Summary: A look at the negative reaction the Magi received when they arrived in Jerusalem. Often in our lives our attempts to follow God are not met with positive responses from those around us.
THE RESPONSE THE MAGI RECEIVED IN JERUSALEM: Their question didn’t bring joy, but instead brought surprise, anger, embarrassment, and fear.
- Matthew 2:3.
- The people are surprised by this news. We know this because of the response. No one has any idea about the birth of the king of the Jews before the Magi get there.
- I expect that the Magi were surprised that no one knew. I figure they came into town expecting everyone to know what they were talking about, but instead it’s a news bulletin to the whole town.
- Knowing how religious leaders are, I have no doubt they were either highly embarrassed or vehemently dismissive of this news.
- If they were dismissive, it would have been something like, “What do these foreigners know? We’re the scholars of the Hebrew Scripture! There’s no way that they would know and we wouldn’t. I guarantee you they’re wrong. If you want to know what the prophecies are, we’ll tell you, but you don’t need to worry about anything that these guys are asking about. If we don’t know, it’s not real.”
- Religious people can be very prideful and quick to be offended if someone (especially an outsider) makes a claim to understanding or knowledge that the religious person doesn’t have.
- Tying right into the anger possibility is embarrassment.
- This would be because these foreigners come into town asking about the “king of the Jews” and the religious scholars know nothing about it. How could these Magi know something and the big dogs of Old Testament study not know it too?
- Matthew 2:3.
- We’re told that Herod and all Jerusalem was “disturbed” by the news.
- The potential for war or political conflict would create fear throughout the whole city.
- For Herod, the thought of a rival king would bring fear.
THE RESPONSE THAT OUR ATTEMPT TO FOLLOW JESUS OFTEN BRINGS: It often brings bothers people because they are focused on pursuing their own power, pride, or peace.
- Herod was no doubt disturbed by the idea of someone being born “king of the Jews” because that represented a rival.
- Many people are interested in seeing God’s will done only to the extent that it coincides with their will being done. They are more interested in their personal power than on God’s power or will.
- The religious leaders wanted to look good and appear smart. The Magi’s question makes them look bad.
- It was a pride issue. They were less interested in the fact that the king of the Jews might have come – which should have been unspeakably good news for them in this time of Roman occupation – and more interested in the fact that they weren’t the ones to announce the news.
- Of course, in many venues peace is a good thing.
- Sometimes, though, we want peace only in the sense of preserving our comfort zone. It’s not a good and godly peace that we’re interested in, but rather not being upset or bothered.
- Sometimes we’re more focused on what we have to lose than the gains that God intends to bring.
a. A church member is bothered that the church is growing and “the new people are taking over” rather than rejoicing in the fresh move of God.
b. A person doesn’t want to give up a sinful “comfort habit” rather than rejoicing that God is making him into a leader within his home.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET FLACK FOR TRYING TO FOLLOW JESUS: It would be nice if following God always received a positive response, but in truth it requires persistence beyond resistance.
- Matthew 2:9.
- Don’t be surprised that some people look at you funny.
- Don’t be surprised if others don’t know what you’re talking about.
- Don’t expect applause when you’re following God.
- Don’t expect an enthusiastic response to following God.
- Follow God’s leading in your life.
- Even the religious leaders are clueless sometimes.
- It’s stunning that no one responded positively to their news. (At least none that we’re told of.)
- Seek certainty that what you’re doing is God’s will, but then pursue persistence beyond resistance.
- Sometimes when you encounter this kind of resistance, it’s encouraging to be able to come back to the original direction you got from God and know that what you’re pursuing is God’s will.
- Sometimes just one person following God can upset a whole bunch of people.
- They don’t want their consciences convicted over what they’re doing. They don’t want to have light shone into their own hearts.