You Can’t Miss It! (Matt. 2:1-12)
How many of you have a GPS system? I have found myself really dependent on those things. The one we have is apparently not too fond of the cold weather. It does not turn on unless the car warms up! So now we don’t leave it in the car anymore now that it is winter, but take it inside when we get home. This is really important for me because if it dies on me, it also becomes the death of me! The reason is because I am the kind of guy who upon being told, “You can’t miss it! It’ll be right in front of you. It’s the building that is shaped like a cow” somehow still manages to drive past it.
Have you ever been told that? “You can’t miss it!” I don’t like when people say that because it seems like every time someone tells me that, I am on the phone or talking to some guy on the street a few minutes later asking for clearer directions. Guess who looks dumb then?
Do you know what else gets missed during this season? I should rephrase that, “Do you know who else gets missed this season?” It’s Jesus Christ.
Sure unbelievers miss it all the time. But I feel like I need a GPS system this season to find Jesus Christ again for myself. No, I am a believer and am saved, but I am talking about getting a hold of Christ at a deeper level. I was reflecting this past week on all the Christmases I have been part of growing up. Can you think of yours? I did not know the Lord until I was 17 and every Christmas, the church I grew up in had a huge celebration, usually about everything other than Jesus Christ. It was a big deal at my house too. I remember setting up the Christmas tree every year, putting up the lights outside my house, being in several skits at church, receiving presents and attending long Christmas services. I remember lots of parties with relatives, most being an opportunity for the adults to get drunk and act like idiots. Amid the busyness of this season, buying the gifts, enjoying school break, vacation time, decorating, and everything else that comes with the season, I totally missed what was right in front of me.
It was all a big show, without ever recognizing the chief guest of honor! Imagine celebrating a birthday party without inviting the person whose birthday it was! Yeah, I totally missed it. Well when I got saved, I went the other extreme. I became jaded by all the commercialism and everything that came with the season. I didn’t want anything to do with Christmas. I didn’t put up any decorations. I never sent any cards. I didn’t care about the gifts. I prided myself on being so “spiritual” because of it. I told everyone, “Is Jesus born in your heart? Every day should be Christmas.” I was a real Scrooge to be around! After a while, since I avoided any kind of celebration, I stopped thinking about Christmas.
Then I married Jenny and she is a woman who loves celebrations. If you ever down, get around her and she will make you feel like it is your birthday every day. So this season, guess what it looks like at our home? We have decorations, Christmas trees, cards sent, lights all over. She is making me think about the season all over again. As always, I’m trying to find that balance. I don’t think it is wrong to celebrate any holiday, but if it relates to Christ, we must be careful not to miss what is right in front us either through indifference or through distractions of the world.
So I need a GPS system in trying to find Jesus again. In my journey, I went back to the first Christmas. Let’s see how people celebrated it the right away and let’s learn from those who totally missed what was right in front of them.
Turn with me to Matthew 2:1-12. We are going to see three different responses to the birth of Jesus Christ. Two of them really missed what was right in front of them. And we are in danger of falling into the same trap if we are not careful. One response was truly amazing, took great lengths to get there and remains as one of the greatest moments of worship in Christian history.
Let’s start with the first response, which was from Herod the King, who totally missed the main event. Why did he miss it? Well, first of all:
When we finished Ruth, we ended in Bethlehem, the “House of Bread.” Flash forward 1000 years later, we are back in Bethlehem because the “Bread of Life” (John 6:35) will be born there. The story will take place there and in Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, just six miles north. Israel is now under Roman rule. The Romans have a puppet leader named Herod to lead Israel. Let me give you a brief background on King Herod:
a) Ruler of Israel and Judah from 37 BC to 4 BC. If he died 4 BC, this means Christ must have been born before that, most probably 5 or 6 BC.
b) He was half-Jew and half-Idumean, who were descendants of Esau.
c) He was a short man, standing a little above four feet tall, but had “short man’s syndrome” i.e. always wanting to prove that he was a big guy.
d) So he built a lot of things, including great projects to build cities, palaces, theaters, fortresses. Secular historians called him Herod “the Great,” though the Bible never called him that.
e) He was a shrewd diplomat. Though he put incredible taxes on the people, he also built the Jews a temple. In turn, they gave him allegiance. He even converted to Judaism, but that too was politically motivated.
