This week Tom talked about the idea of worshiping fully, which is the first theme in Advent Conspiracy. We have a chance now to have a more community wide discussion on this topic, whether you’re part of a House Church, or whether you’re on your own. So open up your Bibles to Matthew Chapter 2 and let’s get started.
I think that Tom was right on with saying that the wise men are a great illustration for worship. These are a group of men who likely traveled months through the dessert, risking life, careers and social standing, while bearing gifts for a child in order to worship him.
Read Matthew 2:1-2
“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.’”
In order to get started, let’s look past a few things. First of all, let’s look past how they knew that the star meant that someone important had been born. Let’s look past the question of what ‘the star rising’ means, and let’s look past why some eastern Magi would care that a new king of the Jews had been born in the first place. We need to ask ourselves one question. Why did they come to worship him?
The gifts that the wise men brought with them were gifts of worship meant for a king. They travelled incredibly far which meant they thought his birth was especially important. Also, the Magi were able to look past incredible social, racial and national boundaries in order to ‘attribute worth to’ Jesus as an infant. Consider these questions:
- How does the story of the Magi illustrate worshiping fully?
- What kinds of barriers did the Magi break, and what is the cultural equivalent for us today?
- What do you think is the importance of the gift giving? How is this important to worship? How do we accomplish this today?
Read Matthew 2:9-11
“After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
We’ve already discussed the gift giving, so there’s a different aspect to this passage that we should look at. This passage says, “When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!” I don’t know if you ever noticed, but the exclamation point is very rare in scripture, and this is something that actually exists in the Greek and is not open to interpretation. So when they saw the star they weren’t ‘overfilled with joy.’ They were ‘overfilled with joy!’
- What do you think were the contributing factors to the joy of the Magi when they finally reached their destination?
- What do you think could have been a hindrance to their joy?
- What are the greatest contributing factors, or hindrances to the joy that we experience when worshiping?
- How much of the joy that we experience at Christmas is the joy of worship? How much of it is pointless, created Christmas hype?
On Sunday, Tom gave us several examples of the kind of baggage we can carry around with us, and how they can be a hindrance. Let’s take a look at all these points one at a time. How do you think these points in how they relate to the subject of worshiping full?. Ask, ‘how are we doing at this? How can we improve?’
- Consumption prevents us from connecting.
- Guilt prevents us from giving.
- Fear prevents us from having facination.
- Exhaustion prevents us from experiencing joy.