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,2 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.3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 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. 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
Herod, despot extraordinaire. His response to the birth of Jesus was so different from Mary and Joseph’s. Read it again: Troubled, enquiring diligently, wanting to know the who, what, when, and where, demanding with false motives, and finally, because he could not find one tiny baby, killed all children under two years old!!!
Do I, get troubled when another is blessed? Do I have false motives in inquiring of them? Am I willing to harm others out of my own fear? These are questions I must ask this CHRISTmas. I must ask, because the Bible says I am “desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Herod was not alone in his paranoia of a new King. Even the city of the Jews, Jerusalem, was troubled that Messiah might have come but NOT as expected: A baby not a mighty king? A servant? (Mark 10:45, Matthew 20:28) It has been written, “expectations destroy relationships,” and there is not a truer statement of fact. “God crossed the line of their expectations…….He always does.” (Max Lucado)
Herod was a murderer. Yet, the Bible says, if I hate in my heart, I am guilty of murder. (I John 3:15, Matthew 5:21) The truth is, I have been guilty of this. I have stared into this dark corner of hidden sin in my own heart. The abomination of it all leaves me weak in my knees. The very knees I should bow before the King of Glory, praise and give thanks to for His sacrifice; for it covered my sin. The exposure proved how desperately wicked the heart is and why Christ came as a servant.
This Christmas may we examine our hearts and give the Holy Spirit free reign in our lives to expose whatever sin we harbor so this can be placed before God and covered with the blood of Christ. In addition to submission and obedience, let’s give Him our clean hands and pure heart. (Psalm 24:4)
The Perfect Christmas Gift by Sandy Howell
To the gifts of submission and obedience, I add humility as I offer you the gift of acceptance of YOUR forgiveness. Gifts of the heart, gifts of attitude, gifts of a broken and a contrite heart. These are the gifts you desire. (Psalm 51:17) I thank you for Your precious gift to me. My Savior, Lord, and King. Amen
Treading with wonder,