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Dec 13, 2020

Frankincense

Frankincense

Passage: Matthew 2:1-11

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: The Gift

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: faith, christmas, jesus, god, salvation, jesus christ, priest, jesus christ is our bridge to god

The Gift | Frankincense | Matt Petty | Burnt Hickory Why did the wise men gift frankincense to Jesus? The gift of frankincense shows that Jesus Christ is our bridge to God. In today's message, we will see that Jesus is our High Priest which means that He represents us before His Father and He makes our relationship with God possible.

Well good morning church just about got a little bit Bapti-costal during that last song. That was incredible. And hey, can I just tell you again this week Merry Christmas to everybody that's out there. We are incredibly glad that you're with us today. You know, yesterday, we had to cancel our Christmas Under the Stars and I was incredibly bummed, was looking just to hang out with everybody getting to see everybody outside safe social distance, all that good stuff. But I'm not gonna lie to you all day yesterday, I was just praying for rain. I was like, Lord, please let it rain, just let it rain, we canceled this thing. And now we're gonna look like fools.

But anyway, it did rain, just enough to let us know we were okay. And that's all right. We were in this room on Tuesday night with our full staff, with all the Burnt Hickory staff in this room and saying a couple of things to them on Tuesday. And just something hit me just kind of in the spirit a little bit, that I feel like I probably just need to say more. So, I want to say this morning. And I just want you to know, from every person, whether you've been here your whole life, or you're just new here, God has incredibly blessed this place with just some amazing people that have some amazing gifts and amazing passions in life. And we were with our all-staff team on Tuesday night and I just want to just say publicly, because I should probably say it more how incredible, so many people who serve this church are. And that's whether you're a kind of staff person or you're a volunteer, or you're pointing people in the parking lot from not being fools and running over people. We have incredible volunteers here. And I just feel like I just need to say thank you on behalf of this community, for all that you guys are doing here in this church. Well, look, if you've got a copy of Scripture today, I want you to go ahead and grab it. And I want you to turn to Hebrews chapter 4. And then I want you to flip all the way back over to Matthew chapter 2, put something in Hebrews 4 or if you're electronic, just go over to Matthew 2, and you'll be able to get there quicker. But we're in week number two of our Christmas series entitled The Gift. The Gift. And so last week, and this week, and next week, and then it's going to leak into Christmas Eve a little bit into the thoughts from Christmas Eve, what we've been doing is that we've been taking a fresh look at these wise men, at these guys that brought these gifts to Jesus, Emmanuel to God with us. And we've been looking at who they are and what these gifts are and what we've been doing. And one of the goals in this series, and it's kind of a goal and studying the coming of Christ, and really, it's a goal and studying any scripture so much, is that we've been looking at a few of the things that God is saying about Himself. And what is He saying to us. And one of the kinds of major pillars of this kind of Christmas series is one of our goals is that we've been trying to kind of debunk possibly some of our Christmas card theology, or maybe some of our Christmas Carol theology. And we've been wanting to take a really close look at what the Bible says about the coming of Jesus. What the Bible says about who this child was and what it is that He was here to do. And what it is He is bringing to earth and here's the goal in it. I just want us to slow down in it. Now, I know it's your thing and you're like Matt, there's never been a slow moment if you're up here and you're teaching I mean I get it they only give me like 30, to 40ish to 50ish minutes up here sometimes. But I really want us to slow in the moment for a minute. And I want us to meet these Magi, I want us to meet these Wise Men and I want us to see the power behind what it is that they're doing to come and worship the King to meet Jesus and I want us as a result of it just to walk through this Christmas season. Because I know that some people celebrate Christmas and don't even really know why celebrating the Christ child. And not necessarily just celebrating the consumeristic lie or narrative that's been given to us. So, as we look at these guys, as we're slowing them, I want us to see the object of their worship. And I want us to see what it is that they're bringing. And then I think we can gain kind of a fuller grasp of who He is.