f) He was a greedy and lustful man (married at least nine times).
g) As he grew older, he became paranoid about losing his throne. As a result, he killed many of his children, wives and others close to him if he heard even the hint of anything that he saw as a threat. Hence, he orders the murder of all male children two and under in Bethlehem later in the chapter (Matt. 2:16).
h) Emperor Caesar Augustus once said that it was better to be Herod’s pig than his son.
i) One commentator said, “Well into his seventies, and realizing no one would mourn his death, Herod ordered the arrest of one hundred of the leading men of Jerusalem. He put them in prison and demanded that the moment he died, those hundred men were to be killed instantly. In his reasoning, he stated, “If the city won’t mourn for me, let it mourn for those who die with me.” The men were arrested, and Herod eventually died, but his final order was never carried out.
j) He eventually died in his palace in Jericho, ravaged by disease.
k) After Herod’s death, the districts were divided among three separate rulers. It was Herod the Great’s son, Herod Antipas, who killed John the Baptist (Mark 6:26–28) and taunted Jesus (Luke 23:6–12). Like father, like son right? What a horrible legacy!
So you get the picture on Herod. Not a lovable or huggable kind of guy. You would think as a king, he would be in total control, seated and settled in his throne. But that is not the picture you get from him in Scripture. He was not a king, but a slave of fear and paranoia. He was held captive by his own desire to control his life.
Notice what happens to him when the wise men come to Jerusalem and Herod finds out. Matt. 2:3 says he was “troubled.” Other translations say “disturbed.” Those are weak translations. It is more like “terrified” (the Messageuses this) or “greatly agitated.” “The rest of Jerusalem” is a phrase that refers to the religious and political leadership. They were disturbed too because they know how Herod gets when he hears of a rival to the throne.
As William Hendrickson writes in his commentary, “Was not he, even Herod, the one and only “king of the Jews”? Had he not received this title from Rome? Had it not taken him months, years even, of struggle to make this title come true? Was this, then, another attempt to dethrone him? Would this rumor about another king of the Jews stir up the freedom riots among those fanatics who hated him so thoroughly and had already caused him so much trouble? Herod is agitated and angry. He is convinced that unless radical measures be taken his worst fears will be realized. But he is not going to take this lying down. In his depraved mind a wicked plot is beginning to develop.”
Notice Matthew keeps mentioning “the king.” This is to highlight Herod’s problem. He was in fear of having another King in his own life. So He missed Christ. So he connives to end the threat. Look at Matt. 2:7-8. He tries to find out how old the child is by asking them what time the star appeared. He is trying to make a guess at the competitor’s age to kill him, but he masks the question as though he was interested in the wise men’s profession. So “we infer from this that the star had appeared a couple of years earlier, for when Herod went on his murderous rampage, he ordered the killing of all boys two years old and under (Matt. 2:16), although he may have added to the age to make sure the child would be destroyed.”
He does not want anyone else to know about this. The Jews were waiting for the Messiah. If they found out that Herod killed the Messiah, it would not sit well with them. In Herod’s mind, there is only one King of the Jews: himself! So his plan is to make the wise men search for the King and when they find him, to come back and inform them. It seems the wise men have no idea of the reputation and character of King Herod. It was the perfect plan, but too bad there is somebody else in charge! Divine intervention would spoil his plans. Look at Matt. 2:12. God speaks to them in a dream to stay away from Herod.
Illus: The hatred and hostility of Herod is the typical unbeliever reaction to Jesus Christ. Did you hear what happened in the legislative building in Olympia, Washington? Near a nativity scene, an atheist organization calledFreedom from Religion Foundation put up a sign.
It reads: “there are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but a myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” Then someone stole the sign and they found it in a ditch. The atheist organization put the sign back and added the words, “Thou shalt not steal. Ex. 20:15” next to it. Good point. Believers, let us in an effort to stand up for Christ not commit sin in the process. Of course they would never put this sign next to a mosque or a Hindu temple would they? What is interesting is what Dan Barker, co-founder of the organization and former evangelical preacher comments:
“Most people think December is for Christians and view our signs as an intrusion, when actually it’s the other way around,” he said. “People have been celebrating the winter solstice long before Christmas. We see Christianity as the intruder, trying to steal the holiday from all of us humans. “When people ask us, ‘Why are you hateful? Why are you putting up something critical of people’s holidays? — we respond that we kind of feel that the Christian message is the hate message,” he said. “On that Nativity scene, there is this threat of internal violence if we don’t submit to that master. Hate speech goes both ways.”
