As we begin our series on Advent, anticipating the coming King, we consider what it would feel like to be in a time and place marked by hopelessness and longing. With Matthew 2 as our textual source, we examine the visit of three wise men from the east looking to worship the King of Israel. They first sought Him in Jerusalem and King Herod met with them in secret asking them to return to him when they found the King of Israel so he too could worship Him. Herod was already a king and wanted no competition in ruling so when the wise men did not return, Herod ordered the slaughter of all male children age 2 and under in the area where the wise men had been sent. There is much more to this story so please do listen. And while listening ask yourself who or what rules you and your life. Is it Jesus or someone or something else? What steps do you take to keep Jesus from being the center of your life, the ruler of your life?
Matthew 22 begins with Jesus telling a parable of a wedding feast to help the crowds understand what the kingdom of heaven is like. Many of us have all been guests at weddings; some of us have been participants in the wedding. So we know what a wedding is. But the wedding feast Jesus describes is not any ordinary wedding. Listen to this parabe and ask yourself who you are in this story. Are you the father who invites the guests? Are you the groom? Are you the bride? Or are you one of the invited guests? Did you accept the invitation or did you refuse?
This message uses Matthew 11:2-18 as its source. In this passage, John is in jail and sends his followers to Jesus to inquire if he (Jesus) is the one to come. Jesus responds with a reassuring answer to John and then speaks to the crowds asking what they had come to see. Jesus' words gave encouragement then and give encouragement today. Give a listen to learn what the crowds went to see. Do you see it in your life today?