Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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The Wisemen Worship the King 12/28/2014
Dear friend,

As we continue to remember the beginnings of Jesus' earthly life during this Christmastime, we recall that the first persons to whom God revealed the Good News to were the shepherds who were keeping their sheep in the pasture. They responded to the Good News by going to Bethlehem to see for themselves, they could not keep the news to themselves, and they returned to their job glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had seen and heard.

The wisemen came from the east to Jerusalem seeking the King, keeping direction by following a star. And they came with a question: Where is he that is born the King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.

Now it had been around two years since the night when the glory of God had shown around and outside of the few that were blessed to have witnessed the events and those who heard the news, the birth of Jesus was largely unnoticed. Life continued as usual for most people, as they lived out their lives, waiting for the deliverance which was promised by the Messiah.

And then one day the visitors came from the east, asking the question: Where is He born king of the Jews? For they looked for Him in order to worship Him. To pay homage to Him.

When Herod heard about this, he was troubled as well as all of the city of Jerusalem. Herod was a ruler who tolerated no threat to his throne and had many killed, even those in his own family, to protect his power. It is easy to understand that if Herod was troubled all of Jerusalem would be also because they would suffer at the hands of the tyrant king.

Herod did the right thing in asking the chief priests and scribes as to where this king would be born, but he used the knowledge not to bless himself and his people, but he used it to try to get rid of the threat. He used the Bible not to gain more knowledge of this King of the Jews, but to destroy Him. He was looking out for his own selfish ambitions. Wow, how different the King of the Jews was, for He came not to destroy men's lives but to save them.

Then Herod secretly called for the wisemen, and under the guise that he wanted to worship Him attempted to determine the time period of the birth of the King. He then sent the wisemen on to Bethlehem with the order to bring the King back with them.

9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

As they began to follow the star again, it went before them and stood over where the young child was. When they saw it, perhaps because it stopped, they were given the knowledge that they had found the King that they were looking for. They rejoiced with exceeding great joy!!

11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Let us note that the wisemen arrived in Bethlehem some time later, up to two years and they came into the house. When they saw the young child with Mary his mother, they fell down and worshipped Him. They then opened their gifts, the significance and meaning of which have been sung many many times over the years in the Christmas Carol "We Three Kings of Orient Are."

Before we go through that hymn verse by verse, let us note that God was superintending his plan of salvation through a warning given to them through a dream that they should not go back to Herod. Let us not forget, never forget, that He is the King of the Universe.

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

The hymn written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., was instrumental in organizing an elaborate holiday pageant for the students of the General Theological Seminary in New York City in 1857. Hopkins, the seminary's music director, wrote and staged the pageant, which included his upbeat composition "We Three Kings of Orient Are."

1. We three Kings of Orient are

Bearing gifts we traverse afar.

Field and fountain, moor and mountain,

Following yonder star.

O, Star of wonder star of night,

Star with royal beauty bright

Westward leading, still proceeding

Guide us to thy perfect light.

2. Born a King on Bethlehem's plain,

Gold I bring to crown Him again,

King forever, ceasing never,

Over us all to reign.

O, Star ...

3. Frankincense to offer have I;

Incense owns a deity nigh.

Prayer and praising, all men raising,

Worship Him, God most high.

O, Star ...

4. Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume

Breathes a life of gathering gloom,

Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,

Sealed in the stone cold tomb.

O, Star ...

5. Glorious now behold Him arise,

King and God and sacrifice,

Alleluia, Alleluia;

Earth to the heav'ns replies.

O, Star ...

Can you picture the scene as the wisemen knelt and bowed in worship of the King, of the Divine, of the One who would suffer death and the One who would rise again. They understood of the nature of his Kingship while Herod understood only of his earthly kingship, or a kingship of his ownself. The wise bowed their hearts in love, in adoration, in thankfulness, for they saw the joy in the heart of God being poured out for them through the King lying before them. Herod bowed his neck in stubbornness and pride as he sought to destroy any threat to his kingship, kingship of self.

O may we see the love of God being poured out into our world through the symbolist of these gifts that were brought from far off in the east to the King, who is worthy of all honor and praise.

Take the Name of Jesus With You
Lydia Baxter, 1809-1874
“Take the Name of Jesus With You” was written by Mrs. Baxter on her sick bed just four years before her death in 1874 at the age of 65. Throughout her lifetime she was known as an avid student of the Bible who loved to discuss the significance of scriptural names with her friends. She would inform them that Samuel means “asked of God,” Hannah “grace,” Sarah -“princess,” and Naomi “pleasantness.” But the name that meant everything to Lydia Baxter was the name of “Jesus.”

Take the Name of Jesus with you,
Child of sorrow and of woe,
It will joy and comfort give you;
Take it then, where’er you go.
Precious Name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of Heav’n.
Precious Name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of Heav’n.
Take the Name of Jesus ever,
As a shield from every snare;
If temptations round you gather,
Breathe that holy Name in prayer.
O the precious Name of Jesus!
How it thrills our souls with joy,
When His loving arms receive us,
And His songs our tongues employ!
At the Name of Jesus bowing,
Falling prostrate at His feet,
King of kings in Heav’n we’ll crown Him,
When our journey is complete.

Let us take the name of Jesus with us into the New Year, as we look into it with anticipation and expectation to see what the Lord has in store for us.

In Jesus Name, I leave you.
Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 28 Dec 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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