Summary: “If you could percentile your level of Christmas Christianity; wherein would you be? We find in the biblical account of Matthew Chapter 2: three major role players.
Power, Prestige or Prayer
“If you could percentile your level of Christmas Christianity; wherein would you be? We find in the biblical account of Matthew Chapter 2: three major role players: First, there was the political king and ruler (Herod); the one who was perplexed that this new born King Jesus might loosen the iron clad fist of his self-grip regarding his powerful earthly kingdom of temporality! Next, the religiosity of the priests of Israel; they were selfishly fearful that peoples favor, love and devotion toward them would be diverted to this so called Messiah; thus, losing earthly pomp, popularity and favoritism? Last, there were the wise men; who were immediately obedient and diligently sought out this King of Kings, Lord of Lords; at all cost. Yes, this miraculous virgin born babe (Isaiah 7:14), the Messiah, Isaiah’s prophetical “Wonderful, Counsellor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Truly, God incarnate!
So let’s turn back to the percentile question: How much of you is currently pursuing a Herod like earthly power? How much of you is currently seeking a religious priest like prestige of worldly honor and affectionate pomp? And then, how much of you is sincerely seeking the “men of wisdom” worship, which is devoted unceasingly towards Christ this Christmas Day? Ref: Dave Tack, December 25, 2013.
Today, I want to reflect upon each of our percentile weaknesses and provoke us to strive, to be permeated with Him; becoming less Herodian, less religious, and more worshipful.”
The Setting: Matthew 2:1: “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.”
HEROD- Was All About Earthly Kingdom Power
Herod was a “ruthless murderer, he had his own wife and her two brothers slain because he suspected them of treason. He was married at least nine times in order to fulfill his lusts and strengthen his political ties.” Ref: Wiersbe, Warren. Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament: The King’s Birth (Matthew 1 and 2). n.d. e-Sword, Version 10.0.5.
Important Intermission for a Critical Contrasting Clarification: Jesus Kingdom spans well beyond the measly temporal kingdom of Herod:
1) Jesus Kingdom is found in the hearts of His children and is limitless.
2) Jesus Kingdom is present whenever His will is being accomplished: It is omnipresent.
3) Jesus Kingdom is from eternity past. It will last forever; never to be destroyed!
Let’s Get Back to Herod:
First, Herod was a non-Jew: He was of Edomite descendent (Idumean). In his past history his people were somewhat forced to accept Judaism during the reign of the Maceabeans
Second, Herod was a puppet; he received his authority from Rome.
Third, To Herod, Jesus was a threat to his POWER and a potential challenger to his hard sought after throne!
This non-Jewish was fearful of what others were calling a Jewish King!
In VERSES 3 and 4 we see a few characteristics in Herod: (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.
WHY was Herod (and Jerusalem troubled) . . . We find in Verse 6: And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. (This is where Herod was currently in power; and it was over God’s people of Israel).
Herod’s Game Plan
WHY was the time of the stars appearance important to Herod . . . because Herod was already planning to cruelly destroy his competitor Christ!
(7) Then Herod, when he had privily [secretly] 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.
IS THIS A BAD THING? Maybe not . . . it depends on motive; which we will see in (vs. 16) . . . . Matthew 2:16: Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth (incensed. As the sea . . . stormy, violent and turbulent), 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 enquired of the wise men.
HEROD’S MANMADE SOLUTION TO HIS PROBLEM: Eliminate the source of his problem (in this case the young infant Jesus). NOTE: This was to be accomplished at ALL costs. In this case the lives of several young male children were taken.