The Search For Christ

Sermon Notes of
Reverend Harvey Alford Matney
(1868 – 1951)
December 24, 1911 – Chappell Hill, Texas



One of my favorite Christmas stories is the story of the wise men that came to worship Jesus. I always wondered about how these men were so moved to travel across the continent to search out a little child. They had a star as their guide we are told in the Bible. They obviously had divine wisdom or had studied the Word. How else could they have known Jesus was “King of the Jews?”

What an indictment on the religious leaders of the time that only foreigners and shepherds were given the opportunity and wisdom to seek out God’s Son and witness his entry into the world.

In this sermon, my grandfather examines the story of the wise men and the implications for our own search for Christ. – Harrison Woodard

Matthew 2:1-12 KJV

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, 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.

When Herod the king had heard [these things], he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found [him], bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

The Search

A star is the emblem of a prince; hence they virtually say, “Where is the king born, for we have seen his emblem, his star.”

The way in which these men acted throws a flood of light on their characters. They make a real effort to find Christ.

Men travel today across continents, across oceans, around the world: but how small the percent of them in search of things Christly, or really helpful to man.

They moved under a star of hope and carried an offering for their prince. They knew what star guided them, it shone in the heavens, and it was one that they must look up to see. Yet they used every means in reach in their search. At Jerusalem, they made an inquiry of Christ in the records.

How often it is the case that men are guided by an ideal with which they have but little acquaintance. And the acquaintance they have assures them that the ideal is no higher than themselves: and many times much lower. How few now really search the records for him.

These men looked upon it as their business to find Christ. They made it their chief business and pressed the search to the end.

The Success

Such a search was of course successful. They seem to have lost sight of their guide while they were with Herod, but when they began to depend on it again; it came forth in full blaze.

When they find him they lay at his feet their hearts homage and their rich gifts. They had come to worship him and pay him homage. Such characters as theirs add much to the gifts they bring.

None are satisfied simply to look on Jesus the redeemer. They would serve him and make sacrifice to him.

None have ever sought him with a whole heart but that he was found of them.

These were wise men from the east, but they had, nor knew any substitutes for Christ. The whole world in all of its wealth and glory and wisdom has never been able to furnish a satisfactory substitute for Jesus Christ.

We can get on without many seeming necessities, and be noble and pure and good, but not without Christ in our lives.

The human spirit is at its best only when at one with Jesus Christ. The richest are poor without him, and the poorest are rich with him in their lives.

Nay, they sought not only the “King of the Jews”, but also the king of all hearts, the Christ of God. Other kings have lived and ruled and died and their places have been filled. Yet Jesus has no successor. He lives in every hope that looks beyond the grave and no man expects anything from any other source.

Nothing stirs such lofty aspirations in the spirit as the presence of Christ

Nothing offers such a call to action as the star of hope that guides in the path of Christ.


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