Sermon Outline

Matthew 2:1-18


I. Confidence

A. nice to have

-confidence in physician makes it easier to go to doctor

-confidence in Greek skills makes it easier to go to class

-confidence in powers of observation makes it easier to go to Bethlehem

-wise men confident that something significant happening

-observed star, must go to check it out

B. a tale of two confidences

1. Magi

-wise men



-wise enough to see the signs, the writing on the wall

Q: why were they there?

-faith? No real mention in text

-hope? No real mention in text

-scientific/professional curiosity?

-simply hedging their bets?

-confident something significant afoot

-better get on board

-worship v. homage

-scientists can pay homage to ideas, concepts

-worship them as well?

2. Herod



-Herod the great

-he is confident, too

-confidence of office

-support from political/military authorities

-confidence in own ability

-ability to effect change

  1. Collision of Confidences

A. the intersection - Bethlehem

1. again, why were the wise men there?

-have you ever driven somewhere and not known the reason why?

-Holy Spirit v. random occurrence

2. why was Herod there?

-he lived there

-most accidents happen within blocks of home

B. the action

1. wise men

-strangely businesslike at first

-compare v.10 "exceedingly great joy"

-initially matter-of-fact

-their wisdom?

-not tipping hand to Herod?

-still, going somewhere

-confident in need to take the trip

-confidence in self v. confidence in the Other

-whether or not they truly understood the full ramifications of their "discovery," still go

2. Herod

-confident in self

-confidence eroding? v. 3 "frightened" or "disturbed'

- scheme to use wise men

-plot to kill the children

-erosion or supreme confidence in own ability, despite the signs around him

  1. The Aftermath

A. wise men

-go home by different road

-shift in confidence

-from self (intellect, power, ability) to something/someone else

-we see it in the joy

-they sound different as a result of what they find at the end of their pilgrimage

-businesslike v. joyful

-that is the effect of Epiphany


-new awareness of the Other

-new awareness of self

-confidence in ability to rely on the Other produces joy

-beginning of pilgrimage instead of end

-perhaps that is why no further mention of wise men

-open ended

-continuing journey

B. Herod

-there is further mention of him

-v. 19 - dead

-same old ways

-same old confidences

-confident to the end in his ability to effect change

-not open ended

-journey ends

-limits of own abilities

-refusal to acknowledge the Other

C. witnesses to the collision

-our confidence in ourselves




-ability to generate - conjure up, as a magician might, Christmas and all the trappings

-damages our ability to observe the signs

-driving while impaired

-collision imminent

-our confidence in God

-may start in our abilities

-observation of signs

-prevenient grace

-the shift

confidence makes things easier - how can we help people to be confident in God?