I want to be like, “dude, chill out…it is just a nativity scene.” Not even a cross or a written sign! Jesus is a threat to people. Aren’t you glad Jesus intruded into your life? When you don’t realize that the greatest thing to happen to you is to have Jesus take over your heart in love, you see it as a hate message. Satan has blinded the hearts of unbelievers to think Christ is about hate.
Anyway, take a look at this picture. We all know this picture of Jesus knocking on our door.
I am not too fond of these images. You may remember me talking of that in the past. I don’t like the white Anglo-Saxon Jesus. He looks He has a lot of product in his hair and like a hippie (as Mark Driscoll says) and really not too appealing to me. When I think about my salvation experience, Jesus came more like this:
This is a literal depiction of Jesus in Revelation 19:11ff. I actually had this as a poster in my college dorm for a long time. But when I think about how I got saved, this is a good picture. He did not come knocking for me. It was not like He was knocking and I opened and He said “I love you” and I embraced Him. There was that aspect, don’t get me wrong. But Jesus came as a Conqueror into my heart. He burst down the door I had up. I was a rebel. I was stuck in my own self-righteousness. I was a Pharisee. I was king of my life. But He charged in there and I fell down to my knees at His beauty, His authority, His power. This was the King! I pulled out my white flag and I surrendered. He was still tender though. He wiped my tears away and made me His own. Tender, but a warrior, nonetheless.
We can look at unbelievers and see their Herodian heart. But I still see Herod in me. Do you? Do you see pride sticking to you like leprosy? I have a desire to control my life. Self-righteousness drives me all the time. I don’t anyone to interfere with my plans. I get tightfisted about holding on to my kingdom. My greatest sickness is self-sufficiency. But what I really need—all the time–is for Him to come and rule my heart. I need Him to come and ransack my heart as a conquering King! I want Him to turn over the tables of self and pride I have set up. I want Him to destroy pet sins I like to hold on to. I want Him to envelop every corner of my heart with His presence.
When I don’t, I can miss Him. He can get pushed out of my life. If I try to be the shepherd instead of the sheep or the captain instead of the passenger, I am in big trouble. Fear fills my heart. I fear He will not be good and might hurt me. I don’t trust His Word and His promises. And each time in the end, I realize I am not in control of my life. When plans fail, I will become heartbroken. When people hurt me or do not meet my expectations, I become isolated and lonely. When the fleeting pleasures of sin pass away, I become discouraged and despair. This is all because I am afraid of His rule in my heart.
So this Christmas, let us confess our Herodian heart. One aspect of Christmas is the longing of a Ruler to come. The Jewish people were waiting for a ruler to come, but really someone who they could squeeze into their agenda on what a king should be. We are reminded of that again this Christmas. We need this Ruler to come conquering into our heart. Not a ruler who can fit our agenda. Not one who will let sin co-rule with Him. Not a ruler who will allow mediocrity and indifference to Him. No, let Him come as the Faithful and True ruler that He is, with eyes, which are a flame of fire, to bring all sin out from the darkness and burn them. Let His Sword, the Word of God, penetrate our hard hearts. Let His presence fill our lives!
Let us not miss Christ because of the fear of His rule in our heart and over our lives.
II. We can miss Christ if we cling to what we have always known (Matt.2:4-6).
Look at another group that totally missed Christ. After Herod had heard about the wise men coming and asking about another King, in Matt. 2:4, he gathers all his experts together. He wants to know what the Scriptures say about this.
The chief priests gave oversight to temple activities, while scribes were the official interpreters of the OT. These were the religious leaders of the day. Interestingly, Herod assumes this King that is born is the Messiah, as he inquires “where is the Christ that was to be born?” So Herod is like, “I know in your Scriptures there is talk about a Messiah being born. Where does it say he will be born?” The religious leaders are quick to respond in Matt. 2:5-6with a verse from Micah 5:2.
