When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (Matthew 2:3)
What has caught you off guard this holiday season? There’s certainly enough going on in world events to distract us from the real center of attention, isn’t there? Here are a couple of things that may surprise you about how Jesus’ birth affected some people around him.
Herod was a king, and a terrible one at that. He ruled with power and might and exerted his power often to ensure his rule would continue. He had some of his very own family killed in order to protect his role as king. He was ruthless and without remorse when it came to securing his kingdom. It’s no wonder the verse above reads that when Herod was troubled so was all of Jerusalem. They knew of his ways and feared for their own lives. They were right in doing so as Herod resorted to the killing of many children in order to protect his kingdom. But what can we learn from this? How does this speak to us?
Herod heard people had come to worship…but just not to worship him.
He was incensed and infuriated that someone else would be worshipped and adored. He wanted to be the only one that received honor and glory and the attention of people’s minds and lives. Yet Christ is the only one truly worthy of such adoration. We may not “kill” people but we often go to great lengths to protect our “kingdom”. We may not “kill” children but we use words, authority and power to put people “in their place”. Herod was never interested in worshipping Jesus, he just “seemed” that way trying to gather information in order to put an end to the possibility of another taking his throne. This Christmas, how have you been less than honest in your worship of the Christ Child? How have you “killed” other people’s joy, tried to protect your own “kingdom” or sought to be the center of attention?
The Pharisees and Scribes were right about a lot… but just not worship.
4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
The scribes and Pharisees were gathered together by Herod as he was enquiring about the strange event surrounding the wise men and star. Yet none of these spiritual leaders seemed to have any spiritual sense. They were up-to-date on the latest fads, traditions and scandals but had little room or interest in worshipping Christ. They knew the scripture and even the signs but they failed to move or be moved by what God was doing around them. None of them joined the wise men to seek out the Truth or worship the Christ Child. It is evident in their lack of action that they were more interested in worshipping their law, traditions and ways more than acknowledging God.
How has this season been more about you being “right” than “loving”? More about “truth” than “grace”? Are you moving toward Christ or content with what you know about Him? How has the birth of Christ changed you? Are you filled with wonder and awe or just knowledge and facts? Is worship how you live or just something you do on occasion?
The Wise Men are called “wise” because of their “worship”.
Coming from “afar”, seeking Christ, following His star, the Wise Men are the epitome of worship. They made sacrifices of their time, finances, even reputations. They humbled themselves before the baby. They gave gifts and adoration and affection toward the Christ Child. They worshipped Him. They sought Christ. They didn’t get wrapped up in all the signs, wonders and miracles. Instead they were wrapped up in Him! Unlike their counterparts, the wise men lived up to their title showing that “wise” people pay attention to what really matters. It’s not about all the surrounding, peripheral things. It’s not about the prophecies, Law, and times. It’s about Jesus!
I have found that when I worship Christ and simply lift Him up, He draws people to Himself…isn’t that scriptural? Perhaps this Christmas, we need to simply focus our attention on loving and adoring Christ and letting Him get the glory and adoration He deserves? Are you being wise this Christmas? How have you been giving time, finances and love to Christ this season?