THE WISE MEN
St. Matthew 2:1-12
By The Rt. Rev. J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
Bishop of Liverpool , England
It is not known who these wise men were. Their names and dwelling-place are alike kept back from us. We are only told that they came ‘from the East'. 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 true servants of God in places where we should not expect to find them. The Lord Jesus has many ‘hidden one,' like these wise men. We must not look round the earth and say hastily, ‘All is barren.' The grace of God is not tied to places and families. 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'. There are some traveling to heaven at this moment, of whom the church and the world know nothing. But Christ loves them, and they love Christ.
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. ‘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 them most! There is only too much truth in the old proverb, ‘The nearer the church the further from God.' Familiarity with sacred things has an awful tendency to make men despise them. 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 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 time that such a journey would occupy must necessarily have been very great. 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.
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 pains do we take about means of grace? What diligence do we show about following Christ? What does our religion cost us?—These are serious questions. They deserve serious consideration.
These verses show us, lastly, a striking example of faith. 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!
This is the kind of faith that God delights to honour. We see the proof of that at this very day. Wherever the Bible is read the conduct of these wise men is known, and told as a memorial of them. 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?
Dr. Matt Colvin and his wife, Sora, were with us Sunday, December 2, 2012. They and their four children traveled to the Philippines at the end of December to begin their mission work.
Thank you to those who brought in coats for Love INC during December.
The ladies of the Women's Guild had a bake sale and Christmas Bazaar during coffee hour on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012.
The Sunday School and Preschool children presented a Christmas Pageant on Sunday afternoon December 16, 2012. (See photos) The children did a wonderful presentation of Christ's birth: “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” Around 100 people came. Those participating: Renee Hassert, Mary, Will Garrison, Joseph, , Maddie Levi, Innkeeper, Lexie Tjoelker, Archangel, Other Angels, Meara Lewis, Audrey Garrison, Stella Levi, Alyssa Whitworth, Lamb, Kylie Carroll (& Sleigh rider), with Dominic & Anthony Haddad as shepherds, Beatrice Zugaj, Star, Wisemen, Griffin Faxel and Joseph Tjoelker (& Horse for sleigh). Youth Angel & Flutist, Bethany Tjoelker, Youth Trumpeter, Jacob Tjoelker. Adult Angel helpers: Judy Ashmore & Janet Novak. Sunny Stiklius, Pianist/Organist, Patty Levi, Music Director, and Rev. Frank Levi recording. Combo DVD of Thanksgiving & Christmas Rehearsals and Programs $15.
Thank you to those who decorated the church so lovely for Christmas. The decorations are scheduled to be taken down Saturday, January 5 at 10 a.m. Sign-up to help in narthex.
Thank you to all who contributed food items for the Tinley Park Food Pantry.
All Saints' Anglican Church joined with us for our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. There were 66 in attendance. We observed Christmas Eve with a carol sing in the chapel at 9:30 p.m. This was followed by a Candlelight Communion Service at 10 p.m. The evening concluded with refreshments and fellowship in the parish hall. Thank you to all who participated and brought refreshments for the reception.
begins on Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013.
Soup Supper at 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall
Lenten Service 7:30 p.m. in the Chapel
These suppers and services continue every Wednesday until Holy Week.
106 th SYNOD OF THE DIOCESE OF MID-AMERICA
February 21 & 22, 2013 at St. Matthias, Katy, Texas
ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
Sunday, April 14, 2013 following church
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013! May God bless your year!
MISSIONARIES of the MONTH
Please pray for Canon Bill & Diane Jerdan for safety and help as they train and encourage missionaries around the world. Canon Bill is the Executive Secretary of the RE Board of Foreign Missions.
William R. Garrison