The Wise Find | Christmas Sermon | Matthew 2:1-12

May 12, 2014

Topic: Christmas

Book: Matthew

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12


Can you imagine searching for a lost child? You have the photo of the child, you can identify of voice of your child, you are getting anxious by every passing minute, and you just scan through the streets searching for the sign of your child. Well, today I want to speak to you about a few men who went searching for a child that was born. These wise men want to find the Messiah.

The Bible speaks of a few men who went searching for baby Jesus. If we carefully look at the story of the wise men, we can learn some lessons for our Christian life. Therefore, let’s look at some facts that we can learn from the story of the wise men.

The Magi Visit the Messiah

Matthew 2:1-12

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 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.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 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. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘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.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 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.”
9 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. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 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, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Wise men and their details

The wise men are the mystery men in the Christmas story. We have heard a lot about these wise men from our childhood days, but as we study the scripture, we find that there are many unanswered questions about the wise men who went to find Jesus.
How many were there? We don’t know.
Where did they come from? We don’t know.
How long did their journey take? We don’t know.
They seem to just show up mysteriously and just as mysteriously they are gone.

Who were the wise men who wanted to find the Messiah?

At the time of Jesus’ birth, there were 2 powerful empires in the world, the Romans, and the Parthians. Romans controlled the western territory, and the Parthians ruled the eastern territories including Israel. Parthian territory is the same territory that was formerly called the Babylonian Kingdom. Babylon was defeated by the Persians who were in turn defeated by the Parthians, all this while Israel was under the eastern control. In 60 BC the Romans defeated the Parthians and took over Israel. Now the eastern kingdom right from the time of the Babylonian kings who ruled with the help of a priestly cast called the wise men. The Bible mentions it and Daniel was one such wise man in the Babylonian kingdom.

Daniel 2:48

 Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.

Daniel was in charge of all wise men in Babylon. Therefore, we understand the wise men came from Babylon in the east which in Jesus’ time was called Parthia to find the Messiah Himself.

How did these wise men know about Jesus to find Him?

How did the Wise Men know that the star they saw in the sky was so special that they set out on a very long journey on camels to go present gifts to the coming King? Wait a minute! Who told them about a King? How could they have known anything about the impending birth of the Jewish Messiah that had been prophesied for so many years?

In 605 BC the Babylonians conquered Israel and the mighty men were taken captive. King Nebuchadnezzar then appointed a priestly class called the Magi or the Wise Men who were the best in giving advice and interpreting any dream to the king.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

One day King Nebuchadnezzar had a horrifying dream, a dream he could neither remember the details nor know what it meant. The King gathered together all his “Wise Men”, including Daniel, and demanded they tell him what the dream was and what it meant. He threatened all the Wise Men with death if they could not tell him what he dreamed and what it meant. As the King’s soldiers were rounding up all the Wise Men to put them to death, Daniel asked for a one-day extension. That night, after much prayer from Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah God revealed the dream to Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar spared the lives of Daniel and all the Magi. (Daniel 2:1-19)

Therefore, Daniel became the head of the wise men and all wise men held Daniel in very high esteem. From that moment on, the Magi revered Daniel and his God-given insights greatly. They got hold of the OT scriptures and the writings of Daniel which mentions the coming of the Messiah. The scriptures pointed out a coming king of the Jews called Jesus. Once they knew a Messiah would come, they looked for the signs. Finally, they saw a star rise. The wise men left their houses to see the Messiah.

Wise Men who found Jesus understood the time of His Birth

While God’s people, the Jews failed to understand the birth of the Messiah, here we have a few wise men who set out to see the King, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. That is the same today. While the gospel of Jesus Christ is foolishness to many of our friends and powerful people of the world, it is the power of God for you and me. We are the wise men of today. Turn to the person sitting next to you and say “You are a wise person.”

The wise men did not leave their town looking for wealth. They did not go on a treasure hunt even though they ended up finding the most priceless possession of all time.

Let’s take a look at the wise men’s journey. What prompted the wise men to leave for this journey?

1. It was journey of faith for the wise men to find Jesus

Matthew 2:1-2 

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 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.”

They came by faith to see the Messiah – The King of the Jews. They left their homes, and their families, and risked a journey through an unknown land by faith to see the King.

Can you imagine their friend’s reaction when they left?
Their neighbors would have asked the wise men, “It looks like you are going on a journey.” Wise men “Yes.”.

Imaginative Conversation

Neighbors: “Where are you going?”

Wise men: “We don’t know.”

Neighbors: “How far is it?”

Wise men: “We don’t know.”

Neighbors: “How will you go?”

Wise men: “We will just follow the star.”

Neighbors: “You are baffling, out of your mind.”

Do you know they must have said the same things to Abraham when he left his home for the Promised Land? People must have said the same things to Noah who was building an ark. Friends must have said the same kind of things to Peter, Andrew, John, and James when they left the fishing nets to become fishers of men. Are you kidding, are you out of your mind?

