Destinations an excerpt from Chuck Foreman, Teaching Pastor at First Christian Church of Phoenix

It’s Christmas Time, so I’m gonna throw in a little of the Christmas Story here. Remember the part about the Wise Guys? I mean the Wise Men? It’s in Matthew 2:1-12

Verses 1-2
The Star— We actually have software now which enables us to look at what was happening in the sky around the beginning of the 1st Century. What the Wise Men saw was Jupiter (King Planet) & Venus (Mother Planet) aligning. This would have looked like the largest star you’d ever seen! By God’s design, the Heavens were telling about the birth of a King.

When this alignment of the King & Mother planets occurred, it happened w/in the Constellation Leo (the Lion). The Lion, is the symbol of Judah, which told these eastern astronomers right where to find this new King.

Verses 3-8
On Dec. 25, 2 BC, Jupiter went into retrograde motion, which from a person’s vantage point on earth, who might just happen to be in Jerusalem, would appear that Jupiter had actually stopped in the evening sky right over a little Judean town called—Bethlehem. The Heavens were telling God’s Story, and Jupiter, the King Planet led the Magi all the way to Bethlehem. Pretty Cool.

Verses 7-12
But now these guys are stuck in Judea. They can’t go back home thru Jerusalem because Herod will figure out where Jesus is and go kill him. Matthew is very specific that, “…having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” They couldn’t get back home they way they’d come.

I know that’s not Matthew’s main point. He’s just telling us the story. But I’ve been thinking about that—These astronomers found themselves in a real pickle, a long way from home. And getting back required a change of direction.

If we’ve found ourselves distant from God, far away from Him, we’re never going to get back to Him on the same route that led us away from Him! We have to get back home another way!

If we’re honest, we know what sin it is that has us in its clutches. We keep going back to it and we know it’s become like a brick wall between us & God. We won’t let go of it and therefore, it won’t let go of us.

  • Sex with your girlfriend or boyfriend before marriage
  • Porn—It’s as addictive as any drug isn’t it? And it’s everywhere. You have to decide ahead of time what you’re going to do.
  • Anger or Critical Spirit—you do more tearing down than building up.
  • What’s the thing you won’t let go of?

  • What’s the thing that won’t let go of you?

Sometimes our sin isn’t that obvious. Some of you are sitting here right now thinking, “I don’t do any of those things.” But you still feel about as far away from God as you can get. It’s because for you, SIN has masked itself as—SELF. But you can’t see it because you haven’t stopped to take a long, hard look in the mirror since who knows when!

The thing that’s separating you from God isn’t any particular heinous sin that you can put your finger on. You’re not a bad person. You’re just a self-centered person—however subtle your self-centeredness may be.

If those who know you well were interviewed by Fox News, and asked these questions about you, what would they say?
Questions:

  1. What does (your name) do?
  2. What does (your name) love?
  3. What does (your name) stand for/believe in?
  4. What defines (your name) ?

How would those who know you well answer these questions about you?

What are you hanging onto that you need to let go of so God can change it into something that will help you serve Him?

What has a hold on you that you need to be released from so that you can be close to God again?

You see, our problem is either SIN of SELF. What’s keeping you away from God? What aren’t you letting go of? Are the habits & patterns in your life driving you to God or keeping him at arm’s length?

God wants you home for Xmas. He wants you back home with Him. But like the wise men—you’re not going to get back home the way you came. You’re gonna have to get home to God another way. Living life the way you have been & doing the same things you’ve been doing isn’t going to get you back to God. You’re gonna have to make a change in the way you live & in the way you think.

Seek, Reach Out, Find Him— Acts 17: 26-27

Everything God has done in your life has been so that you would find Him. The good and the bad happen to drive you to Him! He’s not far away from any of us. If you seek Him, you’ll find Him. If you reach out to Him, He’ll reach out to you…and lead you home!

Let Him take you home, back home, where He is, where you belong— this Christmas.

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author

Check out Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar
http://twitter.com/wwjdrevival