Summary: King Herod and Jesus are Kings, who is your king? does Herod influence your decisions more than you care to admit?
Did any of you see ‘The Grinch who stole Christmas’ or read Charles Dicken’s “Christmas Carol” or see one of the many movies about Ebenezer Scrooge this year, or any other movie about how someone tried to steal Christmas, they’re all copy cats, King Herod of Judea is the first to try and steal Christmas.
Turn with me to Matthew chapter 2 verse 1, page ___ of the pew bible) “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;”
Why would King Herod be troubled? Wasn’t he the king of the Jews? Wasn’t he already over 70 years old, did he think he would live forever? Or perhaps, he feared that this was how one of his sons was going to try to take over his kingdom, he had already killed three of his sons because he felt threatened by them. Actually, he had a nasty habit of killing people, when he went on trips he left orders that if he died his favourite wife was to be killed, because he couldn’t stand the thought of her being with another man, and eventually he did have her killed because he suspected that she had done that. You see he didn’t love her as a person, he loved her as one of his possessions, and this boy loved his possessions.
Even though King Herod lived in the lap of luxury, I mean any one of his 7 palaces were larger than anything any Caesar ever had, he was a man that constantly lived in fear. Herod lived in fear of being forgotten, he feared being lost in history. He was so obsessed with this fear that he build, Herodium, a massive mountain palace fortification, just three miles southeast of Bethlehem. Where coincidently he was buried a short time after Jesus Birth.
Quite the contrast, Jesus the King of the Jews, born in a lowly stable, a humble affair compared to Herod’s palaces’.
Herod was more than just a little nervous about power, he was obsesses with maintaining it. So when these wise men came asking him, “Where is he who is born king of the Jews,” I think you can see why he, “assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people, inquiring of them where the Christ was to be born.
And when they told him in Bethlehem of Judah, the city so close to his favourite palace, “for so it is written by the prophet: Verse 6 "’And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’"
There’s that shepherd thing again, how can a king be a shepherd, have you ever smelled a shepherd, he smells like sheep stuff, oily, wooly, and dirty well you get the idea, not what a king smells like.
So King Herod had the wise men meet him secretly, he didn’t want this to get out of hand. No need to excite the masses about this Christ child. And He began questioning them about all that they knew about this King of the Jews, and “when exactly did this star appear?” After their secret meeting was done he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go, search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." Wow, King Herod is going to come and worship him!
And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. Did the bright lights of the city Jerusalem, did all the grand architecture and Herod billboards distract the wise men? Did they really believe that Herod would tell them where this born king of the Jews was? Wasn’t it common knowledge that Herod guarded his kingship jealously, and would not stand to be replaced.
Born into a politically well-connected family, Herod was destined for a life of hardball and power brokering. At 25, he was named the governor of Galilee, a high position for such a young man. The Romans were hoping that Herod could control the Jews who lived in that area. And in 40 B .C. the Roman Senate went so far as to name him the “King of the Jews.”
We all know that Herod wasn’t the born king of the Jews he was a declared ruler, big difference, huge difference. It’s like comparing Queen Elizabeth to Brad Wall. Ones a born royal the other is a declared leader.