Why does God choose to come in Bethlehem? I like what John Piper says: “Why [Bethlehem]? Because when He acts this way we can’t boast in the merits or achievements of men but only in the glorious mercy of God. We can’t say, ‘Well, of course he set his favor on Bethlehem, look at the human glory Bethlehem has achieved!’ All we can say is, ‘God is wonderfully free; He is not impressed by our bigness; He does nothing in order to attract attention to our accomplishments; He does everything to magnify His glorious freedom and mercy.’” Like we said last week, He gets all the glory!
Jesus gives insignificant things significance so that He can get the glory. A small little town in the middle of nowhere is the place where the God of Universe decides to show up. As Paul says in Corinthians, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.… Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:27-31).
Bethlehem was an unimpressive little city then and today it is still an unimpressive little city. But today there have been more songs have been sung about, more poetry written about, more photographs taken of, more trips made to this insignificant little city than any other. Bethlehem is one of the best-known places in the world today for only one reason: Jesus was there. Is this not the story of our own lives?
The prophecy also contrasts the ruler Herod to one who will come born to rule as well as Christ, being the great shepherd versus the religious leaders who were blind guides to the people of Israel. In addition, the “Greek word for ‘ruler’ evokes the image of a strong, even stern, leadership. ‘Shepherd’ emphasizes tender care. Christ’s rule involves both (cf. Rev. 12:5).”
Um, question? If you know where the Messiah is going to be and it happens to be just six miles away in a small town where you can’t miss it and some wise men show up saying they too have some revelation about this, why are you sitting there in your prayer shawl quoting verses? Why aren’t you asking the wise men to catch a ride down to Bethlehem?
Answer: they are blinded by religion. They are clinging to what they have always known. They missed the big event. They missed the Messiah, the person they had studied and thought they had figured out. The problem was their study was just that, a study, just an academic exercise. Word study never led to worship. Their search for the Messiah ended up in a Bible verse. They were more excited in finding a cross-reference than finding Christ.
Another thing I have been convicted of as I have been trying to find the Lord this season is the fact that I am content with studying the Word, which is supposed to lead me to more of Jesus (compare with the disciples on the road to Emmaus Luke 24:13-35). I have more joy sometimes in being in the Word of God than being with the God of the Word. The study of God’s Word, the ability to break it into chewable pieces of understanding is called exegesis. But in all our exegesis, we might “X” out Jesus in the process.
One word describes them: indifference. No heart change or commitment. Just another day. Just another service. Just another Christmas. “I’ve been hearing this since I was little!” we might say. This Christmas, we may know all the carols, and know the Christmas story, possibly able to tell it without even reading a single verse. However, in all that we already know, if we do not move from head knowledge to heart knowledge, from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, from knowing to doing, we are wasting our time. We are missing the main event.
How do I know I am clinging to religion and not cultivating a relationship? Five indicators:
a) Acceptance instead of expectance. We are content with our spiritual progress. We go through the motions, but it is like sitting in a rocking chair. We seem to be moving, but we are not going anywhere. No expectancy to hear from God. Like a hamster in cage, going round and round.
b) Information instead of transformation. We keep God at arm’s length. We sing the songs, but do not think about the meaning and allowing it to penetrate our heart.
c) Recreation instead of repentance. We feel like we will die without entertainment. No conviction about what we are watching or surfing on the internet. We want to indulge yourself in it, only to have it leave us unsatisfied, longing for more, but still waiting for the next thrill ride.
d) Artificiality instead of authenticity. We present yourself as having it altogether. Everything’s good and we are good too. But we haven’t prayed in days or weeks. The Bible is still in the car. We have unconfessed sin and fear grips our soul. But no one knows. The mask fits just fine for another day.
e) Quantity instead of quality. We measure our spiritual growth by how many chapters and how long we prayed instead of seeing if we are growing in love toward God and people.
So we can miss Christ by fearing His rule in our lives, and by clinging to what we have always known. But there is a way we cannot miss Him. Lastly,
One group did not miss Jesus Christ. This is the only place in Scripture their visit is recorded. The wise men, or magi, were from “the east,” which could mean Persia, Arabia or Babylon. They were known for their study of astrology, astronomy, dream interpretation, sacred writings, wisdom and magic. They were probably not kings, but more like highly respected men.
By the way, there is no indication that there were just three. Three is suggested because there were three types of gifts offered to Christ, but that does not have to be. So the song, “We three Kings of Orient are”—is not really accurate. Sorry to break your bubble if that is your favorite Christmas carol!