Well, last week, we jumped into it pretty quickly. And we looked at this gift of gold, we looked at a gift of gold last week, and these guys from the east, they brought this gift to Jesus. The first gift that I mentioned is they brought the gift of gold. Now gold, we said this last week is the metal of kings. And they brought this gift of gold to Jesus, because the reality is, is that He is not just a king, He is the King of Kings, and He is the Lord of Lords. So, you've got this priestly tribe of guys from the east, bringing Jesus this incredibly big gift, the gift of gold to represent that Jesus didn't just come to this earth, to be your buddy, or to be a Christmas card moment. But He came to be King Jesus, He came to be Lord Jesus, and He came to rise and give us life. And the reality is we said last week until we understand that He is King, we really can't understand the other things that are wrapped around Him. We can't understand what He is and who He is to us. We can't call Him our Savior until He is our king. That's what we kind of said last week and we walked out of here really studying the worship that these Magi gave Him. And it gave us a little bit of a litmus test through chapter 2. And it said that they recognize this call. And the reality is that all of us have Jesus that is going to be our King. We have to recognize the call of the Holy Spirit in our life, to turn from our sin and turn to Jesus. But they not only just recognize it, but they responded to it, they acted on it, they saw the star rise, they followed the star to meet Jesus. And you know what a lot of us we've heard about Jesus a whole lot. We have this head knowledge about who the Christ child is. But the question is, have you responded to the call? Have you given Him your life as your King as your Sovereign, but they didn't stop there, the reality is they were willing to risk their lives for it. And when we meet Jesus, that there's this idea behind it in that, we really now know that our life mission is to honor Him and to give Him glory, and not necessarily ourselves and then not only risk for Jesus, but they worship Jesus when nobody else was, they gave their best to Him and this gold and these other gifts in there. And we walked out last week saying that when you meet Jesus, you never return the same way.

You know, I can't tell you how many times I hear this conversation. And well, man, I kind of think that I met Jesus at one time or, you know, there's kind of this, maybe this happened. But here's what I'm seeing in Scripture, when I read it. When you meet Jesus, your life is changed from that point. That doesn't mean you don't fall. It doesn't mean you don't struggle. But there is a change in you, that points you in a new direction, that there is no ambiguity anymore. There's not a question of well, maybe I did, these guys knew they met the King. And I hope you learned that last week. Walk away, you don't have to listen to the podcast anymore. There it is, if you aren't here, but let's talk about these Magi for a minute. These guys from the east. These guys from the east wandered into town to worship King Jesus and they were really just descendants from a tribe of Meads or a median tribe. The reality is they weren't great warriors. But they were incredibly smart. God had given them the gift to know things. God had given them the gift of discernment; He had given them the gift of being able to read kind of things that are happening, and kings had hired them into their courts for centuries to tell them what to do. Tell them how to go to war or where not to go to war. In fact, if you'll remember back in the Old Testament, the law, the Medes and the Persians in order for something to become this law, this priestly tribe had to stamp it as law in order for a king in Persia to become king, these Magi, these Medes would have had to say that that guy can in fact be king. That's these Magi that we're studying. They began in a religion a long time back that was absolutely pagan, it was actually an astrology and it was Zoroastrianism if you want to look that one up later on, and they tried their best to read the stars and read the planets and if you're outside a lot at nighttime, I guess that's just something you might be able to do. But because of this guy named Daniel, coming into the course of the Medes coming into the courts of these Magi, they met the Lord. They heard the stories of Jehovah God 600 years earlier, and they began to see that maybe just maybe we've been following the wrong God, we've been following the wrong presence and they begin to mold into this hodge-podge group of a little bit of Zoroastrianism a little bit of astrology and a little bit of who God is. And for 600 years, God orchestrated them hearing the prophecies about a coming king. The Old Testament prophecies about Judah in Bethlehem being the birthplace of the Messiah, that He was coming at this time when the Romans were in charge at this moment, so when they saw the star, it wasn't a fool's errand they were on. They're rolling back all the way to Daniel and 600BC going, that's what He was talking about. So, they walk in and they meet Jesus. And I want you to see this in Matthew chapter 2, verse one, it says, "After Jesus was born, in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east, came to Jerusalem." They came from the Persian area, Iran in present day and they walked in and they began to meet with King Herod, they begin to get an audience with King Herod. We looked at this a lot last week, and this would have been kind of 18 months plus maybe up to two years after Jesus was born. And I want you to see what happens after they meet with Herod in verse 9. It says, "After they heard the king, they went on their way and the star they had seen when it rose and went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary and they bowed down and worshipped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh."