The wise men did not know where they were going. They just knew they were following the star. They had the faith that the star would lead them to the King of the Jews.

God’s journey is a journey of faith. None of us know about our tomorrow. We do not know what the future holds for us. We just know one thing that we are following the bright and morning star by faith in Jesus and He will lead us to our destination in life.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.


William Cary was a shoemaker when one day he heard of the millions of people in India who had not heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. He had a great burden for India. William Cary volunteered to go to India but was told by the leaders “Young man, sit down. When God wants to convert India, He will do it without your help.” Cary however raised his support and came to India. For seven years he worked without seeing a single person come to Christ. But by the end of his life, he saw hundreds of churches and thousands of believers in India. Today he is known as the “Father of Modern Missions.” He was a man of faith.

God is working in your life today. You have a destination in Christ that is unknown to this world. Carry on with faith. God who holds your tomorrow will give you success.
I know who holds tomorrow – Song

2. It was a journey of worship for the wise men to find Jesus

Matthew 2:11

 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, frankincense, and myrrh.

The journey of the wise men was for a purpose. The purpose was worship.

Worship of the wise men when they found Jesus

i. The wise men bowed down and worshipped God. To bow down means to surrender and to humble down. Worship involves humility and complete surrender.

ii. The wise men gave gifts and worshipped God when they found Him at last. They brought with them gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They were expensive gifts. Worship God with your gifts.

iii. The wise men’s worship involved great sacrifice.

The wise men had to pay a price for the worship. They had given themselves to a long journey. The wise men had sacrificed their comfort to find the king and worship Him. Travel in those days was not very comfortable; it was very dangerous. They had to follow the star through the enemy territory. The wise men sacrificed their time, family, and money, and also risked their lives for worship. Worship always involves a sacrifice. David said in

2 Samuel 24:24 

I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing. Understand our worship has to involve a sacrifice. We need to pay a price to worship God.

Price to Worship

I praise God for every one of you. Some of you have come alone from your houses and backgrounds to worship the king. You have indeed paid a heavy price and God is promising to reward you.

Today everyone here has paid a price to come here for worship. You have given Him your time by being here. When it comes to offerings, tithes, and missions you freely give and support God’s program at City Harvest. When it comes to programs at City Harvest you spend your time and join them. You have come here today as a living sacrifice. You are excellent in all this. God bless you for your sacrifice. But I want you to remember one fact ‘Above every sacrifice God is interested in YOU.’ Tell it out loud, ‘God is interested in me.’

Gifts of wise men as they find Messiah

Let us look at the gifts the wise men gave to Jesus when they found Him. These gifts have a lot of symbolism associated with them.

Gold: Gold represents wealth and royalty. It is a perfect gift for a king. Jesus is the King of Kings and by giving gold to Jesus they worshipped Jesus as the King.

Frankincense: Frankincense is the sap of a tree that is dried and hardened and used as incense to worship God. Frankincense was used by the priests during the regular service in the Temple. Therefore, this frankincense gift points to Jesus Christ as the ultimate High Priest. The wise men recognized Jesus as the high priest.

Myrrh: Myrrh is a fragrant perfume that was used to anoint the dead, to embalm and preserve the body. Jesus was The Sacrificial Lamb of God. Myrrh was the perfect gift for the Messiah for his sacrificial death. The wise men recognized that Jesus was going to die a sacrificial death.

Interestingly, two of the three gifts that the Magi presented to baby Jesus related to His death and burial. They recognized the very mission of Jesus Christ.

If we move ahead almost 33 years later in the life of Jesus, we see Jesus weeping over the people of Israel because his people had not recognized Him as the Messiah.

Luke 19:44

 “You did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Our worship is complete only if we recognize the very mission of Jesus Christ.

3. It was a journey of Change

Matthew 2:12 

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

The wise men worshiped Jesus and they could not go back the same way that they had come. That is the fact even today. Once you have met God you will never be the same. An encounter with God changes things, it changes our route, and it changes how we look at the world. It changes a person completely.

One night Jacob wrestled with God, and he was never the same for the rest of his life.
Isaiah one day saw the Lord and said “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Isaiah was never the same again.

An encounter with God will change people. I thank God for every one of you. You came to know the Lord leading a worldly lifestyle but now you have changed from the time you met the Lord. We are the wise me of today.


We have come to yet another season of joy and celebrations. It’s Christmas time again and it is a great opportunity for us to spread the message of joy and hope to this world. But first, let us look at our lives from what we have heard from the wise men. Are you truly worshipping God, are you truly sacrificing worldly pleasures, are you looking for a change in your life? We can be the wise men of the year 2010. Rediscover Christ this Christmas and I can guarantee you the wise find.
God Bless You!

For more related sermons:

Worship like wis men | Matthew 2; 1 – 12

Celebration, Worship, and Weeping | Matthew 2: 1 – 23

How do you celebrate Christmas? | Matthew 2: 1 – 16

Living Amidst Hostility | Daniel