Summary: We have also talked about the real historical King Herod who tried to kill the baby Jesus when He was born. Some people hate Jesus. Some people hate Christmas. Are there people today who hate Christmas? Are there people today who hate Jesus? As we mo
IN MATTHEW: HEROD
INTRODUCTION… “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” [video clip] [2:03] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27I3AN0XwP8
I. THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS
The song you just heard is based on Dr Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” It is a very descriptive song about a creature that hates Christmas and causes problems for the Whos of Whoville in this classic children’s’ Christmas story. The Grinch is a bitter, grouchy, cave-dwelling green monster with a heart "two sizes too small" who lives on snowy Mount Crumpit far above Whoville. From his cave, the Grinch can hear the noisy Christmas festivities that take place in Whoville. He decides to stop Christmas from coming by stealing their presents, trees, and food for their Christmas celebrations. Everything is gone when the Whos wake up to celebrate the holiday.
The song describes the horrible Grinch as:
Cuddly as a cactus
Brain is full of spiders
Charming as an eel
Heart is full of unwashed socks
A bad banana with a greasy black peel
King of sinful sots
Soul is full of gunk
Your heart's a dead tomato squashed with moldy purple spots
And toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce
In the story, the Grinch is a creature against Christmas. The Grinch takes active steps to thwart the celebration of Christmas. The Grinch believes by removing decorations and presents and food that the Christmas holiday will be ruined for Whos in Whoville. In the story (not to give away the end), the Grinch is successful at stealing the “things” of Christmas, but not the spirit of Christmas present in the hearts of the Whos in Whoville.
Today we are going to look at Matthew 2 and the story of the very first Christmas. Christmas means “celebration of the birth of Jesus.” When Jesus was born, we find someone there playing the role of the Grinch in a very real way. We find someone present at the birth of Jesus trying to steal away what God was doing.
II. THE KING WHO TRIED TO KILL CHRISTMAS
Let’s read bout the king who tried to kill Jesus. The passage is a little long so I want to read some and then take a look at what we are finding with this king who tried to kill the baby Jesus.
READ MATTHEW 2:1-3
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 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." 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
Immediately as we read this chapter, we find King Herod being disturbed at the birth of a child. The English word “disturbed” is a little tame for what Herod was feeling. The words “in turmoil,” “terrified,” and “greatly agitated” are probably better descriptions. The magi came and said a king had been born to the Jews. King Herod was known for being threatened by all who sought leadership over the Jews. At minimum, he killed two of his brother-in-laws, his wife, his mother-in-law, and two sons all because he was protective of his throne. The birth of this child threatened him especially when the magi call this baby “the king of the Jews.”
These verses also tell us the people of Jerusalem were also troubled. We aren’t sure why they are disturbed, but I can imagine that when King Herod got disturbed everyone around him took out a life insurance policy or ran away.
READ MATTHEW 2:4-8
4 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. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6 "'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.'" 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 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."
King Herod is definitely threatened by this baby. He should have been overjoyed that the Christ, the Messiah, the Promised King was born. And yet, he was not. King Herod decided to be in direct opposition to the plan that God had been weaving together since the Garden of Eden. Herod decides to send his visitors on their way and use them to find the Christ child.