“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 …”
This is the first time we are introduced to Herod, and notice that both times that he is mentioned in the above verses, he is called “Herod the king”. Around 37 BC, he was declared King of Judea by the governing Romans. Herod was a ruthless man, as we know from his eventual slaughter of all the male children two years old and under. When he heard the words of the wise men “King of the Jews” he took notice. This was a threat to his rule, and this threat needed to be extinguished at any cost.
In contrast, take note of the wise men who travelled a great distance to find the one who was the King of the Jews, in order that they might worship Him. They dropped whatever they had been doing to follow this star, leading them to the Star that had come out of Jacob, the Sceptre that had risen out of Israel, the King, not only of the Jews, but the King of kings.
At first glance, there would seem to be a third reaction – the apathy of the majority of the people in Israel. However, years later, as our Saviour hung on the cross, the apparent apathy of Israel had vanished as they screamed out in hatred, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” These two opposing reactions are still to be found today. We either worship Jesus Christ and give Him our all, or we respond with hatred and demand to be the king of our own lives, and serve only our own lusts and desires!
If you have been made to see the grace of God in Jesus Christ, and your great desire is to worship Him, then rejoice, not only in this Christmas season, but rejoice evermore in His glorious salvation! And may we more and more know what it is to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” and recognize Him to be the Lord of lords and King of kings in our lives.