We trust you are well and kept by the Grace of God. This week we continue our Sunday School lessons on Looking for the Messiah. Please let your child/children take out their Bible and read the scripture aloud and follow the story.
With Christian love and respects.
LOOKING FOR THE MESSIAH:
Looking for the Messiah: … Let’s read aloud Luke 2:25-38
(Story of Simeon, an old priest and Anna, a blind prophetess).
At the time Jesus was born in Bethlehem, few people were looking for the Messiah. Few people knew the time had come for Him to be born.
The Shepherds, who were peasants, the poorest of people, were the first who saw the Newborn King. They were told by the Angels that night to go and see the Baby and that they would find him lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling cloth. They took off immediately to go to Bethlehem. Later they gladly spread the news abroad to others.
Elizabeth and Zechariah (John’s Parents) knew that the Christ would be born soon. (When Mary after the Angel’s visitation to her, visited Elizabeth, she told her that the Baby she was carrying, would be Christ, the Lord.)
Now when Jesus was eight days old, he was circumcised and named Jesus (as the Angel had foretold his name to Mary, when He was yet unborn\ in his mother’s womb.)
Then Jesus was taken to the Temple (church). Whilst his parents were standing and waiting in line with the other mothers, a remarkable thing happened.
There was in the temple, an old priest, Simeon, who had testified to all Judea that he was looking for the Promised Messiah; “Because”, said he,” The Lord had revealed to me that I would not die till I had seen the Lord’s Christ”. Many in that day didn’t believe Him and made fun of this old man.
Simeon was busy in the temple at the time the mothers were making ready to offer up their sacrifices and to present their babies to the priest. Mary and Joseph were also standing in the line, waiting their turn. They had with them two turtle doves for their offering. Some rich parents could afford a little lamb, but their offering was 2 doves.
Simeon arose from his priestly task and led by the Spirit of the Lord, come to stop directly where Mary and Joseph were standing with their Baby. He took Jesus up in his arms and said,” And now Lord let thy servant (referring to himself) depart in peace for mine eyes have seen the Salvation of the Lord”. He also prophesied and foretold of Mary’s heart-piercing sorrows which were to come… and that Jesus would be a Light for revelation for the Gentiles.
Anna, an old blind prophetess, who was in the temple fasting and praying day and night, moved by the Holy Ghost, also came at the same time to bless the Baby.
So Simeon and Blind Anna was some of the few that looked for and were expecting the Messiah at that time.
WISE MEN FROM THE EAST:
Looking for the Messiah… Looking for the King
A quick view of the story of the wise men from the East
1 Wise men from the East. Who were they?
2 A super or Great sign in the heavens
3 Who did the wise men represent?
4 They seek the king in the great Judean cities
5 The wise men find Him and worship Him
6 Their Treasures and what it all meant
7 What did Herod do?
- Wise men from the East… Who were they?
Let’s read aloud… Matthew 2: 1-12
At the time Jesus was born, there were wise men in the East who were studying the Stars in the heavens and they saw a New Star in the evening sky.
These men were Stargazers or astrologers, called Magi. They were watching for This Star. From The Ancient scrolls which Daniel wrote when he was in Captivity in Babylon many generations before.
They learnt that when this Star would appear, something great would take place on earth. And they knew that Balaam the Prophet said that a Star shall arise out of Jacob and they were watching for that Star.
- A sign in the Heavens…
A Star in the Heavens shows a King is born on earth
They learnt that God shows a sign in the heavens when something great is about to happen on the earth. They learnt that when God gives a gift to the earth, He shows it in the heavens. So this Star represented the greatest of kings… God Himself coming to earth in the form of a man.
“When they saw the rising of The Star they immediately consulted the ancient scrolls and knew that That Star shows that The King of the Jews was born. He would bring Salvation to all men. They were looking for the Coming of the Messiah.
- The Wise men Represented The Nations of the earth.
These wise men probably came from different parts of the Eastern countries at that time. We also know that they represented all the nations of the earth. And those men happened to be from the lineage of Ham, Shem, and Japheth, the three sons of Noah.
They made haste to prepare to leave immediately for their journey to worship The King.
(The people in India still move in threes so it is widely believed that there were 3 Magi/wise men. The Bible tells us that their gifts were 3 most precious gifts.). Please check the quote below.
