Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Matthew 2:1 – 3 1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” 3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
Life can be routine and even mundane most of the time. There are occasional high points of energy and enthusiasm, and low points of pain and disappointment, but overall, as time passes, life levels off. We want our lives to be level because we find security in the predictable and the known. We don’t like the fear of the unknown, and we certainly don’t like anything that threatens the status quo.
We accept the reality that mountaintop experiences don’t last. We work hard to get life back in order after we’ve been in the deep valley of desperation. We protect everything that makes life seem normal. We have adopted the philosophy that saneness is achieved through sameness, so we resist change. Change will invalidate our past and force us to redefine who we are and what we believe. Please Lord, just for today, can everything stay the same, so I can feel safe?
If that had been true of the wise men from the east they would never have come searching for Jesus the King. These scientists, probably astrologers, had done well for themselves in their professions. They were obviously wealthy and very intelligent. They had obviously studied a wide variety of writings, including the prophets of Israel, because they knew that when the star appeared in the sky it meant that Jesus was born. But unlike so many people who would seek to protect the security of their positions and possessions, these men were willing to sacrifice it all to find the One True King.
What a contrast to King Herod and the citizens of Jerusalem who were disturbed by the news announced by the wise men. Why? Because it threatened the status quo of their lives.
King Herod’s position was being threatened. All he had worked so hard to accomplish for himself could be lost. I can imagine his thoughts. “All of my power will be stripped away. Everything I own will be given to someone else. I will become a person of no value. I must destroy this threat.”
What about the people of Jerusalem? Were they disturbed because they feared Herod’s response to the news or because they feared the changes that a new King would bring to their lives? Would a new King change their economic condition? What about the political ramifications with Rome? The fears were real, and they forced action – actions to eliminate what they perceived to be the source of their fears.
On the one hand, we have a king and his followers who seek Jesus to destroy Him because they think it will eliminate their fear. On the other hand, we have a group of wise men who seek Jesus to worship Him and thereby have all their fears eliminated.
All of us fall into one of those two categories. The fear of change drives people to eliminate Jesus from their lives. Sinners in the bondage of fear don’t want their motives questioned, their pursuits invalidated, their possessions devalued, or their position threatened. They may claim to want to worship Jesus but are really motivated by worship of self.
But saints, acting in faith, leave the security of all they have in the world to seek the true King and worship Him.
In which group are you?