Now, I want you to see something here. This totally, we kind of breezed past this last week. If you're a English major or maybe in your life, you became an English teacher, you'll know this the rest of us dummies, we don't have a clue. But here's what's happening right here in the story, right? What's happening is the Holy Spirit is giving Matthew through the inspiration of God what to write as we looked at this a while back on the inspiration of God to write scripture. It's from God, written by man, right? But I want you to notice some of the things that Matthew did. Matthew, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he doesn't talk a lot about the Magi. He doesn't. He just kind of mentions it briefly, like nonchalantly. Oh, yeah, there was these guys from the east that came on in town, right? That's basically all that He gives us. There are a couple reasons. One, he's kind of speaking to a Jewish audience, and they would have already known who these guys were. So, he really didn't have to worry about explaining it and the second reason is, that's not the point of the story. It's not the point of the story at all. I want you to notice that the Holy Spirit in Matthew didn't talk a lot about the star didn't talk about like the symbolism of the star. And if we'll all go outside, and look Northwest on the 21st of this month, we're gonna see the Christmas star. He didn't talk a lot about what this star was. Why? Because it's not the point of the story. It's not the point to get hung up on it. Was it a physical star? Was it a symbol of the light that led them through the wilderness as Jews? Was it a star that just kind of hovered? It could be the one in Brookstone, it's over somebody's house, for all I know, it doesn't matter what the star is, right? That's not the point of the story. The point of the story, is what we're looking at right here, right? Because why, the Bible's in detail and the Bible loves details, doesn't give a lot of details on the Magi doesn't give a lot of details on the star. But what it gives a lot of details on is the gifts. You see it would have been really easy for Matthew, or the Holy Spirit through Matthew just to go, hey, these guys from the east following a star came and they offered Jesus some gifts.

But he didn't do that. And I believe every word of Scripture matters. And here's what I want you to see. The gifts matter. They matter so much. The reality is, they're the point of the story. They're teaching me and you that when we come to Jesus to worship, when we meet Jesus, we have to have a grasp on a few things before we know who it is that we're worshiping and why we're worshiping Him. Last week is why we looked at the gold. We said he is the King of kings. We said that, right? But I want you to see something here because the details matter. And not only these gifts mattering, they're emblematic of Jesus's character in their prophetic of what He is going to do. In other words, they look back at history of where God has brought them. They're looking at the moment that Jesus was born and they're projecting who the Christ Child Emmanuel is. Now this is way more than the We three Wise Men song, right? There's way more here I promise you than this. So verse 11 shows us that they brought Frankincense. They brought Frankincense. Now, this is amazing, but you got to know what Frankincense is. Otherwise, you're just like me for most of my life. They brought gold. They brought frankincense, they brought myrrh we walked down the road, we walked down the aisle of some preschool pageant at some point in our dad's bathrobe and we presented them before the king, right? This is what we did. We didn't know what it was. You've been there right? You know what's happening. But Frankincense, this is incredible, Frankincense is a particular very specific incense. Now before you go back to your Grateful Dead college days, all right? So it's a little bit different than that okay? It kinda but kind of not it's an incense. In fact, frankincense, I got a picture of where it comes from here. Frankincense is a resin, or it is a sap that comes from a specific tree called the Boswellia Thuri Fera. I know you've always wanted to know that right there. All of you guys that walk every like all the Latin names at the botanical garden. There you go, you can look it up. It's a tree that grows in the Arabian Peninsula, in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Oman, that's the only places that this tree grows. And during this time period, what would happen is, is that the only way for the resin to become the Frankincense that it needs to be from the Frankincense tree that's what we're gonna call it, so I don't have to remember that name is that once a year, the gardener would go to the tree, he would cut a slit in the bottom of the tree, about an inch deep all the way about halfway around the tree and that would allow the sap, the resin to ooze out of this tree will be this yellow ambery resin that eventually if they left it there long enough, it would harden into a crystal form and they would knock it off and they would pulverize it into power or into powder into this little powdery substance. The only way it got to Israel, the only way it got back to Israel is through long caravans of traders and it was incredibly specific, and it was incredibly, highly sought after. And when it was burned, it was incredibly aromatic. Most theologians say that it kind of gave off here's your description for those of you essential oil people it gave off kind of a woodsy or balsamy with a hint of oil smell. But here's the deal it was very different than that bottle that you're about to send me this week of your essential oil. Frankincense not the same thing, okay? That's the hijack virgin, I promise you of that. But what happened was, they would take it, they would pulverize it, they would light it and it would smell for meters and meters and meters around it. And everyone knew what it was. So, here's the question. I mean, it doesn't make sense does it? We have these wise men from the east walking a long way to present a baby with a box of incense. Makes no sense. He's not trying to cover up anything right? It makes no sense.

