Last week we explored their journey of faith.
FACT: God’s journeys always involve FAITH. People of faith have been willing to respond to the challenges of the unknown over and over again down through history.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,  saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;  and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.  They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.  And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”  After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (Matthew 2:1-12 ESV)
A Magi’s journey is one of WORSHIP.
When the wise men came on their journey it was for the purpose of worship. They brought with them gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts have a lot of symbolism associated with them. Gold represents wealth. It is a gift fit for a king. (Jesus was the King of Kings) Frankincense is the sap of a tree that was dried and hardened and used as incense to worship God. Thus we see a gift for his deity. (Jesus was the Son of God) Myrrh is a fragrant perfume that was used to anoint the dead – to embalm and preserve them. (Jesus was The Sacrificial Lamb) But there is more to worship then gold, frankincense, or myrrh isn’t there.
FACT: Worship always involves SACRIFICE.
Was there a price to be paid for the wise men’s worship? You bet. They had given themselves to a journey. Travel in those days was not very comfortable – in fact it could be downright dangerous. The wise men had sacrificed their own comfort to find the king and worship Him. In your life, what would a spiritual journey to worship Jesus look like?
Listen to what David said about sacrifice:
. . . I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. (2 Samuel 24:24 ESV)
Paul instructed the Romans:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1 ESV)
True worship requires sacrifice.
The greatest gift – the greatest sacrifice – you can give to God is yourself. You say but I have given nothing to Him today. I say yes you have! Even today you have given Him something of yourself. You have given Him your time by pausing to read this. You prepare for a journey by getting up and getting dressed and ready to seek a King. You get into your cars – use your gas and go to church. Some provide offering to help pay kingdom expenses of preparing the message. When give time and effort , you come as a living sacrifice – even though you may not view it as that – even though you may not have realized it. The efforts you make to worship God are your sacrifice to Him. But here is a fact I want you all to remember today:
FACT: What God wants most of all – above everything else is me.
He wants your heart – He wants your attention – 24/7 – the question to ask is: What am I willing to give Him? Am I willing to give Him my best? Am I willing to go on a spiritual journey to worship Him? Am I willing to give up my comfort zone to follow Christ? The wise men were – are you?
The lack of focus on worship is not a new problem. Many years ago the Puritans thought that they were ruining Christmas with all their pagan rituals. They especially objected to the fact that the holiday usually came on a week day, therefore distracting people, they thought, from the Lord’s Day of Sunday. But they did more than annually complain about it as we do. They took action and got rid of Christmas altogether. In Puritan settlements across 17th century America a law was passed outlawing the celebration of Christmas. The market place was ordered to stay open for business as though it were no special occasion and all violators were prosecuted. It was against the law to make plum pudding on December 25th. The celebration was not referred to as Yuletide but as “fool-tide”. Then Christmas, as the Puritans thought, will be saved from us and our sinful ways.
So what – if we spend $40 billion annually on presents? Can you think of a better way of spending all that money than on gifts of love? And most of them are just that. And so what – if all the lights and tinsel does create a fairy tale setting that soon disappears along with the Christmas spirit of many? At least it lets us know, if only for a brief time, what life can be like if we present your bodies as a living sacrifice.
So let the message ring out this day, not that we are destroying this holy day, but rather, that we can never destroy this day. The presence of the Lord Jesus Christ will always cause us to break out in worship.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:8-20 ESV)
Magi, shepherds, and all who know the Christ Child as Savior will embark on an eternal journey of worship.