The Bare Soul - December 26, 2010
The Christmas Star

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "The Christmas Star" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on December 23, 2010.

The Christmas Star - December 23, 2010

Matthew 2:2 - Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.

The heavens have long held a fascination for humankind. For millennia, man has looked to the skies for both direction and hope. King David wisely stated in Psalm 19:1-2: The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. Arguably, the greatest manifestation the world has ever seen of the manifestation of the glory of God in the heavenlies is the Christmas star that appeared over the eastern skies at the time of Jesus' birth. By this glorious light, the Magi from modern day Iraq traveled to a non-descript city south of Jerusalem named Bethlehem. Through this beacon shining in the night, the wise men were able to ascertain the birth of a mighty king in Israel. Very possibly these holy men from the once mighty Persian Empire understood through the writings of Daniel more than 500 years earlier, that a future ruler who would ultimately save His people would be born at this very time in Judea (see Daniel 9:24-27). They understood the signs of the times and they took heed, traveling hundreds of miles to confirm that truly a ruler had been born in Israel that would be the Eternal King.

Throughout scripture, God uses stars as metaphors for his heavenly beings. Job refers to the morning stars singing together, and all the sons of God shouting for joy (Job 38:7). The psalmist tells us that God numbers and gives name to all the stars, implying that His angelic host is finite yet even so an assembly of myriads (Psalm 147:4). And Isaiah states that not all the "stars" in the heavenlies are good (Isaiah 14:13). As the prophet speaks about Satan's prideful rise and self-assertion toward God, John the Revelator tells us how a third of the wicked "stars" or rather the devil's mutinous collaborators fell to earth at the fateful time when the angels rebelled (Revelation 12:4). The greatest Star of them all is first prophesied (centuries before Daniel) to appear by a Mesopotamian prophet named Balaam. (This fellow is a good example of someone that started out right and ended up seriously wrong!) In the book of Numbers, Balaam is hired by the king of Moab to curse the nation of Israel, but instead he pronounces a blessing over the Hebrews. During his prophetic utterance, Balaam speaks about a Star that will arise in Israel and will reign forever: I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth (Numbers 24:17). The prophet was declaring a dichotomous fulfillment to his prophecy. First of all, he stated that this part of his prophetic word was not for the present but was for a later date. Undoubtedly, this was the revealing of the star that would herald the Morning Star (II Peter 1:19; Revelation 22:16) to be born in Bethlehem several millennia from his utterance. Secondly, it was a prophecy speaking of the return of Christ to be revealed at His second coming as He takes captive the nations of Moab (present day Jordan) and others that have raised their hand against His beloved Israel (see Jeremiah 25). Balaam's prophecy, as well as others, only confirm the inevitable in God's plan of redemption for both Israel and the Gentile nations.

Jesus tells us that in the same way as he departed the earth in the same way He will return (Acts 1:11). Even so, in the same way as he came the first time, so also will the heavens herald His return. Jesus both foretold and warned us of the great and terrible day of the Lord in the book of Matthew:

But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. - Matthew 24:29-30

This will truly be a day of great rejoicing for those who have believed, but a day of terrible reckoning for those who have despised His appearing. Just as the Son of Man appeared under the twinkling herald of a great light in the sky, so His coming will be in the twinkling of the eye and it will be a great light that will consume the darkness. The Morning Star will have arisen to create a new day where only He shall reign and no wickedness will stand before Him. For even as His coming was heralded two millennia past, so the sky will once again proclaim His glory as He sweeps the stars from the sky and He alone will remain to shine bright.

Throughout time, the heavens have been the place for man to turn his gaze to learn of God's glory. David knew this, Daniel also, and most assuredly the Magi. Now, it is our turn. Will we allow the Christmas Star to captivate our hearts until the Morning Star rises first within our spirits, and ultimately on a new earth in the age to come? It has always been and will continue to be our choice. Like the wise men, we must seek Him, traversing whatever distance is necessary to find Him. For only as we allow the Christmas Star to abide within, will we then know the Morning Star who desires to reveal His life to us all. Come, Lord Jesus, and reveal the very Star of David as we celebrate the birth of Christ in us all!

O Holy God, thank you for the Christmas Star that lives within all who call You Lord. Allow the bright and Morning Star to increase His brilliance in all of our lives until He returns in splendor. We thank You and praise You for Your wonderful gift to the world! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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