Until you know what it really is. Let me give you the principle and I'm gonna walk through it today. The principle is this Frankincense was a standard tool for worship and sacrifice for the priest. The middleman between God and man. Okay, let me read that again. Because this is gonna take us through the rest of the morning right here and I want you to grab this. The principle is this, frankincense it was a standard tool of worship, they used it in worship and sacrifice for the priest who was one who was the middleman between God and man. Now, I what you to see something every other occurrence in the Bible that the word Frankincense is used, it is used in the context of a priest to Jehovah God, every other one, and it was two very specific purposes. First, it was used Frankincense was used to set apart a priest. It was used to set apart a priest. You say, Matt, what does that mean? It was mixed with oil and it was mixed with other spices. And when a priest was walking through his ordination or his setting apart from becoming kind of a normal man of the old testament to move into God's representative because that's what a priest is right? When that happened in his life, they would take the frankincense, they would take other spices and they would pour it over the head of the priests as a symbol of cleanliness and setting apart and that guy being ordained into service as a priest of God. Exodus 29, "Take the anointing oil and anoint him by pouring it on his head." It was a moment of setting apart a person, setting apart a precept God. Leviticus 8:10, "Then Moses took the anointing oil and he anointed the tabernacle and everything in it and so consecrated them." What does that mean just? It just means that it made them holy, made them set apart. Verses 11-12, "He sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times, anointing the altar and all of its utensils and the basin with its stand to consecrate them. He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head," Aaron was the first priests, right? "And anointed him to consecrate him." What does that mean? It means when a priest simplified that they were called into service by God, they would take this outward symbol, pour it over them, so at that point, people knew that this man was the go between a holy God and a sinful man. That's what Frankincense was used for first, but secondly, it was used in the daily temple worship. It was used in daily temple worship. If you'll study the Temple of the Old Testament, you'll see that one of the altars was the incense altar, and every morning and every night, they would bring incense and they would burn them in front of the Lord and what would happen, as the smoke from the incense would rise from earth towards the heaven as a symbol of their worship as a symbol of lifting to God not only but we would billow out to others, it was almost as if it hits God billows out to others and if you were anywhere around the temple at this time, you would smell this very distinct smell and it would tell you this, that the priest was lifting up a prayer on your behalf, every morning, and every night. Exodus 30;34 says, "Then the Lord said to Moses, take fragrant spices-gum resin, onycha and galbanum-and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts and make a fragrant blend of incense the work of the perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some into powder and place them in front of the Ark of the Covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord." And then in Leviticus 2, I love the end of Leviticus to saying, "When anyone brings a grain offering, to the Lord, their offering is to be of the finest flour. They are to pour olive oil on it, put frankincense on it and take it to Aaron sons the priests. The priest shall take from it a handful of flour and oil, together with all of the frankincense" and listen to this, and the burn it as a memorial portion on the altar, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to Lord." I love this word picture. It's almost as if God the Father in Heaven is watching the sacrifice habit is watching this happen and it's almost like he's going and just breathing in and going, Man that's good.