There could have been a lot more of them, since they got Herod’s attention. They also have some knowledge of Jewish messianic expectation, so they must have come in contact with Jewish writing. Perhaps they were familiar with the prophecy of Balaam who said, “A star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Num. 24:17). Perhaps they were familiar with the writings of Daniel? We don’t exactly know.
Nevertheless, is it not amazing that God comes to people where they are? They studied the stars and so the Lord said, “Okay, I will speak to them and reveal to them the Star of Stars, the Star of Jacob.” Jesus calls Himself the “bright morning star” (Rev. 22:16). The wise men likely traveled with a large number of attendants and guards for the long journey, which would have taken several weeks. For example, if they had come from Babylon by the main trade route of about 800 miles (1,288 km), averaging 20 miles (32 km) per day, the trip would have taken about 40 days.
They arrive in Jerusalem, thinking the capital city is the logical place for a King to be born. They must have arrived with their caravan thinking the holy city would be bustling with activity after the arrival of its king. They probably assumed shops would be closed. They expected a celebration. The temple should have been crowded and overflowing with offerings.
“Where is he who is born king of the Jews?” they ask in Matt. 2:2. They don’t ask if He is born, but where He was born. One merchant says, “No idea, but I do have gold crowns for 99 denari!” Others just shrug their shoulder. To their surprise, it is just another day in Jerusalem. Shopkeepers are busy as ever in their stores. Women are picking out various vegetables in the marketplace. The priests are busy in the temple attending to the rigors of their devotion. The only talk is of people pointing and whispering to each other about their arrival. They missed it.
These wise men didn’t realize it, but they were going to be one of the few people who would know of God’s secret. God’s own people were too blind in religion to see it. Herod was too consumed with his own power to see it. The wise men, on the other hand, were willing to travel miles and miles for a long time to get to Christ. Their eagerness humbles me. Look at their motivation. They have come to worship. This humbles me too. They did not come to get something from Jesus. He was after all, just a toddler. They came to Him for who He was.
After Herod finds out through his religious leaders that the King is supposed to be born in Bethlehem, he sends the wise men away to find the King there (God uses even His enemies for His purposes) and to let him know so that he might also worship. Yeah right Herod! Herod is not going to expend any energy or any resources of his own (sign of a Herodian heart—they love to hold on to things) if it is not true, so he makes the wise men do all the work.
Look at Matt. 2:9. Let’s talk about the star for a moment. Many have tried to explain it as a comet, alignment of planets, a super star, etc. but really Matthew does not focus on the details: like what the star looked like, how it moved, or how the wise men found the child from the movement and stopping of the star. The star was merely a tool, an instrument to bring the wise men to the Son of God. It is moving in Matt. 2:9 from north to south, contrary to normal star movement, which moves from east to west. So this is some strange, supernatural event in the skies.
It seems from Matt. 2:9 as well that the star was not always visible to the magi. It guided them to the actual location of Jesus Christ. See how God’s creation does His bidding! When his own people were asleep and blind to His plans, God even has his stars as his messengers!
Finally they arrive. Look at the reaction of the wise men in Matt. 2:10-11. Compare that to Herod’s hostility and the religious leaders’ indifference. Look how emphatic Matthew’s account is. It literally reads, “and they rejoiced with a great joy exceedingly.” You would be too like that if you have been searching, waiting and traveling for so long!
Notice they came to a “house.” Next time you set up the nativity scene, put the wise men a few blocks away. They were never with the shepherds or at the birth. They came much later. Joseph and Mary had moved from the stable into some sort of dwelling place. Moreover, Matthew uses the word “young child” which means a toddler as opposed to an infant. Jesus must have been a year to 18 months at this point; another reason that much time has passed since the birth.
Look what happens when they arrive. They fall down—literally throwing themselves down on the ground and the text says they worship, which means “to express in attitude or gesture one’s complete dependence on or submission to a high authority figure.” Notice they did not bow down to Mary or anyone else. I don’t think they realized this is the God in flesh or anything. But they give more honor and reverence to Christ than the Jews did. This is a foreshadowing of the fact that Gentiles too are going to be included in God’s plan of salvation.
