St. Matthew 2:1-12
It is not known who these wise men were. We are only told that they came ‘from the East.' Whether they learned to expect Christ from the ten tribes who went into captivity, or from the prophecies of Daniel, we do not know. It matters little who they were. The point which concerns us most is the rich instruction which their history conveys.
These verses show us that there may be servants of God in places where we should not expect to find them. The Lord Jesus has many ‘hidden ones,' like these wise men. The Holy Ghost can lead souls to Christ without the help of any outward means. Men may be born in dark places of the earth, like these wise men, and yet like them be made ‘wise unto salvation.'
These verses show us secondly, that it is not always those who have most religious privileges, who give Christ most honour. We might have thought that the scribes and Pharisees would have been the first to hasten to Bethlehem , on the lightest rumour that the Saviour was born. But it was not so. ‘He came unto his own, and his own received him not' (John 1:11). What a mournful picture this is of human nature! How often the same kind of thing may be seen among ourselves! How often the very people who live nearest to the means of grace are those who neglect the most! There is only too much truth in the old proverb, ‘The nearer the church the further from God.' There are many, who from residence and convenience ought to be first and foremost in the worship of God, and yet are always last.
These verses show us, thirdly, that there may be knowledge of the Scripture in the head, while there is no grace in the heart. We are told that king Herod sent to inquire of the priests and elders, ‘where Christ should be born.' We are told that they returned a ready answer to him, and showed an accurate acquaintance with the letter of Scripture. But they never went to Bethlehem to seek for the coming Saviour. Their heads were better than their hearts. Let us all beware of resting satisfied with head-knowledge. It is an excellent thing, when rightly used. But a man may have much of it, and yet perish everlastingly. What is the state of our hearts? This is the great question.
These verses show us, fourthly, a splendid example of spiritual diligence. What trouble it must have cost these wise men to travel from their homes to the house where Jesus was born! How many weary miles they must have journeyed! The dangers to be encountered were neither few nor small. But none of these things moved them. They had set their hearts on seeing him ‘who was born King of the Jews'; and they never rested until they saw him. They prove to us the truth of the old saying, ‘Where there is a will there is a way.'
It would be well for all professing Christians if they were more ready to follow the example of these good men. Where is our self-denial? What diligence do we show about following Christ? What does our religion cost us? These are serious questions.
These verses show us, lastly, a striking example of faith. The wise men believed in Christ when they had never seen him; but that was not all. They believed in him when the scribes and Pharisees were unbelieving; but that again was not all. They believed in him when they saw him a little infant on Mary's knees, and worshipped him as a King. This was the crowning point of their faith. They saw no miracles to convince them. They heard no teaching to persuade them, They beheld no signs of divinity and greatness to overawe them. They saw nothing but a new born infant, helpless and weak, and needing a mother's care like any one of ourselves. And yet when they saw that infant, they believed that they saw the divine Saviour of the world!
We read of no greater faith than this in the whole volume of the Bible. The wise men saw a new-born babe on the lap of a poor woman, and yet worshipped him and confessed that he was Christ. Blessed indeed are they that can believe in this fashion!
This is the kind of faith that God delights to honour. Let us walk in the steps of their faith. Let us not be ashamed to believe in Jesus and confess him, though all around us remain careless and unbelieving. Have we not a thousand-fold more evidence than the wise men had, to make us believe that Jesus is the Christ? Beyond doubt we have. Yet where is our faith?
We appreciate those who gave coats to Aslan's Wardrobe, which were distributed to those in need of a warm coat. This is part of the ministry of Love INC (Love In the Name of Christ).
Thank you to those who helped and/or were in the Christmas Nativity Pageant, Sunday, December 21, 2014. We thank Yemi Onayemi and William R. Garrison for helping Rev. Levi get the platforms together and in place and Tutu & Tola Balogun for decorating the ceiling and tables. Thank you to those who helped in the kitchen during refreshments, Sara Hassert, Sue Horosinski and Edwina Greco. Special thanks to Cheryl Nash and Bethany Tjoelker for helping assist Patty Levi with the children, and Sunny Stiklius for playing the piano and working with the instrumentalists.
Children “Serving Jesus In Song” were: Lexie Tjoelker, Mary & Soloist; Griffin Faxel, Joseph & Speaker; Stella Levi, Innkeeper Speaker & Shepherdess; Caylee Dyke, Shepherdess; Archangel Sophia Levi & Soloist; Angel Audrey Garrison & Duet, Angel; Renee Hassert, Soloist, Angel; Chidera Mochu, Angel; Uchenna Mochu & top of tree; Shepherds, Joseph Tjoelker and Will Garrison; Star, Keira Faxel. Our Youth “Serving Jesus in Song” with voice and/or instruments were: Angel Bethany Tjoelker, Flute; Angel Tola Balogun, Clarinet and Soloist; Angel Maddie Levi, Violin; King Ike Nwosu; King Toluwa Balogun and King Jacob Tjoelker, Trumpeters. May God continue to bless these talented Youth and children and their families!
The annual Candlelight Christmas Eve Service was conducted on Wednesday, December 24 starting at 10 p.m. This beautiful service was followed by a lovely reception in the Parish Hall. Thus, the Christmas season was ushered in with worship, singing, fellowship and refreshemnts. Much appreciation goes to those who brought food and attended the Candlelight Service & fellowship.
Thank you to those who contributed to the food drive during Advent and Christmas. This was in support of the Tinley Park Food Pantry. The drive ends Sunday, January 11, 2015.
Saturday, January 24, 2015, starting at 9 a.m.