And look, He can't smell it. Well, maybe He can, I don't know. But that's not the point. The point is, He's looking at His priests the go between God and man, looking at Him offering this gift offering, this gift, this same gift that Philippians chapter 4, it's the same concept when Paul said that this gift of financial gift that you have given me, he says, "They are a fragrant offering an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to the Lord." Psalms 141:2 David says, " prayerMay my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting of my hands be like the evening sacrifice." This Frankincense is the one that Zachariah would have used in Luke chapter 1, when he went into the temple to make his sacrifice when Gabriel the Angel told him that John was going to be born to him and Elizabeth. It's the priests daily sacrifice this aroma to God to which you're like, why in the world do we care? And I get it? That's a valid question. We care because in this, God has shown us how good He is. In fact, let me just put the pieces together for you. We have a priestly group from another land. Catch this, that knew about who Jesus was. Bringing Jesus frankincense, which is what? Which is a substance for a priest to be used by a priest and they're giving it to whom? Jesus, which is what? Our High Priest, He's our High Priest. Now, if you're not paying attention, you just don't even know what just happened. But if you are, you just watched the Old Testament priestly sacrifice system. You watched the priest being consecrated, being tied together with the baby Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus of the New Testament, and these guys, they're just still trying to figure this thing out, bringing Him a gift that would set Him apart as a priest and set Him up to be our High Priest. That matters. It matters. And that's good news. Why? Because this is one of Jesus's primary roles in our lives is that He is our High Priest. Now, what does that mean? What does that mean? Because there's a whole lot of theology around priest, right? What does that mean? I love the fact that the writer of Hebrews over 11 times refers to Jesus, as our High Priest, for all people, and all time. It's one of His greatest roles that He feels. So, here's the principle behind this just in case, I just want you to be able to put it on paper at this very moment. Okay, I want you to think about this. If you have given your life to Jesus, at this very moment, now that He has ascended back to the Father, you have the High Priest, your representative Jesus fully with God, the Father in heaven. Now, there's a whole lot in that statement that's going to be unpacked through what's about to happen in Hebrews, but we got to know what is a priest? For those of you who grew up Catholic, you know, this is the Pontifex, right? You had to memorize that, you probably got some kind of candy for it in your training as a 12-year-old at your catechism training, you probably got that it's the politics, it just means Latin for priests. That's just a fancy word, right? But a priest is literally a bridge builder. That's what literally defines this. A priest is a person that goes before you to God. That's what the priest’s role was in the Old Testament was to go before God, it was to lift before God, the sacrifice to live before God, the atoning sacrifice for what was happening. So now what we're looking at, is we're looking at a priest, one that stands on behalf of another in this story, but it's not just one. It's Jesus. It's Jesus.

And these Wise Men, oh, man, I hope you can catch this. These men are bowing before Jesus and they're looking at Him saying, we know you're the only way to God. You're the only way. And I hope you see that this morning, that He's the only way. But what does it mean that Jesus is really our High Priest? Hebrews chapter 4, there's an incredible kind of idea a thread that runs through it, I want to give you a couple of them. Number one, it means that our faith, it can rest in Jesus and not ourselves. When we can claim that Jesus is our High Priest, it means that we're not in this thing called Christianity on our own. We're not in it for the rules, we're not in it for the regulations. We're not in it for the ritualistic things that happen. It means that we can come to God because of what Jesus has done. And it also means that these little "p" priests, all through the Old Testament that have been offering all these sacrifices, and all this temple worship, and all this stuff, while they were a band aid, they were not eternal. But now we have an eternal High Priest that is looking at us going, look, you don't have to do it on your own anymore. I'm yours. And I'm here to step in to give you forgiveness, to give you sacrifice to give you access all of this. Hebrews 4:14. Therefore since we have a great High Priest," talking about Jesus, "who has ascended into heaven, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith that we possess." What does that mean? That means without Jesus as our High Priest, you can't hold firm to faith. It can't happen through how good you are. It can't happen through how much you give. It can't happen through how much you come to church; it only means that you have access through Jesus. He's our High Priest. But number two, it also means that Jesus fully empathizes with us. He fully empathizes with us. Do you realize that we serve a God unlike any other God that has ever claimed to be that walked literally in your shoes? That did what you do, that struggled how you struggle, and now He is our High Priest. He's our High Priest, he has now ascended to the Father and He is the bridge between a Holy God and a simple man. Look at verse 15. It says this, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet He did not sin." Do you know what that means? That means Jesus was born and He lived. He was tempted. He struggled. He was hungry. He was called. He died and He rose and Jesus, listen to me, He is not a disconnected God from you. He's not a disconnected God that spun this thing into existence and doesn't know what you're going through. Never let Satan drag you into a conversation that makes you feel like God doesn't know where you are because Jesus, our High Priest does. And he lived it but was without sin. Which leads us to number three, not only relates, but we can approach Jesus with confidence in times of need. Because listen to me, He is for us. He's for us. Like some of you grew up in churches that would not say this out loud, because they didn't want you to think that Jesus was walking this closely to you. They wanted you under some kind of oppression or some kind of system. But can I just tell you this, Jesus is for you. He is for you. He would not have done what He did to become our High Priest, if you did not matter to Him. If Him loving you did not matter. Never let Satan take this from you. He loves you. And you can approach Jesus, listen, no matter what's happening in your life. No matter how bad it gets, no matter how bad people get, no matter how much of it hits the fan, no matter how raw it is, or whatever depth that you're at, you can approach Jesus if He is your king, if you know that He is your High Priest. He's your bridge builder. He is your Pontifex. He is the one who is setting Himself apart. Look at this, verse 16 He tells us, "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with competence.