Not only did they honor Christ, they offered their treasure, which consisted of very precious and expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, all typical gifts given to a King. Gold is the precious metal used for jewelry, ornaments and dining instruments. Frankincense was used for perfume (Song 3:6; 4:6, 14) and Israel’s priests used it in the altar for their service (Ex. 30:9, 34-38). Myrrh was used for medicine (Mark 15:23) and to anoint dead bodies before burial (John 19:39).
Some have found individual significance with each gift, like gold signifying Jesus as King, frankincense as Jesus as Priest and myrrh for Jesus who will die like a prophet. I feel like it is reading too much into the story. The significance is in the fact that they as Gentiles ascribed worth to the Lord Jesus and hailed Him as King. In addition, we see God’s providence to help finance the trip to Egypt for this poor couple when they ran away from Herod (Matt. 2:13).
I am again humbled by these wise men. My gifts to the Lord are often so cheap. A cheap tip of the hat for my devotions. A cheap half-hearted effort to sing His praises during worship time. Does my worship cost me anything? Is it costing you financially to tithe? Do my friends, neighbors, people at my work or school know I am a follower of Jesus Christ or am I too worried about it costing me my reputation? True worship is always costly.
Pastor and author Charles Swindoll says, “We are often so caught up in our activities that we tend to worship our work, work at our play and play at our worship.” These wise men had little knowledge of Christ. They had the bare minimum, yet look what they did with that knowledge. We know so much more, yet what little we do about it! We have His complete Word. We have the Holy Spirit. We have 2,000 years of church history. Yet we can miss it too.
Today if you go to Bethlehem, you will find a church built where they think Jesus was born. The church is called the Church of the Nativity. This is not the house mentioned in Matt. 2:11, but where they think the actual manger was. Scholars think that Jesus was actually born in a cave, where beasts have a home. Anyway, this church is built around a cave. Whether it is the actually cave or not, we are not sure.
Unfortunately when you go, you will be disappointed. As you walk in, you will see “the church itself divided into three sections (Catholic, Eastern, and Russian Orthodox) because these three groups have been fighting for centuries over who should control the site. And there are objects hanging from the ceiling that look like Christmas tree ornaments in a garage sale.” 
But is fascinating for me is how you get into the church. You will come to a great wall and then a door.
In order to enter, if you are an adult anyway, you will have to stoop, literally bending down to enter. Do you know what this door is called? The door of humility.  I love that symbolism! There is no way to enter the church otherwise. You don’t have to travel all the way there to find Jesus today. Today if we want to worship Christ, there is no other way except to fall down before him and humbling ourselves. There is no other way than to say, “You King Jesus I crown you now. You are worthy of all my worship.”
As we get ready for another Christmas, let us not miss the main event. Let us come with these wise men to the house and offer ourselves afresh and anew. You may not have gifts like the wise men, but you have the number one thing God wants, which is your heart.
 Blomberg, C. (2001, c1992). Vol. 22: Matthew (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (62). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Ibid. From other historical materials we know that Herod died in 4 b.c.(The calendrical confusion was caused by the switch from a Roman to a Christian calendar in the sixth century a.d., based on the faulty calculations of Dionysius Exiguus, who did not have accurate information about the time of Herod’s death.)
 Most of our historical information concerning Herod comes from Josephus’s Antiquities, Books 14–18.
 Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (8). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
 Barton, B. B. (1996). Matthew. Life Application Bible Commentary (22). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House
 Blomberg (63).
 Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953-2001). Vol. 9: New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (156). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
 Barton (27).
 From http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/12/05/atheists.christmas/ accessed 12 December 2008.
 Piper, J. (2007). Sermons from John Piper (2000-2007). Minneapolis: Desiring God.
 Courson, J. (9).
 MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Mt 2:6). Nashville: Word Pub.
 ESV Study Bible (1822). Wheaton: Crossway (2007).
Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature. sixth edition, ed. Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, with Viktor Reichmann and on previous English editions by W.F. Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and F.W. Danker.” (3rd ed.) (882). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
 Wilkins, Michael J. “On coming to the house (2:11).” In Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Volume 1, Matthew, Mark, Luke. 16. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
 Courson, J. (9).
 All Church of the Nativity pictures taken from http://www.sacred-destinations.com/israel/bethlehem- church-of-nativity- pictures/index.htm accessed 13 December.