Summary: The message contrast King Herod and King Jesus
The Birth of a King
This morning I want to ask you what is your favorite T.V. Christmas Special?
Ginny has her favorite and I have mine. Ginny loves, “White Christmas,” and my all time favorite is, “Miracle on 34th Street.” But running a close second for me in, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Not the 2000 Jim Carey remake, though it is good. I like the old 1966 cartoon. Lets watch a few scenes from it.
It seems like every Christmas story has its Grinch. In Dickens Christmas carol the Grinch of the story is “Ebeneser Scrooge,” and in miracle on 34th street is the dreaded “Mr. Sawyer,” the store phycologist.
Even the first Christmas Story had its Grinch, and he hated Christmas. He despised the very idea of Christmas, more so Ebeneser Scrooge with his Bah Humbug, and even more then the Grinch who tried steal Christmas from the Who of Whoville. The Grinch in the first Christmas Story tried to steal Christmas from the entire world. We learn about this evil Grinch in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 2 beginning with verse one. If you have your Bibles turn with me to Matthew chapter 2. Matthew is the first book in the New Testament. Lets read it together from the screne.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ ‘Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east 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 worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
This story of Herod is one of deception and hatred. You see if you were to read on a few more lines you would discover the only reason Herod wanted to find the Christ Child was to kill him. Can there be a crime more diabolical than the murder of a child.
We can not stomach abuse to children. Have you heard the story of Eric Sellers.
Eric shook his 4 pound baby so hard that he snapped the infants thigh bone. The judge told him "Your actions tell me you’re not the father of this child. You’re just the sperm donor,"
The judge went on to say, "You did this to the littlest of all victims that I can imagine."
Earlier this month, the judge had found Sellers guilty of felonious assault and child endangering.
The obviously upset judge noting the court clinic evaluation of Sellers described him as "focusing only on himself and often engaging in aggressive behavior."
The courts description of Sellers could just as easily been used of King Herod, “Focusing only on himself and often engaging in aggressive behavior.”
Herod, when he was unable to find the Christ Child, ordered all the babies in the area around Bethlehem two years old and under to be put to death.
If you are like me the more you hear about Herod the less you like him. But Herod is only one king in this first Christmas story, there was second King, King Jesus.
This morning I would like to take a few minutes and look at the contrast between King Herod, and King Jesus, then ask the question how should we response to each.
THE FIRST CONTRAST IS IN HOW EACH KING UNDERSTOOD POWER.
King Herod Grappled For Power.
Someone has said, “Herod was addicted to power. Power has been described as the ultimate human obsession. If it were an alcoholic beverage, Herod was passed out on the floor drunk with it. The Bible links power, more often than not, to something we call sin. If power is defined as the ability to control resources in order to secure one’s own destiny, then Herod was the epitome of power.