What does that mean? It means when we come to Jesus, we don't have to do it cowering away, we can do it in that He has already bought us. He's already given us life. And we can have confidence look, so we may have mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people's matters and related to God to offer gifts and sacrifices of sins. But Jesus, look at verse 2, "He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are gone astray, since He himself," what does it say, "is subject to weakness." Do you know something when you blow it, Jesus knows it. When you don't know where to turn, Jesus knows it. When you don't know what to do, Jesus knows it. Don't allow yourself to be drawn away from Jesus in those times, allow yourself to be drawn toward Him in those moments, because why, He's for you. That's the manual of Christmas. They want to see this number four. Number four, Jesus, our High Priest became the forever sacrifice for our sins. He became the forever sacrifice for our sins. Now this matters, because in this time period that these Magi were walking in, at the time period of the Old Testament priests, what had to happen was over and over and over and over and year after year, and day after day, month, after month and festival after festival, all of this stuff had to happen just for you to hope that you were close enough to God to make it. But what happened when Jesus became the forever is that he just looked at us and said, Hey, that stuff, it doesn't have to happen anymore. I'm the Lamb. Look at Hebrews 5:5 it says, "In the same way Christ did not take on himself, the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to Him, You are My Son; today I had become your father. " And he says in another place, you are a priest forever. You know, many of us grew up thinking that as soon as Jesus ascended to the Father, as soon as Jesus got back to God, right, soon as he got back to God the Father He was done. But in one sense, you are incredibly correct. He was done. He was done being the sacrifice and the sacrificer. But in another sense, listen to this, He only has just begun. He's only just begun because He's our Priest forever. He continues on and on and on and on. How do we know that because number five, look at this? Jesus is forever praying for you. He's forever praying for you. You never thought any of this was in the Christmas story. I guarantee you but it is. He's praying for you. And I want you to see some of this outside of chapter 5. But it's in theme of the High Priest. Hebrews 10:11 says this, ah this is so good. It says, "Day after day. Every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again, and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins." He's talking about the Old Testament system go hey, these guys they're great guys, they've been doing it forever doing what they've been called to do, but it's never gonna take it away, or it's just gonna put a Band-Aid on it. But, when this Priest," this is Jesus, “had offered for all time, one sacrifice for sins" catch this, "He sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he awaits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice, he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." I love this because I want you to notice something. Anytime you study the temple in the Old Testament, you'll notice there's one piece of furniture that is not present, and it's a chair. I don't know why, but it's just the chair. Did you know according to Jewish law, that priest while on duty, were not allowed to sit down. They were not allowed to sit down. Why? Because their work was never done. And if you think about it, it's true, right? If you're only just kind of making an atonement for this moment, as soon as you go out and say something you didn't mean to say, or do something you meant to do, you have to hop back into there and give another one, right? You got to keep this process up. They were never allowed to sit, but I want you to see something then Jesus comes along, our High Priest, right, He comes along, He offers the sacrifice, not just the sacrifice, He becomes the sacrifice for you and for me, He's the lamb, the fragrant offering to God. He's connecting us with God, He dies, He rises, He ascends to the Father in heaven. And what happens? He's finished with that. And what does the guy do? He sits down. He sits down. Why? Because you no longer need a sacrifice for your sins. It's already happened through Jesus.

