Here we find, as we often do in the Gospels, a recounting of innocent-looking events which were anything but innocent, as can be seen by the fact that “Herod was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” (Mat 2.3.) Herod and Jerusalem were right to be troubled, for through these events the newborn King was beginning to make His counterclaim to the kingdoms of this world, represented by Herod, and to a spiritually barren Jerusalem, represented by her religious leaders. The Magi’s visit to Jerusalem had a reason of its own in God’s plan, for the visit was not necessary for the Magi to find the newborn King. The Star led them to the Child, just as it had led them to Judea in the first place. (Mat 2.9.) In between, the Star disappeared, so the Magi entered Jerusalem assuming the one “born King of the Jews” would be found where kings are normally found – in the palace. But in this palace was not the newborn King, but Herod who would try to kill Him. In God’s plan, the purpose of the Magi’s visit was not to inquire about the King, but to announce the King to Jerusalem and her leaders. Afterward, the Star (which is almost certainly not an astral body but the Shekinah glory cloud by which God manifested His presence in the Old Testament) reappears, leads the Magi to Bethlehem, and stands “over where the young Child was.” (Mat 2.9.) In the Old Testament, the Shekinah filled the Temple. (2Chron 5.13-14.) The Temple was “God With Us.” The Temple was where God and man met, where heaven and earth met, where man worshiped God and renewed covenant with Him. The Temple was the center of the world. God’s people came to the Temple at least three times a year for the Great Feasts, and they were forbidden to offer sacrifices anywhere else. (Deut 16.5-6.) Now, the Shekinah is leading worshipers away from the Temple in Jerusalem to a small Child in Bethlehem. The Magi worshiped God, not by worshiping at the Temple, but by worshiping Jesus. The message is as unmistakable as it is revolutionary. Jesus is the new Temple. Jesus is where God meets with man, where heaven and earth are joined, where one worships God and renews covenant with Him. Jesus is the center of the world. I hope you enjoy the sermon. Thanks for listening. –Alan Burrow
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