The birth of Jesus creates a real dilemma for powerful leaders. Herod is a high-level representative of Rome in the region and is paranoid about any potential threats to his powerbase. When these religious leaders (wise men from the east) (v.1) come asking about the “king of the Jews,” Herod ‘s radar goes on high alert. He receives this “breaking news” and checks in with Jewish leaders who, matter of factly, point to Micah’s prophecy about the significance of Bethlehem as the place where this expectant leader will “be born.” (See Micah 5:2.) Imagine the conspiracy theories that must have been rattling around in the Herod’s mind.
One aspect of this ancient story presents each of us with a contemporary question. Herod was threatened by what he saw as a potential new rival. It “troubled him.” In a real sense we are all faced with the same reality. Who will rule our lives? Will the coming of Jesus yield a threat or will it bring freedom from living life by our own rules?
Vice President, ChildHope
Prayer: Oh God, I confess, like Herod, I sometimes act like your presence in my life is troubling. Forgive me for wanting to live life by my own rules.
1 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, 2 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.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
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.’”
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.