Gareth and the Wise Men!

A few short weeks ago Gareth Black spoke at the Glenabbey Church Christmas celebration – an exciting day during which he spoke to over 700 people across three services including many visitors who are not part of the church. The church put on a really guest-friendly service, with great music and a friendly welcome, which helped to draw in a good number of people from the surrounding communities. Gareth was invited to speak on Matthew ch 2 as part of the church’s Christmas teaching series.

You can watch the talk from the 36minutes here:

In his address, what Gareth emphasised was that Jesus is the long-hoped for Messiah King that God had promised and how the circumstances of his birth affirm that.

Matthew introduces readers of his gospel to the “Magi”  who were not just wise-men, but also the “King-makers” of the ancient world. Gareth explained the profound significance that these men travelled to Palestine to worship this baby, and present their gifts which he described as the ‘only coronation Jesus had’. Gareth went on to compare the wise-men’s response to Jesus to that of King Herod who saw Jesus only as a threat. The contrasts between Jesus and Herod could not be more great – Jesus gives life, Herod took it; Jesus stirs worship in people’s hearts whereas Herod ruled by force and threat. Herod exploited people to build his treasure-chest whereas Jesus is the greatest treasure himself!

After unpacking the significance of the events in Matthew’s account, Gareth brought the message right up to date for his contemporary hearers, saying “If Jesus is God’s King then that really is a threat to the idea that we should rule our own lives. Herod is an extreme picture of how all of us can go wrong, living our own lives and rejecting the authority of Christ!  Jesus might threaten our independence but in surrendering to Him we find life and hope and truth and so actually our lives are not lost but found when we surrender to Jesus.”

Gareth said, “I’ve had loads of great feedback from people who have never heard the wise-men explained in this way and really connected with it. Others said they appreciated the fresh helpful reminder at Christmas to live with Jesus as King over our lives. It was exhausting doing that three-times in the day but a really good opportunity to share the hope of Jesus with many people. The church leadership will be having lots of follow-up conversations with people who came and expressed an interest there. I have a great relationship with Glenabbey Church and am looking forward to working with them again soon”