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The Sages, the Star, and the Savior [part 3]

On Sunday morning of December 25th, 1870, Charles Haddon Spurgeon delivered a sermon on Matthew 2:2 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. We are posting this sermon in a four-part series. You can read part one here or part two here. The following is the third part in that series.

“Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”
Matthew 2:2

“We have seen his star.”

Having spoken of the enquiry of the wise men, I shall now notice their encouragement. Something encouraged these wise men to seek Jesus. It was this: “We have seen his star.”

Now, most of you seekers after Christ have a great encouragement in the fact that you have heard his gospel; you live in a land where you have the Scriptures, where the ordinances of God’s house are freely dispensed. These are, as it were, like Jesus Christ’s star; they are meant to lead you to himself. Here, observe, that to see his star was a great favor. It was not given to all the dwellers in the east or west to see his star. These men, therefore, were highly privileged. Not all men are privileged to have heard this good news; Jesus is not preached in all our streets; his cross is not lifted high even in every place that is dedicated to his worship. You are highly favored, O my friend, it you have seen the star—heard the gospel—which points to Jesus.

To see the star involved these wise men in great responsibility. For, suppose they had seen his star and had not set out to worship him, they would have been far more guilty than others, who, not having received such an indication from heaven, would not have been able to set it at nought. Oh, think of the responsibility of some of you, who in your childhood heard of a Savior, for whom a mother has wept many tears; you know the truth, in the theory of it at any rate; you have the responsibility of having seen his star.

The wise men did not regard the favor of seeing the star as a matter to be rested in.

They did not say, “We have seen his star, and that is enough.” Many say, “Well, we attend a place of worship regularly, is not that enough?” What does God care for outward forms and ceremonies? When I see men putting on white gowns, and scarfs and bands, and singing their prayers, and bowing and scraping, I wonder what sort of god it is they worship. Surely he must have more affinity with the gods of the heathen than with the great Jehovah who has made the heavens and the earth. Take note of the exceeding glory of Jehovah’s works on sea and land; behold the heavens and their countless hosts of stars, hark to the howling of the winds and the rush of the hurricane, think of him who makes the clouds his chariot, and rides on the wings of the wind, and then consider whether this infinite God cares whether a cup of wine is lifted in worship as high as a man’s hair or only as high as his nose!

O foolish generation, to think that Jehovah is contained in your temples made with hands, and that he cares for your vestments, your processions, your postures. You fight over your ritual, even to its jots and tittles do you consider it. Surely you know not the glorious Jehovah, if you conceive that these things yield any pleasure to him. Nay, beloved, we desire to worship the Most High in all simplicity and earnestness of spirit, and never to stop in the outward form, lest we be foolish enough to think that to see the star is sufficient, and therefore fail to find the incarnate God.

They must find the newborn King and nothing else would satisfy.

Note well, that these wise men did not find satisfaction in what they had done themselves to reach the child. As we have observed, they may have come hundreds of miles, but they did not mention it; they did not sit down and say, “Well, we have journeyed across deserts, over hills, and across rivers, it is enough.” No, they must find the new-born King, nothing else would satisfy them. Do not say, dear hearer, “I have been praying now for months, I have been searching the Scriptures for weeks, to find the Savior.” I am glad you have done so, but do not rest in it; you must get Christ, or else you perish after all your exertion and your trouble. Jesus you want, nothing more than Jesus, but nothing less than Jesus. Nor must you be satisfied with traveling in the way the star would lead you, you must reach Him. Do not stop short of eternal life. Lay hold on it, not merely seek it and long for it, but lay hold on eternal life, and do not be content until it is an ascertained fact with you that Jesus Christ is yours.

For the wise men, it was a fair sight to see the cottage with the star above it, and to think that the new-born King was there, but that did not satisfy them. No, they went right into the house; they rested not till they saw the Child himself, and had worshiped him. I pray that you and I may always be so led by the Spirit of God that we may never put up with anything short of a real grasping of Christ, a believing sight of Christ as a Savior, as our Savior, as our Savior even now. If there be one danger above another that the young seeker should strive against, it is the danger of stopping short of a hearty faith in Jesus Christ. While your heart is tender like wax, take care that no seal but the seal of Christ be set on you. Make this your vow: “I will not be comforted till Jesus comfort me.” It would be better for you never to be awakened than to be lulled to sleep by Satan — for a sleep that follows upon a partial conviction is generally a deeper slumber than any other that falls upon the sons of men.

My soul, I charge you get to the blood of Christ, and be washed in it; get to the life of Christ, and let that life be in you, that you be indeed God’s child; put not up with suppositions, be not satisfied with appearances and perhapses; rest nowhere till you have said — God having given you the faith to say it, “He loved me and gave himself for me; he is all my salvation and all my desire. See, then, how these wise men were not made by the sight of the star to keep away from Christ, but they were encouraged by it to come to Christ, and do you be encouraged, dear seeker, this morning to come to Jesus by the fact that you are blessed with the gospel. You have an invitation given you to come to Jesus, you have the motions of God’s Spirit upon your conscience, awakening you; O come, come and welcome, and let this strange winter’s day be a day of brightness and of gladness to a many a seeking soul.

I have turned my thoughts on this last head into verse, and I will repeat the lines —

O where is Christ my King?
I languish for the sight,
Fain would I fall to worshipping,
For he’s my soul’s delight.

Himself, himself alone,
I seek no less, no more,
Or on his cross, or on his throne,
I’d equally adore.

The sages saw his star,
But rested not content,
The way was rough, the distance far,
Yet on that way they went.

And now my thoughts discern
The sign that Christ is nigh,
With love unquenchable I burn,
T’ enjoy his company.

No star nor heavenly sign
My soul’s desire can fill,
For him, my Lord, my King divine,
My soul is thirsting still.