There could have been more wise men, not only three: and then they could have travelled with a large company of men (servants) for their protection; since they had to travel on their camels over many hills, deserts and rough territory and even needed to; be safe from bandits and marauding animals, which prowled around. They straddled their camels and started on hundreds times hundreds of miles of journey. It just wasn’t an overnight journey. It had taken two years for them to get there in Palestine.
- They seek for Him in the Great Cities of Judea/Palestine.
When they got there, they thought everyone in Judea would know who and where The King was. They went to Jerusalem; the Capital of the land, where you would expect a king would be. All the people knew only Herod, the Jewish King at that time. There was no star to guide them in those big and mighty cities. So the wise men called out publicly and openly, “Where is He that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen His Star in the east, and are come to worship Him”. When Herod heard this, they had to appear at the palace to tell their story.
Herod then enquired of the scribes and religious leaders, who consulted the ancient scrolls. They reported that in Bethlehem, this Christ had to be born. After finding out the time the wise men had seen the Star in the East, Herod told them to find the Christ and return to him, so that he could come and worship Him also…
Do you think that that was Herod’s desire to worship this new king? No! Herod was jealous of the “New” King and was planning something very evil.
- The Wise men find Him and worship…
The wise men followed The Star, they had seen in the east, which then appeared to them and which led them to the house where the Young Child was; and The Star stood over Jesus. They had followed God’s directions by His sign. And they were led directly to Jesus, The Christ.
They worshipped Him… They worshipped Jesus.
When they saw the Star over the Young Child (He was 2 years old), they were very glad and fell down and worshipped Him.
What a precious time must have been for the wise men to reach the One they had longed for so long to come and worship.
- They opened their treasures.
And presented to Him with gifts of Gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts showed what these humble wise men thought of Jesus. They knew he was a king. These wise men were rich men. They were humble men, yet they were rich. They had the finest and costliest, the most precious gifts to give to Him. Let us see the value of these gifts. Gifts fit for a king.
- Gold speaks of royalty. He was not made a king He was born a king.
Gold represents a king, a crown.
Gold also speaks of God. Gold was used not only for a king, but also in the Holy Temple, where the furniture and articles were overlaid or covered with gold, fitting for the Divinity and Presence of God.
He was Deity. He was God. The wise men knew that He was God.
He was The King of Kings.
- Frankincense is very expensive. By crushing the herb, the Priests would get the oil or perfume.
This sweet smelling Perfume was used in the service in the temple. It is an oil\perfume for burning on the altar of incense and representing the prayers of the saints.
Frankincense also represented the sweetness of Jesus’ life… and that His young Life had to be poured out for a Divine Sacrifice, for a Supreme sacrifice.
- Myrrh is very valuable. It is a bitter herb and made into sacred anointing oil used for burial purposes… To embalm the dead.
This then Represented the Great suffering this king would endure to obtain Redemption for Mankind.
Now, let’s put these expensive gifts together. Their meaning was:
Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh represents:
Deity… in Service… to Die.
The wise men first gave Him worship and then gave Him these finest of gifts. After the wise men had seen and worshipped Jesus, they were warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, so they left to their own country another way.
- A Law to kill: (by Herod) All young children to be killed 2 years and younger.
Now when Herod realized the wise men were not coming back to report to him, he ordered by a law that all the young boys, 2 years and younger to be killed. There were much weeping in Bethlehem and all the land because of this vile decree or law. How very wicked was this king and his Law.
Joseph also was warned in a dream to flee with his family to Egypt to escape the cruel judgment of Herod the king.
Scripture to learn:
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Read: Quote by our Prophet…
These wise men. We have an idea here that, and we’re told by tradition, that there were three wise men, yet we don’t know that to be true. The Bible doesn’t say there were “three.” However, I’ve had the privilege of ministering in India, from where they come from, and they travel by three’s. That’s, we still see them. Just not long ago I was in India. And here you see them kind of squatted on the street with their, in the daytime, with their heads bumped against each other, with their turbans, sitting there kind of like in a daydream. They never sit right down, they just squat down. And that’s the reason, I think, that we believe there were three wise men, because they travel in three’s.
And they said, “We have seen His Star in the East and have come to worship Him.” In other words, “We have seen His sign for this age,” that they were living in. It was prophesied so. 63-1216 WMB