Matthew 2:1-12 – The Wise Men from the East

John Carter – September 24, 2017

Introduction – Invitation

Have you ever been invited to an event that you did not belong at? Perhaps you were the tag along sibling, or perhaps you were the relative of an invited guest. Maybe your friend gave you special access to an event. Maybe you were just at the right place at the right time. I had this kind of experience in my high school years when my Dad was the technical director of the theater at California Baptist University. I would get to stay out late with college students, build sets, and even hang out behind the scenes while the plays were going on. But no matter the situation you found yourself in, the excitement and the awkward smile that you try to contain while you maintain composure keeps seeping out. And finally, when you leave the event you spend too many hours talking about and thinking about your time at this event. I might go so far as too say, those who should not be at the event seem to be more excited about going than those who were first invited. It’s not that those invited are not excited, but they seem to have a certain level of complacency about the whole thing. It’s quite ironic that those who are granted access can have so little interest in going, while those who do not belong find so much joy in going.

This irony of the joy insiders and outsiders have is an idea that sets the scene for Matthew 2:1-12. Here we discover outsiders coming to a historic event while those who were invited years earlier find themselves too disinterested to even attend.


Amidst the virgin birth, and the angelic messages there is a certain simplicity about the birth of Jesus Christ. Born as king, yet lived in obscurity. Reigned on high, yet lived in a house.


Micah 5:1-5

1 Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;

    siege is laid against us;

with a rod they strike the judge of Israel

    on the cheek.

2  But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me

    one who is to be ruler in Israel,

whose coming forth is from of old,

    from ancient days.

3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time

    when she who is in labor has given birth;

then the rest of his brothers shall return

    to the people of Israel.

4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,

    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.

And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great

    to the ends of the earth.

5 And he shall be their peace.

“Herod was troubled; he was an Edomite, not a Jew, and he had been made king by the Romans.”[1]

Who is Invited to Worship God?

“Matthew may well have included this story to bring out the truth that Jesus is Lord of all peoples; since this is so, it was appropriate that at the time of his infancy people came from a distant Gentile country to pay their homage. In this narrative, the Jews and their king are enraged against the infant Jesus, but Gentiles do him homage.”[2]

Psalm 67

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us

and make his face to shine upon us, Selah

2 that your way may be known on earth,

your saving power among all nations.

3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you!

4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,

for you judge the peoples with equity

and guide the nations upon earth. Selah

5 Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you!

6 The earth has yielded its increase;

God, our God, shall bless us.

7 God shall bless us;

let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Wedding Feast

 1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

How is God Worshiped?

  • Gifts/Giving
  • Attitude of Joy


How do you prepare to meet with God on Sunday mornings as you gather with other believers to worship God? “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). Yes, God is ever-present in our daily lives. But Jesus promised to be uniquely present when we gather with other believers in his name. TheHoly Spirit does something different the moment we change our conversations about cars, and gardens and divert our time and energy to the Name of Jesus Christ. That is why when we gather on Sunday mornings we must prepare ourselves to focus our attention to Jesus and not ourselves. He must increase and we must Decrease (John). But let us do this with joy and not drudgery. Happiness, not boredom.


1 Peter 1:3-9

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Although some Christians put Mary on a pedestal of importance, here Mary is not given much attention. Compared to the presence of Jesus, Mary is just another person.

[1] P.37 – PNTC – Leon Morris (1992)

[2] P.34 – PNTC – Leon Morris (1992)