Redeemer Lutheran Church Blog

Epiphany 2017 - St. Matthew 2:1-12

Back to blog

Posted: Sunday, January 8th, 2017 by Pastor Westgate

“Behold, The Lord, The Ruler, hath come, and the kingdom and the power and the glory are in His hand.” But what are His kingdom and His power and His glory? Why is He here? Why is God in Man made manifest? Is He come to upset the powers of this world? Is He come to rule some foreign nation, whether Jews or Gentiles? Or is He come for some other reason? Is He come for your bodies and your souls? Is He come for you?

Herod certainly thought The Child was after his throne. He had to be afraid, after all, this Child is David’s heir. Yet he had no reason to be afraid. He had killed other “contenders,” even family. If David’s family wanted to challenge for the throne, shouldn’t he have gone after Joseph long before? He was so protective of his power he wanted to make sure the people would cry for him when he was gone by more killing. His power was so much his god that Augustus once quipped he’d rather be Herod’s pig than son – after all, Herod being a Jewish proselyte couldn’t eat a pig, but if you were Herod’s kid or wife, you were in big trouble, mister!

But does Jesus want to take over the country? Herod’s fear may have been informed by the fact that the Jews wanted somebody to rescue them from Rome’s rule, and since he was Rome’s puppet, that meant they wanted somebody to rescue them from him, even though he’d been renovating the second temple for quite some time.

But Jesus does not want to take over the country. He doesn’t want to physically rule Israel or America or Canada or Britain or any other country like any other king or dictator or president or prime minister. He wants to rule, to shepherd, your heart. He wants your soul and body. He wants you to be His own, and He wants you for eternity.

But how does He rule you? How does He shepherd you? He caught the magi’s attention with a star. They were pagan priests who studied the stars. But this star was unlike anything they’d ever seen! Its position reminded them of what they’d read in the Jewish sacred books about a star coming out of Judah to rule Israel. So they took off for Israel. But since they went straight to Jerusalem, it seems the star didn’t guide them from Babylon or Sheba or wherever they came from to Jesus. They just went to the capitol, expecting The Child to be there.

They didn’t find Him with their assumption. Herod and Jerusalem were clueless. He got stirred up in rage, and since he was, the people were too. They were afraid of what this meant for their hides. Perhaps they didn’t even want to hear the true King Messiah had actually been born. But Herod did the right thing, even if he had the wrong motives. He called for The Scriptures.

He called on the chief priests and scribes. He knew now, they all knew now, Messiah is born. They just didn’t want to worship Him, let alone fall before Him on their knees. But they still went to The Scriptures to see where to find Him. And they told them where to find Him. And the magi believed! Herod believed it too, because he planned to kill The Child. He believed the fact, but they believed the significance. He believed God is born, but they believed He is born to save.

Then the star of wonder appeared to them again. The glory of God led them to Christ because they believed His Word. The Word of God led them to Christ. The Word of God leads you to Christ. It tells you where to find Him and how to find Him. It tells you to repent of your sins and believe The Gospel. It tells you to find Him not in your thoughts, ideas, and powers, but in His Word, nailed to The Cross, buried in His Tomb, risen from death.

His Word guides you. By it you know Him now not by sight, but by faith. By it you will be led to the fruition of His glorious Godhead at the resurrection of the dead. His Word tells you you have fallen short of God’s glory because of your sin. It has cast you down into the depths of darkest hell. Sin takes us far away from God, unable to come to Him. He must come down to us.

That’s why He became Man. God Who is worthy of worship by falling on our knees, Who is worthy to receive all our treasures, that God became a little Child. That God Who is worth more than all the gold in the world, to whom you should pray since your prayers rise up to Him like the sweet smell of incense, was born. He was born to be wrapped in myrrh in His tomb. He died to forgive your sin and commute your death sentence. He died and you live eternally.

You get this all by faith. The star did not lead the magi to Christ without God’s Word. The Word did it all. God’s Word tells you what Jesus did for you. It delivers to you the goods of His forgiveness and eternal life. It prepares you in this life to live with Jesus in the next. For His glory is that He died for you. His power is that He saves you.

So you shall have the fruition of His glorious Godhead. You shall see God and live with God. You shall see your Redeemer with your own eyes. You shall see the marks in His hands. You shall smell the myrrh and the incense that were offered to Him today and that He was wrapped in when He rose. You shall touch Him and eat and drink with Him, you who eat His Body and drink His Blood in this life at His Altar.

But you won’t just see and feel and smell Him. You shall be like Him. You shall shine like stars. You shall be sinless. You shall be eternal. You shall be full of joy, without pain or sorrow or sickness. You shall be full of love and loved by all. For God became man to remake us to be like Him. Adam lost God’s Image, but Jesus gives it back and then some.

So be with the star; be with God’s Word. Follow it. Follow it every day. Follow it to daily devotions in the home. Follow it to this place, be it Sunday or Wednesday or some random feast like Epiphany. Follow it to Jesus, to The Baby born of poor Mary, Who Herod wanted to kill, Who Pilate did kill. Follow it to Jesus, Who died for you upon The Cross. Follow it to Him and pray (TLH 130:5-6):

Ah, look on me with pity Though I am weak and poor; Admit me to Thy kingdom To dwell there, blest and sure. I pray Thee, guide and keep me Safe from my bitter foes, From sin and death and Satan; Free me from all my woes.

And bid Thy Word within me Shine as the fairest star; Keep sin and all false doctrine Forever from me far. Help me confess Thee truly And with Thy Christendom Here own Thee King and Savior And in the world to come.

Categories: Pastor Westgate's Sermons

Add a comment

Back to top