It's already happening. Romans 8:34, "Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is" seated, catch this, "at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Listen, somebody in this Christmas season needs to hear this right here. That our God, Jesus, our High Priest, Jesus, our King Jesus, He didn't just die for you. He didn't just raise for you. He didn't just go and sit down at the right hand of the Father for you. He is interceding on your behalf. What does that mean? That means He's praying to God for you. So, when Satan begins to creep into your mind, and say things like nobody cares, nobody wants you, nobody even knows you. You can speak back to them in that moment and go my High Priest does. And His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus, Hebrews 7:25 says, "Therefore He is able to save completely those who would come to God through Him." Why? Because He has always lived to intercede for them. Do you realize the reason that Jesus just didn't hang up the cleats is because He is still praying on your behalf? That's the Jesus the Wise Men are worshipping. Look, I love it. There's so many of you that do this all the time, Matt, I just want you to know I'm praying for you. I'm praying for and listen, man, that does a lot for your soul, doesn't it? When someone looks at you that you know, specifically, or maybe that you know, that walks with Jesus and says something like, Hey, I'm praying for you, that just makes you go well, thank you, that's incredible. That's an incredible deal. But I want to let this sink in just for a minute. The God of the universe. Emmanuel is praying over you. He's praying over you. And here's the interesting thing. He's talking to the Father God, about you, Jesus, the Pontifex. Our High Priest, our bridge builder didn't just give us the way he's praying for us to have the way. That's Jesus, Emmanuel is praying for you. Isn't this exactly what this guy named Job prayed for in the Old Testament. Remember Job? God was so big, so strong, but man Job got crushed where I think some of you are at right now. Your spirits are crushed, your life's kind of crushed. And Job looked at God and he was like, Hey God, if only, look at this, Job 9:32 he says, "God is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer Him, that we might confront each other in court. If only," listen to what Job said, ah is good. "If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God's rod from me, so that this terror wouldn't frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of Him, but as it now stands with me," Job says, "I cannot." Here's the deal. We have the mediator. The Magi came to Jesus and stamped Him as the High Priests with the frankincense, the gift of priests to be a rising aroma to God to cover our sins. And listen, 1Timothy 2:5 says, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all people." Here's what I want you to see this morning. Jesus, our High Priest, He's the middleman. He's the middleman. You say Matt, I don't like the middleman, I like going straight to the source. Can't do that and salvation, we blew that one. But you can do it through Jesus. And isn't Jesus the perfect person for this? Due to His anthropic nature or His dual natures? All God, all man? Could there ever be a better middleman than one that is fully man and fully God? Can anybody more relate to man and God than Jesus? The one who has both natures? No. Listen, this Christmas, don't get caught up in a Christmas card. Get caught up in the High Priest that is the fragrant offering to the Lord, on your behalf. Get caught up on the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords who has given His life for you.

Man, can I just tell you that I believe every single one of us have this place in our heart that we're trying to fill. We're just trying to fill it. Every person on this planet, I believe, it's trying to fill the spot. And we fill it with all kinds of stuff. It's a gap. It is a major divide. We try to fill it with money, and we try to fill it with people, we try to fill it with athletics and friends and identity and sports and fashion and, all of this entertainment. But can I just tell you this? Only the bridge builder can fill it. Only the Pontifex, the High Priest. Our Lord. Jesus. The Magi knew it. They'd been waiting on it. And they got to see it. Here's my question to you. Do you know Him? Have you given your life to Jesus? You know, it's a simple question, but an incredibly profound process, to know that, in an instant, in an instant, you can ask Christ to forgive you of your sins, to come and live in your heart and you can make him King. And from that point forward in your life, you can claim to know the High Priests, Lord Jesus, and he covers you. He intercedes for you. And he gives you life. Like, I don't know where you're at right now. But I know this. He loves you. You know, we have a next steps text. And we talk about this just about every week. But if you need to meet Jesus today, and if you'll just text this or get the app out and just hit the next step, here's what it'll do. It'll just walk you through a few questions. And within a couple hours or even into tomorrow, somebody will get back to you. And they want to pray with you. They want to walk with you. They want to explain to you even more of what we've talked about this morning. Maybe today you need to join this church, or you need to follow through with baptism or maybe today you just need somebody to pray with you because it's hitting the fan right now. And if you'll reach out on this text message right here, somebody will get with you. Because we want you to know that Emmanuel, King and High Priest is with us.

Lord, as we worship on the backside of this message today. God today, we just want to tell you, thank you. God, we don't bring a box of gold and we don't bring a box of Frankincense but today, Lord, we just ask, and we just pray that you move in our hearts for a few minutes. And you point us in a direction this week that we bow, and we worship you Emmanuel it's in your name we pray. Amen.

Let's stand together at any point during the song if you just need to text that number. Hey, you go for it. Somebody will get back with you as soon as they can.