Summary: Herod was among the first few to hear the Christmas message, but he was too bent on doing his own will, too wrapped up in himself, and too caught up by power and control, to see the light.
Matthew reminds us that Jesus did not enter the world with sparkling lights and soothing carols.
• Jesus along with his family begins his life as a refugee in need of asylum.
• King Herod was part of the backdrop of this first Christmas play, together with the singing angels, the happy shepherds and the worshipful wise men.
Herod represents a part of reality - the dark side of the Christmas story.
• Jesus enters a world of real sorrow and pain, people living in fear and oppression.
• He was born an outcast, a homeless person, and a refugee.
It helps to put things in perspective. Christmas is not all bright and cheery.
• Like the first Christmas, there will still be those today who live in loneliness and brokenness. Not knowing the message of God’s love and hope.
• Christmas parties and shopping are alien to them. They are buried under the stresses of life.
Herod was given the chance to hear God’s message, but he was too bent on evil to see the light.
• He would have been among the first converts had he humbled himself and considered God’s Word.
• He was among the first few to know the news. Having heard it from the Magi (v.3), he has the privilege of consulting the chief priests and the teachers of the law (v.4).
• But he did not give it a second thought. He then called the Magi secretly (v.7) and got more information about the mysterious star. But that didn’t change his heart.
Herod was too bent on doing his own will. He was determined to reject God’s message.
• It’s easy to see his foolishness on hindsight. Many are doing that today.
• They are bent on having it their own way and reject what God has been saying.
It is not a lack of knowledge; it is a lack of the will.
• It is not a lack of advice; he has the group of chief priests and teachers of the law, plus the Magi from the East. It is a problem of the heart.
• It is not a lack of a chance; God has given him the opportunity and time to ponder.
When you are bent on staying on the dark side, God will let you.
• God respect your choice. If you seek Him, you will surely find Him.
• But if you choose to harden your heart, no amount of light will be able to shine through.
• We want to humble ourselves and heed God’s voice. He is not hard to find.
John says, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20)
Herod says, “Find him and tell me, so I too may go and worship Him.”
• That’s the bait. Worshipping Him was the last thing in his mind.
• The Magi failed to return. Herod gave the cruel order that all boys, in Bethlehem and the vicinity, aged 2 years or under to be killed.
• He was paranoid. Just a child but it caused a panic reaction.
• This is consistent with Herod. History tells us he ordered the execution of three of his own sons and one of his wives. Someone said it’s better to be Herod’s pig then Herod’s sons in those days. He left instructions for one member of every family to be killed, so that at the time of his burial the nation might mourn.
This is how dark man’s heart can become. This is how dark the world can be.
• Like what we saw in Mumbai. Innocent lives can be killed without remorse.
• It is not a lack of knowledge, a lack of advice; it is a matter of the heart.
• Be receptive to correction. Don’t think that you are always right.
• Ponder God’s Word. Trust what He says. Soften your heart and listen to His voice.
• Don’t be too quick to throw the word out of the window when someone says something we do not like to hear. That may be God’s warning for you.
• Pray that we will not be so bent on our own way that we lose sight of what God is saying.
Herod was so wrapped up in himself that nobody else matters.
• That’s the danger when you are too wrapped up in yourself – you can’t see the light.
• When you are too focused on yourself, you lost sense of the reality, and of the truth.
Herod looked into the mirror and saw a king with power, prestige, and wealth.